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Southern Festival of Books

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Carla Damron

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The Stone Necklace

is a fiction writer, clinical social worker, and author of the Caleb Knowles mystery novels. Her short stories have appeared in Fall Lines, Six Minute Magazine, Melusine, and other journals. Named the 2015 South Carolina Social Worker of the Year, Damron holds an MFA in creative writing from Queens University and a master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina.

Jonathan Rabb

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Among the Living

is an American novelist, essayist, and writer.

Ashley Crownover

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Nashville Boo!: Scary Tales of the City

is a sixth-generation Nashvillian who loves to explore spooky places and imagine all the people who lived there before. In addition to the new children's book Nashville Boo!, she is the author of a book for grown-ups called Wealtheow: Her Telling of Beowulf (Iroquois Press, 2008).

Erik Reece

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Utopia Drive: A Road Trip Through America's Most Radical Idea

is the author of Lost Mountain: A Year in the Vanishing WildernessRadical Strip Mining and the Devastation of Appalachia and An American Gospel: On Family, History, and the Kingdom of God. He has also written for Harper's Magazine, The Nation, and Orion Magazine. He is currently the writer in residence at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he teaches environmental journalism,writing, and literature.

Beth Revis

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A World Without You

grew up in the Appalachian Mountains with a cemetery in her backyard. She prefers her stories to have some sort of weird angle;even when she's writing a contemporary novel like A World Without You. Her other books, Across the Universe trilogy, are New York Times bestsellers and have been translated into more than twenty languages. Beth lives in a house full of boys-her husband, son, and two massive dogs. She forces them all to watch reruns of Firefly and Doctor Who in between planning trips to see the world.

Jason Reynolds

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earned a BA from the University of Maryland, College Park, then moved to Brooklyn, New York. He is the author of criticallyacclaimed When I Was Greatest, for which he was the recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent; the Coretta Scott King Honor books Boy in the Black Suit and All American Boys (co-written with Bredan Kiely); and As Brave as You, his middle grade debut.

Jordan Rice

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is co-editor of the anthology Voices of Transgender Parents. She has received the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, the Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, the Yellowwood Poetry Prize, and the Milton-Kessler Memorial Prize. She received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a PhD from Western Michigan University. She is currently an Executive Editor for Dublin Poetry Review.

Bobby C. Rogers

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Bobby C.
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Social History

won the annual 2009 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize Competitionfrom the University of Pittsburgh Press and the Witter Bynner Fellowship,  selected by United States Poet Laureate Charles Wright. He is a professor of English at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.

Maria Cornelius

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The Final Season: The Perseverence of Pat Summitt

has written about the Lady Vols basketball program since 1998 for local, regional, and national media. A freelance writer for Inside Tennessee, Cornelius lives in Knoxville and continues to cover the program. She works full-time as a writer/editor for Moxley Carmichael, a leading public relations and communications firm in East Tennessee.


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Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef's Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness

attended the Culinary Institute of America and worked in New York City before travelling overseas to apprentice in Europe with world-renowned French chefs Georges Blanc and Roger Verge. After The Food Network discovered her in 1999, she went on to become the first female Iron Chef for the Network. She is the founder of the charitable organization Chefs for Humanity, a grassroots organization that mobilizes chefs to lend their skills to communities in need, and she has built a brand that includes two food lines. She lives in Santa Barbara.

Meredith Russo

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If I Was Your Girl

was born, raised, and lives in Tennessee. She started living as her true self in late 2013 and never looked back. If I Was Your Girl was partially inspired by her experiences as a trans woman. Like Amanda, Meredith is a gigantic nerd who spends a lot of her time obsessing over video games and Star Wars.

Monika Schroeder

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Be Light Like a Bird

grew up in Germany and has worked as an elementary school teacher and librarian in American international schools in Egypt, Chile, Oman, and India. After living in India for eight years, she returned to the US in the summer of 2011. She now lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. When not reading or writing, she loves to bake, hike, or watch movies. 

Daniel Connolly

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The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America

speaks fluent Spanish, and, for more than a decade, has reported on Mexican immigration to the U.S. South for news organizations including The Associated Press in Little Rock, and The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. The winner of numerous journalism prizes, he has received grants and fellowships from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the International Center for Journalists and the Fulbright program. He lives in his hometown of Memphis, TN.

Joanna Reed Shelton

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Joanna Reed
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A Christian in the Land of Gods: Journey of Faith in Japan

lives with her husband in Montana's Rocky Mountain Northwest. For over twenty years, she was intimately involved in US-Japan relations in increasingly senior positions of government and diplomacy. A quest for knowledge about her Tennessee great-grandfather's life and work as a missionary in nineteenth-century Japan launched her on a new path. After long holding religion at arm's length, she now serves as an elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her book has been nominated for a Christianity Today 2017 Book Award for history/biography. 

Megan Shepherd

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The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains. She is the author of several acclaimed young adult books, and The Secret Horses of Briar Hill is her debut middle-school novel. Shepherd lives and writes on a 125-year-old farm outside Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, two cats, and a dog.