by Jim Ridley
We've seen the list confirmed so far, and it looks great — not only for the names they've been able to attract thus far, but also for its potential to make Nashville a regular stop for touring authors of renown. The tone is set by the first guest: esteemed narrative journalist Hampton Sides, whose book Hellhound on His Trail (an account of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.) has fervent admirers at the Scene. He'll appear April 2, followed two weeks later by The Clan of the Cave Bear novelist Jean Auel.
The summer months feature literary events involving two of the city's most acclaimed writers: the launch of Ann Patchett's new novel State of Wonder, coming in June, and the launch of Adam Ross' short-story collection Ladies and Gentlemen, set for publication June 28. (This is looming as a banner year for authors with Nashville ties: Only two months into 2011, we've seen Rodney Crowell's hilarious and wrenching Chinaberry Sidewalks, the rare celebrity memoir that's worth a damn as literature, and Vanderbilt associate professor Daniel Sharfstein's The Invisible Line. Coming soon are Holly Tucker's Blood Work — a nonfiction detective story of long-ago medical skullduggery, conspiracy and murder that's already drumming up pre-release excitement — and Madison Smartt Bell's The Color of Night, which sounds in synopsis like an atypical [and hugely promising] venture into the realms of pulp and paperback thrillers, with a chilling post-9/11 spin.)
Below, we've got the confirmed Salon at 615 list so far. In the comments, I'll post the wish list of visiting authors that Scene staffers came up with, and you should list your own.
April 2: Hampton Sides, author of Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin (2010).
April 13: Jean Auel, author of The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel (March, 2011). Auel is the author of the beloved Clan of the Cave Bear series.
April 20: Andrea Wulf, author of Founding Gardeners (March, 2011). This new work looks at the lives of the founding fathers and how their attitude toward plants, gardens, nature and agriculture shaped the American nation. Wulf is the author of The Brother Gardeners.
May 10: Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Berlin (May, 2011). This true tale follows the story of William E. Dodd, who became the American ambassador to Germany in 1933, a pivotal year in global history. Larson is the author of the international bestseller Devil in the White City.
June 28: Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder (June, 2011). The group is honored to host Nashville resident Patchett for the launch event for this new novel. Patchett is the author of the acclaimed bestseller Bel Canto.
July 1: Roy Blount, author of Alphabetter Juice: or, the Joy of Text (May, 2011). Blount is a well-known writer and essayist , and a panelist on the weekly NPR quiz show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”
July 5: Adam Ross, author of Ladies and Gentlemen (July, 2011). We are honored again to host the launch event for Ross, who lives in Nashville. His previous book, Mr. Peanut, was a bestselling mystery title in 2010.
July 7: Meg Cabot, author of Insatiable (2010). Cabot is the author of the beloved Princess Diaries young adult books. This new novel is aimed at adults, and offers a clever and compulsively readable twist on the current vampire craze in literature.
All events take place at Nashville Public Library, at 615 Church St., and are free. The Hampton Sides event, which occurs on Saturday, April 2, will begin at 2:00 p.m., and the Andrea Wulf event will take place at noon. All other events will begin with a reception at 6:15 p.m., followed by the author reading and book signing.
Humanities Tennessee presents the annual Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word, held annually in Nashville. The 2011 Festival takes place October 14-16.