Southern Festival of Books

Hosted by Humanities Tennessee, Vanderbilt University and Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities

Friday, October 14

The Future of Nashville Media

12:00–1:00 p.m. NPL, 3rd Floor Program Room

  • Bruce Dobie was the founding editor and co-owner of the Nashville Scene. He is now owner of Dobie Media, a digital media company whose online calendar,, aggregates and distributes entertainment listings enabling people to find out what is happening around them. The company operates a stand-alone entertainment portal at and powers calendars at 530 media company websites. It also licenses its content.
  • Ken Paulson is president of the First Amendment Center and dean of the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University. He is also the former editor-in-chief of USA Today. Previously, Paulson served as the editor and senior vice president/news of USA Today. He is now a columnist on USA Today’s board of contributors, writing about First Amendment issues and the news media.
  • Kelly Gilfillan is CEO and Executive Editor of Home Page Media Group, where her team publishes four daily online news sites providing news to Brentwood, Franklin, Spring Hill and Nolensville. Kelly sits on the national board of Local Independent Online News Publishers (LION), the Davis House Child Advocacy Center Board, and is involved with the Brentwood United Methodist Church. She is deeply involved with Civil War battlefield presentation. She is married with three daughters.

The Pulitzer Prize in Literature: Robert Olen Butler

1:30–2:30 p.m. NPL, Conference Room 1AB

  • Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of sixteen novels, including Hell, A Small Hotel, and the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series. He is also the author of six short story collections and a book on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He has twice won a National Magazine Award in Fiction and received the 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University. Perfume River

Enduring Legacies: The Best of Pulitzer Fiction

2:30–3:30 p.m. NPL, Special Collections

  • Michael Curtis has been an editor at The Atlantic since 1963. Under his direction, the magazine has won numerous fiction prizes, including the National Magazine Award for fiction.
  • Alice Randall was born in Detroit, grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Harvard. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Wind Done Gone, Pushkin and the Queen of Spades, and Rebel Yell. She is also an award-winning songwriter, and the first black woman in history to write a number one country song. Randall lives with her husband in Nashville and is currently writer-in- residence at Vanderbilt University. Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family
  • Rebecca Wells is a novelist, actor, and playwright. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Ya-Yas in Bloom, Little Altars Everywhere (winner of the Western States Book Award), and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (winner of the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, short-listed for the Orange Prize), which was made into a feature film. She performs from her work internationally, and her books have been translated into twenty-three languages. The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood

Media Literacy in the Digital Age

3:30–4:30 p.m. NPL, Commons Room

  • Jim McKairnes spent twenty five years working as a television executive, including Executive Vice-President of Program Planning and Scheduling at CBS. He served as an endowed chair in the media department at Temple University before returning to his home state of Tennessee. McKairnes is a part-time professor at Nashville Film Institute, and maintains a media consulting business. 103 Ways to Get Into TV

Saturday, October 15

The Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography: Images from Ferguson

3:00–4:00 p.m. NPL, 3rd Floor Program Room

Robert Cohen a community journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, can be found in your children’s schools, at parades, in restaurants, on baseball fields, or wherever a story about St. Louisians needs to be told. Cohen’s images of unrest following the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri were part of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography awarded to the photo staff. He has twice also been a finalist for the prize. A graduate of the University of Texas-Austin, he began his career at the tiny Sun-Tattler newspaper in Hollywood, Florida.
David Carson is a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 2009, he was part of a Pulitzer Prize finalist team for coverage of the Kirkwood City Hall shootings. He was named the National Press Photographers Association Region 7 Photographer of the Year in 2011, 2009 and 2007.

Top of Their Game: The Pulitzer Prize in Journalism

4:00–5:30 p.m. NPL, Special Collections Room

  • Chris Hamby is a reporter for Buzzfeed. While a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, he received the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for his series, Breathless and Burdened, describing how the coal mining industry beat back miners’ claims for black lung health benefits.
  • Hank Klibanoff teaches nonfiction writing, history and ethics at Emory University in Atlanta, a position he took after a 36 year run as a newspaper reporter and editor in Mississippi, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta. He is co-author, with Gene Roberts, of The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history in 2007. Klibanoff serves as director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory University (coldcases.emory. edu), for which undergraduates are examining Georgia and Southern history through the prism of unsolved or unpunished racially motivated murders that occurred during the modern civil rights era. The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation
  • James Squires served as editor and executive vice-president of the Chicago Tribune, which under his tenure won nine Pulitzer Prizes. He has served as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and held the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence at Middle Tennessee State University. He owns Two Buck Farms in Kentucky, which has bred multiple champions, including the 2001 Kentucky Derby winner, Monarchos. He has published several books. West End

Sunday, October 16 Profiles Tennessee Pulitzer Winners in Literature

12:00–1:00 p.m. LP Room 12

  • Adam Ross lives in Nashville with his wife and two daughters. His debut novel, Mr. Peanut, a 2010 New York Times Notable Book, was also named one of the best books of the year by the New Yorker, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New Republic, and the Economist. Ladies and Gentlemen, his short story collection, was included in Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of 2011. His nonfiction has been published in the New York Times Book Review, the Daily Beast, the Wall Street Journal, Poets & Writers, GQ, and the Nashville Scene. His fiction has appeared in the Carolina Quarterly and FiveChapters. Ladies and Gentlemen
  • Kate Daniels is the author of three previous collections of poetry, including Four Testimonies. An associate professor of English at Vanderbilt University, she is the recipient of the Hanes Award for Poetry from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and lives in Nashville, Tennessee. A Walk in Victoria’s Secret: Poems
  • Ed Tarkington received a BA from Furman University, an MA from the University of Virginia, and a PhD from the Graduate Creative Writing Program at Florida State. A frequent contributor to, his articles, essays, and stories have appeared in Nashville Scene, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Post Road, the Pittsburgh Quarterly, the Southeast Review, and elsewhere. A native of Central Virginia, he lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Only Love Can Break Your Heart: A Novel
  • Bobby Rogers won the annual 2009 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize Competition from the University of Pittsburgh Press. He is a professor of English at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the Witter-Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress. Paper Anniversary

Pulitzer Music Performance: Tempest Fantasy by Paul Morevic

1:00–2:00 p.m. NPL auditorium
Melissa Rose has a 30-year career partnering with instrumentalists and singers in concerts throughout the United States and at venues in Argentina, Malta, Santorini and Russia. She’s a sought- after collaborative pianist whom critics describe as “powerfully musical” (Kansas City Star) and “an exceptional partner” (

Studio Tenn presents The Glass Menagerie

2:00–3:00 p.m. Artober Stage

Studio Tenn is a professional regional theatre company and a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Franklin, Tennessee. Its programming centers around innovative, custom-designed presentations of classic plays and musicals as well as an original “Legacy” series of theatrical concerts celebrating the work of time-honored musicians.

The Pulitzer Prize in History: Annette Gordon-Reed

3:00–4:00 p.m. NPL, Conference 1AB
Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a professor in history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. She won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. She is also the author of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy and her most recent book, co-authored with Peter S. Onuf, is Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination.