Aug 28, 2012
When I saw the list of authors to be featured in the Nashville Public Library’s fall/winter Salon@615 series, I was taken aback.
I couldn’t believe that within a four-month period Patricia Cornwell, Louise Erdrich, Dennis Lehane, Mem Fox, Jon Meacham, Barbara Kingsolver, Sherman Alexie and others would all be coming to Nashville to chat with local book lovers.
And when I saw Caroline Kennedy’s name on the Salon list, I figured that the series’ concept must have changed from an in-person event to something more like a book club or study group that would focus on popular authors, but not have them actually appear.
So I called Elyse Adler, who oversees special programs at the library, to get the 615 scoop.
“Yes, they are ALL coming,’’ she said. “Yes, coming to Nashville in person.”
“No way,” was my response, as I asked her to explain how on earth her team got all of these A-list authors to come to Nashville.
Elyse explained that the Salon@615 series, which is basically an author talk or reading followed by a book-signing, kicked off last year and has been wildly successful, with authors such as Colin Powell attracting more than 700 people, and our own Ann Patchett drawing a 600-plus crowd.
“It has been like an unstoppable train,” Elyse said, explaining that the series has take off in terms of audience and author interest.
The series is the handiwork of a thriving partnership between the Nashville Public Library, Parnassus Books, the Nashville Public Library Foundation and Humanities Tennessee.
“Humanities Tennessee is held in such high regard because of the Southern Festival (of Books) that people (authors) want to come. And none of this would happen without the support of the Foundation (which provides the funding). It takes a village,” she said, noting that Parnassus helps with the book sales and also brings in ideas for authors who might be good prospects.
“Authors and publishers want to come to Nashville now. Before, it was a hard sell. We would say, ‘You are going to be in Atlanta, don’t you want to stop by Nashville?’ But that has changed. Now they want to come.”
It used to be that the trick was to lure authors who have new books out to come to Nashville as part of their tours. That way the publishers would pay their way as promotion for the books, and the library consortium wouldn’t have to pay pricey fees like they otherwise would for an author “appearance,” Elyse said.
But now with the authors seeking Nashville out, instead of the other way around, Elyse said there are lots of happy surprises, such as Barbara Kingsolver’s visit.
“Barbara Kingsolver is coming. She doesn’t travel. How we got her, I do not know,” she said.
And Caroline Kennedy? Who would have thought!
All of the following events, except Caroline Kennedy’s, are author talks followed by signings. You can buy a book on site or bring your own.
• Actress and author
Molly Ringwald speaks about her fiction debut, “When It Happens To You,” 6:15 p.m. Sept. 18 at Nashville Public Library auditorium.
• A “Talk on Edith Wharton” features conversations with authors Jennie Fields ( “The Age of Desire”) and Irene Goodman-Price (“My Dear Governess”), 6:15 p.m. Sept. 20, NPL Auditorium.
• Author Colin Meloy (frontman of The Decemberists) will talk about his new children’s novel, “Under Wildwood,” 6:15 p.m. Oct. 1, Nashville Children’s Theater.
• Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon will discuss his latest novel, “Telegraph Avenue,” 6:15 p.m. Oct. 2, NPL Auditorium.
• Caroline Kennedy, author/editor of eight best-selling books, will sign her latest work, “Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy,”
1 p.m. Oct. 9, NPL Grand Reading Room. Signing only.
• Louise Erdrich, who is the author of 13 novels as well as poetry, short stories, a memoir and children’s books, will talk about her new novel, “The Round House,” 6:15 p.m. Oct. 9, NPL Auditorium.
• Poet, writer and filmmaker Sherman Alexie (“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” will discuss his new book, “Blasphemy,” Oct. 18, time TBA, Montgomery Bell Academy.
• Best-selling author Patricia Cornwell will talk about her latest novel, “The Bone Bed,” 2 p.m. Oct. 20, University School of Nashville, 2000 Edgehill Ave.
• Dennis Lehane, author of “Shutter Island” and “Mystic River,” will talk about his newest book, “Live by Night,” 6:15 p.m. Oct. 23, NPL Auditorium.
• Mem Fox, Australia’s best-loved picture book author (“Possum Magic”) will talk about her new book, “Two Little Monkeys,” 6:15 p.m. Nov. 5, NPL Auditorium.
• Emma Donaghue, best-selling author of “Room,” will discuss her new collection of short stories, “Astray,” 6:15 p.m. Nov. 13, NPL Auditorium.
• Barbara Kingsolver, author of 14 books including “The Poisonwood Bible,”
will talk about her latest, “Flight Behavior,” 6:15 p.m. Nov. 27, NPL Auditorium.
• Pulitzer Prize-winning Andrew Jackson biographer Jon Meacham will discuss his new biography, “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power,” 6:15 p.m. Dec. 13, NPL Auditorium.
If you go
Where: Most events are at at the Main Library’s auditorium and in its overflow room. The Library is at 615 Church St. (hence the Salon @615 name).
When: Most take place at 6:15 p.m. to keep things simple. Doors usually open 30 minutes prior to the talk.
Tickets: The author events are free but you can pay a $2.50 “convenience” fee and order tickets ahead of time. Only half of the seats at any event can be reserved online, so there are walk-up opportunities, too.