The 27th Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

Nashville’s celebration of the written word, October 9–11, 2015, left me almost speechless. With many concurrent sessions running through the three-day festival, both writers and readers could be easily overwhelmed by the options: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, music, and Southern cooking.

At first, I focused on sessions featuring novelists, but I was led astray by a delightful presentation with music: “Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia.” Just being able to wander from room to room hearing writers talk about the writing process was such a treat.

Some recurrent themes struck me as memorable: the importance of writing by hand, not just on a computer; letting characters, not plot, move the novel forward, and rewriting until a sentence glitters on the page.

The ambiance of Nashville defies description. Music fills the air, and the sense of a treasured history is everywhere. Best of all, I experienced the Southern Festival of Books with long-time friends who live in Nashville. What great and good fortune!