Authors to lead short-story sessions at the Chattanooga Public Library

Authors to lead short-story sessions at the Chattanooga Public Library

April 5th, 2013 by Barry Courter in Life Entertainment

Jill McCorkle

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

Richard Bausch

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

About the authors

* Jill McCorkle received the John Dos Pasoso Prize for excellence in literature and holds the distinction of having her first two novels published on the same day. Her latest novel, "Life After Life," was published in March, and her most recent collection of short stories, "Going Away Shoes," came out in 2010. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The Oxford American, The Southern Review and other publications.

* Richard Bausch is the author of 11 novels and eight collections of short stories. His 1995 novel, "The Last Good Time," was made into a feature-length motion picture while his latest collection of short stories, "Something Is Out There," was published in 2010. His stories have appeared in the Atlantic, Esquire, Harper's, The New Yorker and other periodicals. He has been awarded two National Magazine awards and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others.

IF YOU GO

Celebration of Southern Literature

* When: Thursday-Saturday, April 18-20.

* Where: The Chattanooga Public Library, 1001 Broad St.; 9-11:30 a.m. April 18; Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St., 1-6 p.m. April 18, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. April 19, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 20.

* Admission: $100 for three days; $50 one-day tickets.

* Information: www.southernlitalliance.org.

"Writer's Discussing Their Craft (Short Stories)"

* When: Thursday, April 18. 9-10:15 a.m. for Jill McCorkle; 10:30-11:45 a.m. for Richard Bausch.

* Where: Chattanooga Public Library, 1001 Broad St.

* Admission: $35.

* Information: www.southernlitalliance.org.

Both fans and would-be writers will have the opportunity this month to talk shop with two published authors.

Jill McCorkle and Richard Bausch are coming to town as part of the Southern Literature Celebration on April 18. Each session will host 50 attendees and registration must be made by April 15.

Titled "Writer's Discussing Their Craft (Short Stories)," it kicks off the three-day celebration, which takes place April 18-20, and is a separate ticketed event. Each author will host a 75-minute session at the Chattanooga Public Library and the sessions are designed to be informal with plenty of back-and-forth conversation.

"It's really more of a discussion than a workshop," says Susan Robinson, executive director of the Southern Lit Alliance, which is producing the event.

McCorkle says participants in her session can expect "stimulating conversation about the craft and art of writing stories."

Bausch says he also plans to talk about the writing process and the challenges of "keeping suspense on the page so that the reader is fully engaged."

"I think a great short story surprises you even as it follows a logical path to get there," he says. "You need strong believable characters, attention to language and effective dialogue."

Both authors were asked what advice they'd share with aspiring authors and each offered the same philosophy.

"Read. And then read some more," McCorkle says. "Read everything that was ever written that the generations have felt was worth keeping, and try to sound like whoever you're reading for a time. That's how you teach yourself to write."

Creating a story that will resonate with readers is difficult, she says.

"The challenges are legion: You want to be clear; you want to be involving; you want the reader to forget he's reading, and you want to say something that has the possibility of lasting far past your own time, though you work in the knowledge that this is very likely not going to happen -- and all you have is this beautiful, this gorgeous, unwieldy, wildly contradictory and puzzling language with which to bring that about."

Contact staff writer Barry Courter at bcourter@times freepress.com or at 423-757-6354.