Nashville. It's an interesting place. If you've been here, you are familiar with the unique vibe that sets it apart from all other cities. We're southern, but not too much. We're cultured, but we remember our roots. We love music - all kinds, not just country. We love food so much that the explosion of restaurants recently got a write up in GQ.
So when the New York Times did a piece on the city Wednesday, I rejoiced. But when I started reading, I quickly got frowny. In all of the accolades, there was no mention of our incredible literary scene. We have hundreds of authors living in our borders, and a slew more in the surrounding counties. There are so many literary-minded organizations and events you could be out every night of the week trying to keep up with them all. We rock it, plain and simple.
So I thought I'd do that part of the story for the Times, with a quick, off the top of my head, and not at all comprehensive tour of the city's book related venues, events, organizations. I know I'm missing a bunch, so please, feel free to add yours to the comments.
First up, the twin cores of the literary scene:
A Word on Words with Nashville legend John Seigenthaler, this weekly show (Sundays, 10 a.m. WNPT) highlights the finest writers and journalists in the business
The Nashville Public Library, one of the coolest architectural spaces in town, in addition to being fabulous. A city with a great libarary...
Sisters in Crime - I've been a member since 2004. Great group of people who were hugely instrumental in my road to publication
Music City Romance Writers - I've been a member since 2009. Awesome resource for new writers, fun, vibrant group of women
Women's National Book Association Nashville Chapter - An elegant group of men and women who adore the written word and play a huge part in the success of the Southern Festival of Books
Mystery Writers of America - SE Chapter - Jaden Terrell is the president this year (as she is for Sisters in Crime. Lots of overlap). Sign up.
The Nashville Writers Meetup - Run by Mike Turner, it is over 1100 members strong
Tennessee Writers Alliance - a community of Tennessee Writers
Mysteries and More - Run by Mary and Greg Bruss, it's a charming store that treats authors like gold
East Side Story - Our newest entrant - run by the indefatigable Chuck Beard, it only stocks books by Tennessee authors.
Bookman/Bookwoman - A legend - SaraLee and Larry Woods are woven into the fabric of the city
Parnassus Books - Owned by Ann Patchett, the only independent selling strictly new books, it has a heavy literary focus and a monthly bookclub
Literary Libations - the 4th Thursday of each month January-October, meets 5:30-7:30 in the Union Station Hotel Bar. (valet parking available for $3) Casual evening for readers and writers to hang out, talk books and air their feathers
Southern Festival of Books - Always the second weekend in October, draws over 250 authors and tens of thousands of attendees
Salon@615 - Brings in major authors from around the world
The Vanderbilt University Visiting Writers Series - Just what it says...
Evening with an Author - Run by Ginna Foster Cannon, it's always a fun night
Killer Nashville - Sadly, I've never attended because it falls on my anniversary every year, but emerging as an excellent conference for writers seeking to break into the market
East Side Storytellin' - Brainchild of Chuck Beard, Nashville's hot new literary ambassador, check out this writeup of the latest event, at Rumors East. It's an evening with author and a band, this one in particular featured yours truly with Crackerboots. The audio is interesting...
Publications and Online Reviews
2nd & Church - Started by Roy Burkhead, this literary magazine is chock full of stories, articles and essays, all focused on Tennessee
Chapter 16 - Run by Margaret Renkl, it's a fantastic online resource and literary community
The Nashville Scene - Still doing print book reviews, unlike the Tennessean
The City Paper - tied to Chapter 16, so the reviews and articles are in print as well.
Bookpage - The monthly review publication is headquartered in Nashville
What other authors say about the city
Like I said, this was a cursory, off the top of my head listing. Please feel free to add to it in the comments.