Friday, October 9, 2009

Southern Festival of Books expects big turnout

By Angela Patterson • THE TENNESSEAN • October 9, 2009 Organizers expect more than 20,000 people to descend on Nashville's War Memorial Plaza for the Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word on Friday-Sunday, Oct. 9-11. The 21st annual event will feature more than 200 authors from Tennessee and around the nation for presentations, readings, panel discussions and book signings. Some of this year's writers and works include: Buzz Aldrin, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon; Rick Bragg, The Prince of Frogtown; Alice Randall, Rebel Yell and Omar Tyree, The Equation / 12 Brown Boys. "We're honored to have Buzz Aldrin, one of the very few men who has walked on the moon," said Serenity Gerbman, director of literature and language programs for Humanities Tennessee. Kathryn Stockett is an author whose debut book, The Help, has become a national bestselling phenomenon. Dave Cullen spent 10 years covering Columbine after the school killings and has the critically acclaimed bestseller Columbine. Mystery authors Jan Burke and Charlie Huston are two of the most popular today. "The author readings and book signings are the heart of the program, but we also have a lot of terrific music, food and children's programming throughout the weekend for families who wish to come and enjoy the outdoor portion." This year's Festival includes a screening of the film That Evening Sun, which is directed by Scott Teems and stars Hal Holbrook, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10 in the auditorium of the Nashville Public Library. Following the screening, there will be a question-and-answer session with Teems and with author William Gay. The film is based on Gay's short story "I Hate to See that Evening Sun Go Down." This year's live cooking stage will be hosted by Nashville's own Saucy Sisters, Barbara Nowak and Beverly Wichman, and will feature regional and local cookbook authors and chefs. Janis Owen, author of The Cracker Kitchen: A Cookbook in Celebration of Cornbread-Fed, Down Home Family Stories and Cuisine; Tennessean restaurant critic Nancy Vienneau, contributor to Alimentum – The Literature of Food; and Colonel William Paul, author of Cajun and Creole Cooking with Miss Edie and The Colonel, are foodies who are participating. A number of children's book authors also will be in attendance, including John Carter Cash, who has a debut children's book, Momma Loves Her Little Son. "We are delighted to welcome back Kate DiCamillo, an author whom I consider to be this generation's E.B. White," Gerbman said. "Her books will be read and loved just as we are still reading Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. The children's stage this year also has a wonderful lineup of authors, performers and characters, with a special emphasis on peace and some arts and crafts projects that children will enjoy." For details on this year's festival, visit

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