South Word Abridged Literary Festival Will Be Held Virtually Nov. 5-6

Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey

Like a beloved shortened novel, Southern Lit Alliance’s literary arts festival SouthWord Abridged is a two-day event packed with literary treasures in Southern literature, said officials.  The event will be held virtually on Nov. 5 and 6 with a kick-off on Friday night and a full day of panels and speakers on Saturday. The event will be held on Zoom.

First Horizon is the presenting sponsor for the weekend with additional support from Arts Build and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The virtual keynote speaker is Natasha Trethewey, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. The Friday, Nov. 5, kick-off session will feature John Shelton Reed discussing his new book On Barbeque, a history of barbeque in the South and its impact on culture.  Authors speaking on Nov. 6 include Richard Bausch and George Singleton.  A virtual panel on the topic of Southern literature includes Steve Yarbrough and Michel Stone, Finally, a panel discussing book publishing will feature insights from George Singleton, Daniel Wallace, and UTC professor Karen Babine.

Tickets are $25 for all events and are available at www.southernlitalliance.org.  Proceeds will benefit Southern Lit Alliance programs encouraging passionate readers and writers.

About Natasha Trethewey, the Keynote Speaker

Natasha Trethewey was US Poet Laureate in 2012 and 2013.  She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her work Native Guard.   Her recent memoir Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir shook the literary world with her honest portrayal of trauma and how it shaped who she became as an artist.  Her poetry, structurally, combines free verse with more structured and traditional forms, while thematically, it tends to focus on memory and America’s racial history.

Her other poetry collections include Bellocq’s Ophelia, Domestic Work, Thrall, and Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  

Ms. Trethewey previously served as the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University and is currently the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University.  She earned her BA from The University of Georgia, her Master’s from Hollins University, and her MFA in poetry from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

 


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