Thursday, December 15, 2016

Going to Jackson: James Cherry to Discuss and Sign His New Novel

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 12:09 PM


Let’s not forget our neighbors to the east. This Saturday at ComeUnity Café in Jackson, Tennessee, author James E. Cherry will be reading from, discussing, and signing his latest novel, Edge of the Wind. The Clyde Gilmore Jazz Combo will perform and refreshments will be served. 

In the highly suspenseful Edge of the Wind (Stephen F. Austin State University Press), Alexander van der Pool, a sensitive but deeply troubled 25-year-old black man, is off his meds and has begun hearing voices, especially that of Bigger Thomas, Richard Wright's iconic character. Having been holed up in his sister's bedroom in southwest Tennessee for two months, Alex has done nothing but read and write poetry. He is convinced that writing poetry is his life's calling and sets out to visit a local community college to have his work evaluated. But life takes a terrible turn when those at the college reject him and his work and try to kick him out. Alex takes matters into his own hands and holds the literature class hostage.


Noted poet Nikki Giovanni has said of Cherry: “Let me say it plain: James E. Cherry can write.”       
And local author Arthur Flowers says, “Cherry is a master of the word, providing light in darkness, dropping knowledge and taking no prisoners.”


Cherry is the author of six books, including Loose Change, Still a Man and Other Stories, Shadow of Light, and Bending the Blues. He has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, a Lillian Smith Book Award, and as a finalist for the Next Generation Indie Book Award for Fiction. His work has been published nationally as well as in Nigeria, Canada, France, and China. Cherry has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and resides in Tennessee with his wife, Tammy.


James E. Cherry

ComeUnity Café

218 E. Main Street

(Jackson, Tennessee)

Saturday, Dec. 17th

1 p.m.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dr. Cary Fowler Returns Home to Celebrate His New Book on the Global Seed Vault

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 2:46 PM

Memphian Cary Fowler is returning this weekend to discuss and sign his new book, Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault.


Fowler attended Rhodes College and is best known as the “father” of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. He has been described by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as an “inspirational symbol of peace and food security for the entire humanity.” The Seed Vault provides ultimate security for more than 850,000 unique crop varieties, the raw material for all future plant breeding and crop improvement efforts. Fowler proposed the creation of this Arctic facility to Norway, headed the international committee that


 developed the plan for its establishment, and now chairs the international council that oversees its operations.


This big, beautiful book is the comprehensive story of how the Vault came to be. Its breathtaking photographs by Mari Tefre offer a stunning guided tour of the vault, the windswept beauty and majesty of Svalbard, and the enchanting community of people in Longyearbyen.


More on Fowler:

He served as the executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust from 2005 to 2012. Fowler has received several honorary degrees, including an Honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Simon Fraser University, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree from Rhodes College. He received the Right Livelihood Award with Pat Mooney in 1985 for his work in agriculture and the preservation of biodiversity. Fowler has also received the Vavilov Medal from the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. In 2010, he was one of 10 recipients of the 16th Heinz Awards (with special focus on global change). In 2012, he was awarded the “Wind Beneath my Wings" award jointly with his wife Amy P. Goldman at Bette Midler's annual “Hulaween” party. He was the baccalaureate speaker at the 2013 Rhodes College commencement ceremonies and received the 2015 William L. Brown Award for Excellence in Genetic Resource Conservation from the Missouri Botanical Garden. He is the author of the books, Unnatural Selection: Technology, Politics, and Plant Evolution, and Shattering: Food, Politics, and the Loss of Genetic Diversity (with Pat Mooney).

 “The Global Seed Vault is an extraordinary project, and Seeds on Ice is an extraordinary book — in equal measure fascinating, beautiful, and haunting.” — Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

Fowler has been to the top of the world to ensure the safety of the diversity of crops globally. Make the trek to The Booksellers at Laurelwood on Saturday to hear all about it.

Dr. Cary Fowler
The Booksellers at Laurelwood

Saturday, Dec. 10

2 p.m.

Dr. Cary Fowler
  • Dr. Cary Fowler

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Jim Dees to Discuss Oxford, Faulkner, and the Year That Was 1997

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 10:39 AM

In 1997, Jim Dees was a cub reporter for the Oxford Eagle, learning the intricacies of handling breaking news, obit craftsmanship, and the post-deadline drink. He was 40 years old. It would go on to be an exciting and tumultuous year for Oxford, Mississippi, our neighbor to the south.



To celebrate the centennial of local hero William Faulkner’s birth, the town fathers had decided to erect a statue of the scribe on the town square just across from the courthouse. In the wake of what seems like a benign enough idea, the sleepy town erupted in conflict over where the statue would go, whether it would be standing or sitting, and just who would have ultimate control over such decisions. The town mayor squared off against the Faulkner family with sculptor Bill Beckwith caught in the middle. And Dees was there to record it all.


Other things happened that year — the rap group 2Live Crew came to town for a show that raised some eyebrows and some ire, and a group of citizens took exception to the idea (and action on behalf) of some trees being bulldozed. Sam Phillips showed up, as did Henry Kissinger, James Brown, Shelby Foote, the FBI, Willies Nelson and Morris, James Meredith, and ’90s-era celebrity attorney Johnnie Cochran.


In his new book, The Statue and the Fury: A Year of Art, Race, Music and Cocktails (Nautilus Publishing), Dees — now the host of the Thacker Mountain Radio program — recounts all of the ups and downs of the circus that was 1997 with humor and in downhome detail. He’ll be at The Booksellers at Laurelwood this Friday evening to discuss and sign the book.

Dees is also the author of Lies and Other Truths: Rants, Raves, Low-Lifes and Highballs, and the editor of They Write Among Us: New Stories and Essays From the Best of Oxford Writers.

"Only Jim Dees could take a small-town controversy and turn it into the backbone of such a terrific book. This is the kind of inspired eye for detail and recognition for the absurd that Robert Altman would have loved. A truly unique reflection on a storied Southern town at a turning point. I’m so glad Dees was there to document it all and write this funny and insightful true story." — Ace Atkins

"The Statue and the Fury reads like a fever-dream. The writing of Jim Dees turns out to be just as gonzo as his shirts, and that’s saying a lot. For those of us who wish we could live year-round in Oxford, this wild book is as close as you can get without having to pay property taxes." — Harrison Scott Key


Jim Dees

The Booksellers at Laurelwood

Friday, Dec. 9

6:30 p.m.


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