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Humanities Tennessee Authors Bureau

The Authors Bureau provides authors for community visits. The bureau is a program of Humanities Tennessee, with support from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. There is no cost to programs for this service. A list of participating authors is below. If you are interested in booking an author for your community program, please contact Serenity Gerbman at: or at 615-770-0006, ext. 12. 


Bill Brown  is the author of three chapbooks, five collections of poetry and a textbook. His most recent titles are The News Inside (Iris Press 2010), Late Winter (Iris Press 2008) and Tatters (March Street Press 2007). In 1999 Brown wrote and co-produced the Instructional Television Series, Student Centered Learning, for Nashville Public Television. In 1995 The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him The Distinguished Teacher in the Arts. He has been a Scholar in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a two-time recipient of Fellowships in poetry from the Tennessee Arts Commission. In 2011 Brown was the recipient of The Writer of the Year Award from the Tennessee Writers Alliance. Brown holds graduate degrees in English from George Peabody College and The Bread Loaf School of English of Middlebury College. Brown retired as a part-time lecturer at Vanderbilt University in 2010. He lives with his wife, Suzanne, and a tribe of cats in the hills north of Nashville. Brown’s poems have been anthologized numerous times, and have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, North American Review, The Literary Review, Westbranch, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Connecticut Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Smartish Pace.

What the Night Told Me (Mellon Poetry Press, 1991) out of print
Important Words, A Book for Poets and Writers (Boyton/Cook, 1991) out of print
The Art of Dying (Sow’s Ear Press, 1995) out of print
The Gods of Little Pleasures (Sow’s Ear Press, 2001) out of print
Yesterday’s Hay (chapbook) (Pudding House Press, 2006)
Tatters (March Street Press, 2007)
Late Winter (Iris Press, 2008)
The News Inside (Iris Press, 2010)

Region: Middle Tennessee


Brenda Rickman Vantrease, a former English teacher and librarian, is from Nashville, Tennessee. A graduate of Belmont College, she holds a masters degree and a doctorate from Middle Tennessee State University. After years of studying the craft of fiction writing, Brenda’s first novel, The Illuminator, was published to international acclaim. It was the first of three books, all exploring the struggle for the freedom to translate, publish, distribute and read the Bible in one’s own language without religious persecution. The Illuminator received starred reviews in both Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal and was widely reviewed in the U.S. and abroad. The publication of The Mercy Seller and The Heretic’s Wife followed. These three novels mine the rich history of the two centuries leading up to the Reformation by telling the very human stories of characters, both historical and fictional, who live, love, struggle, and (sometimes) survive in times fraught with peril. Translated into seventeen foreign languages, Brenda’s books are available worldwide in bookstores and online.

Critics have said:
The Illuminator is a bold first novel, blending a sweeping portrayal of the distant past with intricate family drama. —The Boston Globe
[ The Mercy Seller] By turns exotic, mystical, regal and romantic . . . —Bookpage
[The Heretic’s Wife]There’s an elegance to Vantrease’s writing, a sense of great respect for the history she explores, coupled with a determined, truth-seeking creativity. —The Nashville Scene

For more information on Brenda and her work go to

Region: Middle Tennessee


Christopher Hebert graduated from Antioch College, where he also worked at the Antioch Review. He has spent time in Guatemala and taught in Mexico, and he worked as a research assistant to the author Susan Cheever. He earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan, and he was awarded its prestigious Hopwood Award for fiction. He is Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tennessee Libraries and teaching in the English department at the University of Tennessee. He lives in Knoxville with his son and his wife, the novelist Margaret Lazarus Dean.

The Boiling Season: A Novel (HarperCollins 2012)

Region: East Tennessee



Linda Parsons Marion is an editor at the University of Tennessee and the author of three poetry collections, most recently, Bound.She served as poetry editor of Now & Then magazine for many years and has received literary fellowships from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Associated Writing Programs’ Intro Award, among other awards. Marion’s work often joins the inner and outer landscapes to bring about understanding, reconciliation, and healing. Poems have appeared widely in journals such as The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, and Shenandoah and in numerous anthologies, including Listen Here: Women Writing in Appalachia and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume III: Contemporary Appalachia. She was recently inducted in the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame and received the 2012 George Scarbrough Award in Poetry.

