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“People who don’t know Atlanta don’t understand the codes and contradictions of the New South. Yes, Margaret Mitchell imagined the plantation Tara within the city limits, but it’s also the home of OutKast. Atlanta has captured the imagination of trash TV with Todd Chrisley’s magnolia-cream accent but also the decidedly urban antics of Love & Hip Hop. The ashes of the Civil War still hang in the air, but immigration is turning the South into the Global South.
With Atlanta Noir, my hope was to find the writers who could show the city in all of its dizzy complexity. These fourteen writers represent the city’s many neighborhoods and demographics—from the Southern punk scene of Little Five Points to the Junior League world of Peachtree City, where things are not always as they seem. There is more going on at the local Waffle House than just scattering, smothering, and chunking. This is a major international city but it’s still the Bible Belt. A megapreacher’s past catches up with him, and gentrification cannot tame the outlaw spirit of the city too busy to hate. Our airport boasts that it is the busiest in the world; locals declare that even on the way to heaven, you have to change planes at Hartsfield-Jackson. Let us think of Atlanta Noir as an after-hours welcome to the city where we serve our sweet tea with a shot of bourbon.”
The following organizations received grants from the NEA Big Read to plan programming around Silver Sparrow. Dates and times will be posted on this “Appearances” page.
Black Storytellers of San Diego, Chula Vista, California
Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn, New York
Chatanooga State Community College, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Essex County Library Directors, Newark, New Jersey
Jefferson Madison Regional Library, Charlotesville, Virginia
Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinoiis
Troy University Rosa Parks Library, Montgomery, Alabama
“A writer of great imagination, Irving can sell the reader on nearly any plot twist no matter how incredible — from a murderous statue of the Virgin Mary to a pride of anthropomorphized lionesses to a pair of (possibly) paranormal, (definitely) kinky bibliophiles. Under his spell, all of this seems perfectly and irresistibly plausible.” — Tayari Jones on Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving.
the National Endowment for the Arts announced that two contemporary novels written by female writers will join the Big Read library—Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones and In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner. These novels will be available for organizations hosting a 2016-2017 Big Read project and will further the National Endowment for the Arts’ commitment to expanding the Big Read library by including diverse voices and stories. Application guidelines for 2016-2017 Big Read grants are now available. The deadline is Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 4:00pm CST. – See more at: https://www.arts.gov/news/2015/national-endowment-arts-announces-new-additions-big-read-library
Founded in 1987 by a group of writers who met in Chattanooga, the Fellowship of Southern Writers is a nonprofit organization which has for its objective the encouragement of literature in the South. The FSW achieves its mission by commemorating outstanding literary achievement, encouraging young writers through awards, prizes and fellowships, recognizing distinction in writing by election to membership, and through other appropriate activities.
Affiliated with the Chattanooga Arts & Education Council (AEC) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the FSW holds its biennial convocation in partnership with the AEC Conference on Southern Literature. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Lupton Library houses its archives.
The FSW–formed by twenty-two founding members in 1987–believes that the American South is an identifiable and distinctive cultural and social community, and that the vitality and power of its literature justify recognition and encouragement. The Fellowship is composed of 50 active members. New members are nominated by current members and elected by majority vote, and are drawn from among writers of fiction, poetry, drama, criticism, and history. To be considered for membership a writer must have been born and raised, or have resided for a significant part of his or her life in the South, or have written works that in character and spirit embody aspects of the Southern experience.
Henrico Country Public Library has chosen Silver Sparrow for the 2015 “All Henrico Reads,” a community reading program that aims to encourage a sense of community and promote literacy. Group discussions of Silver Sparrow will be held at public libraries county-wide, culminating with a discussion with Jones on April 1, 2015.
Wednesday, April 1, 7-8:30 pm
(Doors open at 6:15 pm)
Glen Allen High School
10700 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen
Why isn’t Jones a household name, and why isn’t this unputdownable book on every must-read list? “My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist,” reveals protagonist Dana in the opening sentence of a novel that is by turns deft, delicate and devastating.
— Leigh Haber
The South has begotten some of our nation’s most important authors, including prize winners like William Styron, Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor, Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee, and that titan of American letters, William Faulkner. These 50 novels are a reminder that the South cannot be defined solely by its failings; it is also responsible for shaping the minds of countless thinkers who offered to American literature essential insights about not only their region but the world at large. — Flavorwire
Which signal the beginnings of a successful career? Which are flashes in the pan? It’s often hard to tell.
With these 25 debuts, however, there was no doubt. These authors astonished right out of the gate with strong storytelling prowess and memorable voices. Read on for our list of the best debuts from the century’s first decade: 2000-2009.