Image Courtesy of Humanities Tennessee / The 2021 Southern Festival of Books poster.

A local book club has announced its next title, and a book festival has named its initial slate of guests.



The Chattanooga Theatre Centre Book Club will meet at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 in the mainstage lobby, 400 River St., to discuss Lynn Nottage's "Sweat." The play was the winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize.

Filled with humor and heart, "Sweat" tells the story of a group of friends who have spent their lives sharing drinks, secrets and laughs while working together on the factory floor. But when layoffs and picket lines begin to chip away at their trust, the friends find themselves pitted against each other in a heart-wrenching fight to stay afloat.

To find the script, search for the Chattanooga Theatre Centre Book Club Facebook page and ask to join. Note: "Sweat" contains mature language.



The Southern Festival of Books has announced the initial lineup of authors for its its 33rd annual event, happening Oct. 9-10 in Nashville.

More than 100 authors from a variety of genres will connect with fans virtually and in person. Live sessions will include authors reading from and discussing their works. Online programming, to be offered leading up to the event, will allow festivalgoers to tune into virtual author sessions as well as access to recordings of all festival sessions.

"Every year, we seek to put on an event for readers and writers across the country to celebrate their favorite works, discover new favorites and connect with fellow book lovers – and this year's event is no exception," said Tim Henderson, executive director of Humanities Tennessee. "We couldn't be more thrilled with this Festival lineup and are grateful for the opportunity to offer our attendees the option to celebrate the written word through in-person and virtual experiences."

Headlining authors who will be attending in-person programming include:

* Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, who has written "Faithful Presence: The Promise and Peril of Faith in the Public Square," exploring the role of faith in politics.

* Brian Broome, whose "Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir" recounts his early years growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy coming to terms with his sexuality.

* Daniel de Visé, an author and journalist whose investigative reporting led to the release of wrongly convicted men from life terms in prison. His fourth book, "King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King," debuting in October, is the first full biography of the musical legend.

* Robert Jones Jr., whose debut novel, "The Prophets," is the latest project for the creator and curator of the social-justice social-media community Son of Baldwin, which has over 275,000 members across platforms.

* Rickie Lee Jones, the two-time Grammy Award winner who is debuting "Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour," an intimate memoir covering her life and five-decade music career.

* Paula McLain, a New York Times best-selling author whose works include novels, poetry and a memoir. Her latest release is the novel "When the Stars Go Dark."

* Margaret Renkl, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and author of "Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss." Her next book, "Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South," will debut in September.

* Jess Walter, whose nine books include national best-sellers ("Beautiful Ruins," "The Cold Millions"), a finalist for the National Book Award ("The Zero") and an Edgar Award winner ("Citizen Vince").

* Helene Wecker, whose "The Golem and the Jinni" was awarded the Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature, the VCU Cabell Award for First Novel and the Harold U. Ribalow Prize and was nominated for a Nebula Award and a World Fantasy Award. "The Hidden Palace: A Novel" is her second book.

* Don Winslow, a New York Times best-selling author whose works have been named Best Books of the Year three times by the New York Times Critics Choice. His best-selling trilogy "The Power of the Dog," "The Border" and "The Cartel" is set to become an FX television series, and his "Winslow's Savages" and "The Death and Life of Bobby Z" have been made into feature films. His latest novel, "City on Fire," is the first installment of a three-part series about dueling criminal empires in New England.

* David Zucchino, whose "Wilmington's Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy" won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Authors who will be participating in the festival's virtual programming include:

* Benjamin Labatut, a Chilean author whose latest work, "When We Cease to Understand the World," a fictional examination of the links between scientific discoveries and morality, was included on former President Barack Obama's 2021 summer reading list.

* Jason Reynolds, whose novels and poetry for young-adult and middle-grade audiences include "Ghost," a National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, and "Look Both Ways," a Carnegie Medal winner.

* Stephan Pastis, a cartoonist and author of children's books whose "It's the End When I Say It's the End" was on The New York Times best-seller list for children's middle-grade books.

* Gayle Forman, a New York Times best-selling author and journalist whose latest work is "Frankie and Bug."

Access to the festival is free. Updates are available at

— Compiled by Lisa Denton