Bound, Wind Publications, 2011
Mother Land, Iris Press, 2008
Home Fires, Sow’s Ear Press, 1997

Region: East Tennessee


Lorraine M. López (b. 1956) is an associate editor of the Afro-Hispanic Review and an associate professor of English teaching in the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Vanderbilt University.  Lorraine M. López is the author of five books of fiction and editor of two essay collections.  Her short story collection, Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories was a Finalist for the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Prize.  Her short story collection, Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories won the inaugural Miguel Marmól prize for fiction.  Her second book, Call Me Henri was awarded the Paterson Prize for Young Adult Literature, and her novel, The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters was a Borders/Las Comadres   Selection for the month of November in 2008.  López’s short story collection, Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories was a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Prize in Fiction in 2010 and winner of the Texas League of Writers Award for Outstanding Book of Fiction.  She has also edited a collection of essays titled An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor or Working-Class Roots, which was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2009.  Her recent publications include a novel, The Realm of Hungry Spirits and a collection of essays, The Other Latin@: Writing against a Singular Identity, co-edited with Blas Falconer.  Finally, López has coedited, with Margaret Crumpton Winter, a collection of critical essays titled “Rituals of Movement in the Writings of Judith Ortiz Cofer” that will be released in 2012 from Caribbean Studies Press.

The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity (University of Arizona Press, October 2011).  Coedited with Blas Falconer. 184pages.
The Realm of Hungry Spirits (New York City: Grand Central/Hachette Books, May 2011).  330 pages.
An Angle of Vision: Women Writers on Their Poor and Working-Class Roots (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, October 2009).  Edited work.  192 pages.
Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories (Kansas City, Missouri: BkMk Books, September 2009).  263 pages.  Second printing in September 2010.
The Gifted Gabaldón Sisters, a novel. (New York City: Grand Central/Hachette Books, October 2008).  320 pages.  Second printing before publication.
Call Me Henrí, young adult novel.  (Willimantic: Curbstone Press, June 2006).  234 pages.
Soy la Avon Lady and Other Stories, short story collection.  (Willimantic: Curbstone Press, May 2002; second printing, 2002).  238 pages.  Winner of the Inaugural Miguel Marmol Prize for Fiction.

Region: East Tennessee


Margaret Lazarus Dean is the author of The Time It Takes to Fall (Simon & Schuster, 2007), a novel about the space shuttle Challenger disaster. She is currently working on a nonfiction book about the end of American spaceflight. She grew up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and received a BA in anthropology from Wellesley College and an MFA from the University of Michigan. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville.

The Time It Takes to Fall. Simon & Schuster, 2007.


Region: East Tennessee


Susan Gregg Gilmore was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1961. She began her writing career at the University of Virginia as a reporter for the school’s award-winning newspaper, The Cavalier Daily.

After graduating with a degree in history, she assumed a secretarial position with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A year later, Gregg Gilmore entered graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a Master of Arts in American Studies.

She married in 1985 and with her husband, Dan, raised three daughters all the while writing for newspapers including the Los Angeles TimesThe Christian Science Monitor and the Chattanooga News-Free Press.

Her first novel, Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, was called a “stand-out coming of age novel” by NPR’s Alan Cheuse and was a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) 2009 Book Award Nominee.

Her second novel, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove (Crown/2010), also reviewed on National Public Radio, was named a 2010 SIBA Summer OKRA Pick and selected as part of TARGET’s Emerging Author Program.

Gilmore currently lives in Chattanooga with her family and three dogs.

The Funeral Dress (CROWN/To Be Released 2013)
The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove(CROWN/2010)
Looking for Salvation at the DairyQueen (CROWN/2008)

Region: Middle/East Tennessee

Nashville native Linda Leaming's Married to Bhutan (Hay House, April 2011) is the story of her life in the Himalayas. It has been translated into German, Korean, and Turkish. She writes for Huffington Post, Ladies' Home Journal, Mandala magazine and other publications, and divides her time between Nashville and Thimphu, Bhutan. Her website is: Follow her on Twitter at

Region: Middle Tennessee