So, in my inaugural post on August 6th, I said I’d like to promote Tennessee writers on my blog, and on August 10th, this arrives in my inbox:

This fall, Humanities Tennessee will launch a new website, to be called Chapter 16: A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers and Passersby. We hope and expect that this site will become a regular stop for readers, a place where you will learn about upcoming Tennessee books and events and discuss those and other topics with one another. We’ll cover novels set here; histories involving Tennessee events or locations; authors who live here, were born or educated here; and out-of-state writers when they give readings or participate in book signings anywhere in the state. Additionally, there will be opportunities for anyone statewide to submit their original essays for possible publication on the site. We will be asking diverse Tennesseans to comment on what they are reading, and we will be providing opportunities for writers and readers to interact online.

Read the full announcement here.

I dont mean to offer a grass is greener platitude...

Now, I already love Humanities Tennessee because they put on one of my favorite events of the year, the Southern Festival of Books. But I am just a wee bit chagrined that this fine organization would steal my thunder practically before its first rumble. I’ll get over it, though, because here’s the bigger picture:  I have state-based literary jealousy. In North Carolina and Kentucky, for example, its seems that readings and famous authors and book events are as common as summer showers. When I visited the Northwest last year, I was stunned by the number and variety of quality regional journals that I found in bookstores from Portland to Port Angeles.

I don’t mean to sound like a “grass is greener” platitude;  I truly believe that Tennessee can and should look to these other states for inspiration. It’s not that we don’t have our own rich literary heritage, many fine writers, and some great events for writers and readers; it’s that we’ve never seemed to be as unified and proactive as we could be in promoting all those things. So kudos and all best wishes to Humanities Tennessee with Chapter 16.

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