Southern Festival of Books Report

Another fantastic SFB! I attended a dinner Fri. night hosted by John Seigenthaler and John Seigenthaler, Jr. and was able to talk with some wonderful authors, including Walter Mosley. Sat. morning WNBA sponsored a panel of four, including Ann Patchett. Sat. night was the reception for all participants, and I was so glad to see Gail and Les Kerr among the familiar faces. Sun. afternoon Doug and I had our session. Our big room was not full, but it was not empty! As always, we had a great audience who asked some good questions. Thanks to Whit Stokes for being the moderator. Here is one of the photos.

Knoxville Writers Guild Awards Announced

“What We Keep, What We Throw Away” is the 2nd place winner in the Knoxville Writers Guild Awards, Creative Nonfiction category. The piece won 3rd place in the spring in the Writers Workshop of Asheville contest. Continued revisions are in order and maybe an entry in another contest – or an attempt to get it published.

The creative nonfiction piece is about the Nashville flood in May 2010 and especially about the loss that my daughter and her family sustained. They lost their house and lived with me for 7 months, during which time baby Evelyn was born.

Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference

What an exciting and invigorating weekend! Five of us from our writers group attended the Oxford Creative Nonfiction Conference at Ole Miss in Oxford: Kathy Rhodes (who was “staff” and worked very hard!), Mary Buckner, Doug Jones, Rick Romfh. We’ll have many stories from the weekend. Fun, entertaining, instructional, motivating – it was an unforgettable experience. Being with our group made it just that much better, and we made some new good friends, too.  Writers are the best!

Knoxville Writers Guild Contest

Our writer friends in Knoxville have announced their 2010 contest winners. The Knoxville Writers Guild holds an annual competition in several categories. “The Major’s Wife” (short story) placed third in the Leslie Garrett Fiction Contest, and “Stitches in Time” (memoir) placed second in the Creative Non-Fiction category. These  may be available soon on the KWG website or published in an upcoming anthology. Thanks to the KWG for providing opportunities like this for writers.

Nashville Writers Alliance Panel at SFB

Our panel is set for 4:00-5:30, Saturday, October 9. The Southern Festival of Books is a weekend-long event, Friday through Sunday, on the Legislative Plaza. It is a tremendous event for writers and readers in Nashville – and people come in from far away to attend.

The Nashville Writers Alliance panel is made up of members and former members of our writers group that has met on Tuesday nights for more than 30 years. (See Writers Group category for more information.) Some questions we will be addressing: What makes a successful writers group? Why has ours flourished when others don’t? What are some issues to consider in forming a writers group?  Please make plans to attend, and we welcome your ideas.

Zone 3 Celebration

I will be reading in Clarksville on April 28, along with others who are past contributors or editors of Zone 3.  Here is a press release about the literary journal and the event:

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In 1985, Austin Peay State University English professors David Till and Malcolm Glass shared an ambitious dream. They wanted to create one of the south’s preeminent poetry journals, publishing only works of high artistic merit.

They settled on the name “Zone 3” for their new magazine, in reference to the temperate zone that encompasses Clarksville, and the APSU Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts agreed to publish a few issues. It was a risky venture. Thousands of literary journals are founded each year, only to fold because of small readerships and financial constraints.

Twenty-five years later, both Till and Glass have retired from APSU, but the poetry journal they helped found has grown into a leading voice in the nation’s network of literary magazines. “Zone 3”expanded into publishing short stories in the 1990s, and it recently added provocative flash interviews with some of America’s finest prose writers, such as Michael Martone, Brenda Miller and Ander Monson.

On April 28, former editors and contributors will join the current editorial staff of “Zone 3” at the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library for “Terra Firma,” a reading and broadside exhibition commemorating the journal’s 25th Anniversary.

The event, sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission, the CMC Library and the Center of Excellence, begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., Till and Glass will read from their work, as will current “Zone 3” editors Blas Falconer, associate professor of English at APSU, Barry Kitterman, professor of English at APSU, and Amy Wright, assistant professor of English at APSU. Past magazine contributors Phyllis Gobbell and Jeff Hardin will also read during the event.

Gobbell is the recipient of several writing awards, including the Leslie Garrett Fiction Prize, Knoxville Writer’s Guild First Place Award in Creative Nonfiction and Tennessee’s Individual Artist Literary Award in 2006. Her story “Primates,” written originally as part of her graduate thesis at APSU, received the Special Mention for Fiction honor in the 2005 Pushcart Prize XXIX Best of the Small Presses anthology. She is an associate professor of English at Nashville State Community College, where she serves as editor of the campus literary journal.

Hardin has published poems in recent and forthcoming issues of The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, The Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Nimrod, Passages Meridian and Measure. He is the author of two chapbooks, “Deep in the Shallows” and “The Slow Hill Out.” His first collection, “Fall Sanctuary,” received the 2004 Nicholas Roerich Prize from Story Line Press. Hardin teaches at Columbia State Community College in Columbia.

A book signing will follow at 7 p.m.

In addition to the readings, the event will feature broadsides of Zone 3 poems, created by APSU art students using the University’s Goldsmith Press and Rare Type Collection. These broadsides will be on display during the event.

For more information about the 25th Anniversary Celebration, contact Susan Wallace with the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts at 931-221-7031 or