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Southern Festival of Books

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Lisa Erspamer

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A Letter to My Mom

is president of Lisa Erspamer Entertainment and Unleashed Media. Previously, Lisa served as chief creative officer and executive vice president of programming and development for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, as well as co-executive producer at The Oprah Winfrey Show, where she produced hundreds of shows. The creator and co-author of A Letter to My Dog and A Letter to My Cat, Lisa lives with her dogs, Lily and Grace, in Los Angeles.

Ansley Erickson

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Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits

is assistant professor of history and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She lives in New York.

Helen Ellis

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American Housewife: Stories

is the acclaimed author of Eating the Cheshire Cat. She is a poker player who competes on the national tournament circuit. Raised in Alabama, she lives with her husband in New York City.

Danielle Dutton

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Margaret the First: A Novel

's fiction has appeared in magazines such as Harper's, BOMB, Fence, and Noon. She is the author of a collection of hybrid prose pieces, Attempts at a Life, which Daniel Handler in Entertainment Weekly called "indescribably beautiful," and an experimental novel, S P R A W L, a finalist for the Believer Book Award. In 2015, she wrote the texts for Here Comes Kitty: A Comic Opera, an artists' book with collages by Richard Kraft.

Sue Dunlap

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grew up in rural Knox County, Tennessee. She now lives deep in the Southern Appalachian Mountains near Walland, Tennessee, where she and her husband live on and work a mountain cattle farm. Here, among wildlife, pets, and Angus cattle, she writes poetry, fiction, and memoir. Her poems have appeared in Appalachian Heritage, Appalachian Journal, Anthology of Appalachian Writers and Southern Poetry Anthology, among other anthologies and journals.

Dave Dietrich

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Sleep Tight Nashville

spent his formative years in Nashville splashing through waves at Nashville Shores, playing baseball near The Hermitage at Rotary Park, and whipping through the rides at Opryland Theme Park. He is a writer and non-profit executive who loves participating in causes that help other people. Inspired by his wife Megan, daugher Isla, and dogs Ace and Grace - Dave and his mom wrote the book Sleep Tight Nashville for people of all ages to experience Nashville the way he did growing up.

Bronwen Dickey

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Pitt Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon

is a contributing editor at The Oxford American. Her writing has also appeared (or is forthcoming) in the New York Times, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Newsweek, Outside, Popular Mechanics, Best American Travel Writing 2009, Slate, Garden & Gun, The San Francisco Chronicle, Southern Living, World Hum, Sport Diver, and The Independent Weekly, among other publications.

Dorothy Padgett

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Jimmy Carter: Elected President with Pocket Change and Peanuts

organized the Carter presidential campaign effort known as the Peanut Brigade. During the Carter Administration, she was appointed assistant chief of Protocol at the State Department. Padgett is a former member of the Democratic National Committee, the Georgia Council for the Arts, and the Metropolitan Mental Health Association. She presently serves on The Carter Center Board of Councilors.

William Page

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In This Maybe Best of All Possible Worlds

grew up in a small town in the rolling hills of Middle Tennessee.After serving four years in the US Air Force, he earned advanceddegrees in Tennessee and Ohio and taught for state universities of Texas, Alabama, Ohio, and Tennessee, retiring from Memphis State University, where he was founder of the nationally acclaimed Memphis State Review, subsequently entitled River City Review and The Pinch.  His poems have appeared widely in such journals as The North American Review,The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and The Sewanee R

Matthew Desmond

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Evicted: Poverity and Profit in the American City

is an American sociologist and urban ethnographer. He is currently the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and Co-Director of the Justice and Poverty Project. The author of several books, including the award-winning book, On the Fireline, and Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. Desmond was awarded a MacArthur "Genius" grant in 2015 for his work on poverty in America.

Karen Pashley

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Precious In His Sight

lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and the youngest of their four daughters. Her first novel, Precious in His Sight, won first place in the unpublished novels competition at the 2014 Blue Ridge Christian Writer's Conference. Karen is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writer's Association, Word Weavers International, and the Women's Fiction Writer's Association.

Ken Paulson

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is president of the First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University.

Geffrey Davis

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The Floodgate Poetry Series: Volume 3

is the author of Revising the Storm (BOA Editions 2014), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Finalist. He also co-authored, with poet F. Douglas Brown, Begotten  (Upper Rubber Boots Books 2016), a chapbook in URB's Floodgate Poetry Series.

Bernard Powers

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We are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emmanuel

is Professor of History at College of Charleston. He has served as Department Chair, Associate Chair and as Director of the M.A.History Program. He has published numerous works on African American social and cultural evolution. His major work is Black Charlestonians: A Social History 1822-1885,  which won a Choice Award for Best Academic Books. He was associate editor for The South Carolina Encyclopedia

Virginia Pye

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Dreams of the Red Phoenix

holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has taught writing at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University. She is also author of the acclaimed novel River of Dust. She currently divides her time between Richmond, Virginia, and Boston.