SouthWord Literary Feast features 40 visiting writers, keynote by Wendell Berry

SouthWord Literary Feast features 40 visiting writers, keynote by Wendell Berry

October 2nd, 2017 by Staff Report in Life Entertainment
Award-winning writer Wendell Berry will deliver the keynote address at the SouthWord Literary Feast in November.

Award-winning writer Wendell Berry will deliver the keynote...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

The Southern Lit Alliance has announced dates and guests for the SouthWord Literary Feast, formerly known as the Celebration of Southern Literature.

Scheduled Nov. 3-4, the biennial event will bring 40 members of the Fellowship of Southern Writers to Chattanooga for readings, discussions and panels with published members of the Fellowship of Southern Writers as well as seven authors receiving fellowship-sponsored awards.

Lynda LeVan, director of Southern Lit Alliance, describes SouthWord as "one of the most unique literary festivals in the South."

While in Chattanooga, the visiting writers will visit with local high school students, lead instructional workshops and participate in panel discussions, according to a news release.

"We are also excited to be planning new events and opportunities within the community that will offer attendees an even more personal, engaging experience," LeVan says.

Wendell Berry, a novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic and farmer, will deliver the keynote address. Berry is a prolific author whose works include novels, short stories, poems and essays. He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers as well as recipient of the National Humanities Medal and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012, a 2013 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award.

Other authors in attendance will include poet T.J. Jarrett, author of "Ain't No Grave"; short-story and novel writer Jill McCorkle, whose works includes "The Cheer Leader" and "July 7th"; Lee Smith, author of New York Times best-seller "The Last Girls"; Charles Frazier, author of the 1997 National Book Award for Fiction winner "Cold Mountain"; fiction writer and environmental activist Silas House, author of more than 100 published short stories and poems; and best-selling novelist, poet and short-story writer Ron Rash.

The Fellowship of Southern Writers also will be recognizing writers for their outstanding work in literature, poetry and drama. These include Jarrett (George Garrett Award), Wayne Flynt (Woodward Franklin Award), T.R. Hummer (Donal Justice Award), Terry Roberts (James Still Award), Rion Amilcar Scott (Hillsdale Award), Liza Wieland (Robert Penn Warren Award), C. Dale Young (Hanes Prize for Poetry) and Jireh Holder (Bryan Family Drama).

Events will take place at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga on Friday and at Lindsay Street Hall and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center on Saturday.

Writers also will attend book signings, a Friday luncheon recognizing award winners and new inductees, and a barbecue luncheon that features writers John Shelton Reed and Roy Blount Jr. In addition, authors McCorkle and Smith will share their musical talent along with Nashville-based musician and friend Matraca Berg at a Saturday performance in Lindsay Street Hall.

The Southern Lit Alliance is a literary arts organization founded in 1952. Its mission is to inspire lives through the uplifting power of the literary arts. The Fellowship of Southern Writers is an honorary society that works to recognize excellence in Southern literature.

Tickets and more information can be found online at or by calling 423-267-1218.