Thank you for your continued support of the ChattState Humanities Department's Writers@Work program.

We hope you enjoyed your visit with
Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly.
Mark your calendars for April 6-10, 2020, when we will host Daniel Wallace in support of his novel Big Fish.


All event times eastern


An Evening at The Princess
The Princess Theatre in South Pittsburg

APRIL 8th, 6:00 pm EST

Visit the historic and charming Princess Theatre in South Pittsburg for the opening night of Writers@Work. Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly will read from The Tilted World,discuss their lives as writers, and answer questions from the audience. Afterwards, linger in the lobby to have your book signed.



A Night at the Museum at Hunter Museum of American Art

APRIL 9th, 6:00 PM EST

Enjoy beautiful views of the Tennessee River from the lobby of the Hunter Museum during this reading by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. Join us at 5:15pm for a self-guided gallery walk focused on pieces of American art that share themes relevant tothe authors’ novel. Drift back to the lobby by 6:00pm, when Franklin and Fennelly will read, discuss writing The Tilted World together, and answer audience questions. Get your books signed during the hors d’oeuvres and dessert reception.  



SouthBound, featuring Beth Ann Fennelly, offered in partnership with Southern Lit Alliance and Star Line Books at Star Line Books


Stop in downtown at Chattanooga’s only independent bookstore for light refreshments and an intimate gathering with Mississippi’s Poet Laureate, Beth Ann Fennelly. After hearing a few choice bits from her newest collection, Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, stick around to chat and get your copy signed.

Register for this event at as seating is limited.



ChattState Chautauqua: Moonshine, Marriage, and Mississippi with Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly at Chattanooga State Community College - Humanities Theatre

April 11th, 2:00 PM EST

Come find out why Tom Franklin says Beth Ann Fennelly’s fingerprints are all over everything he’s written since 1994. The couple will read, discuss their lives as writers, and answer questions from attendees.

Find more information at:



Inside the Minds of Franklin and Fennelly: The Behind-the-Writer Interview at Chattanooga State Community College - Humanities Theatre

APRIL 11th, 7:00 PM EST

Join us for Writers@Work’s annual interview night. This year, ChattState English Professor Erica Lux will interview Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly about their collaboration on The Tilted World, their lives as Southern writers, and what their writing process looks like. As always, bring your questions for the authors and your books for the signing. Dessert reception to follow.


History of Writers @ Work

In 2011, the Chattanooga State Community College Humanities Department founded Writers @ Work (W@W) to enhance the practice of literary analysis in its Composition II classes through the reading of a common novel with a focus on Southern culture and people. It quickly transformed into an annual arts experience that touches the lives of countless people in the greater Chattanooga area.

W@W chooses Southern authors whose works center on life in this region, giving participants a new understanding and appreciation for the culture and arts offered in the South, in their own city, and through the community college that serves it. In a media-driven world that shows a limited, and often stereotyped, view of the South, W@W actively works to showcase and celebrate the diversity and rich culture of the Southern people.

Since its beginnings, W@W has expanded to provide more opportunities for public interaction with visiting authors through dynamic events that are always free to attendees. These events take place in various spotlight locations across the city such as the Chattanooga Aquarium, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, and the Hunter Museum of American Art, where the community can interact with the authors in settings that highlight the best of Chattanooga.


Over the last Seven years, W@W has showcased the following authors
and their works:

2012 - Terry Kay’s To Dance With the White Dog

2013 - Ishmael Reed’s New and Collected Poems

2014 - Jill McCorkle’s Creatures of Habit

2015 - Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’ and Lila Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom: A Memoir in  Black and White

2016 - Ron Rash’s Serena and selected poems from Robert Morgan

2017 - Tayari Jones's Silver Sparrow

2018 - George Singleton’s The Half-Mammals of Dixie

2019 - Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly’s The Tilted World

Tom Franklin

Tom Franklin was born in Dickinson, Alabama, a town of about 400 people. As a non-hunter in a hunting family, Franklin spent his childhood writing, drawing, and reading. After moving to Mobile to attend college, Franklin recalls receiving such low marks that his father decided to stop paying his college tuition. To pay for his own schooling, Franklin worked a variety of night jobs including a stint cleaning up hazardous waste. It was during this time that he eventually discovered creative writing classes.


Upon graduating from the University of South Alabama, Franklin went on to earn his Master of Fine Arts from The University of Arkansas, where he met his wife, poet and author Beth Ann Fennelly. He is the recipient of a variety of literary accolades including the Edgar Award, the Golden Dagger Award for Best Novel (UK), the LA Times Book Prize for Best Mystery or Thriller, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001. Franklin’s 2011 New York Times bestselling novel, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, has received critical acclaim, with the Seattle Times describing the novel as “a powerful literary thriller” and the Los Angeles Times stating that the novel is “[a] wondrous reading pleasure.” Franklin is also the author of Smonk (2006) and Hell at the Breach (2003), as well as a collection of short stories entitled Poachers (1999). He currently teaches in the University of Mississippi's MFA program.

Franklin co-authored The Tilted World with his wife, Beth Ann Fennelly, in 2013. Set in 1927, the novel follows federal revenuer agent Ted Ingersol as he and his partner Ham Johnson attempt to locate two missing agents in the town of Hobnob, Mississippi. After finding an abandoned baby at the scene of a shootout, Ingersol places the child with a woman named Dixie Clay, not knowing that she will eventually help him to unravel the secrets of sabotage and murder that inhabit the town. The Seattle Times describes the novel as “a swift, soulful mix of love story and crime saga…”, declaring it “literary crime fiction of the highest order.”

I write about the South because it’s what I know, where I’m from. Also, I love it, love the strangenesses of it, the contradictions, the landscape, the dark history.

Beth Ann Fennelly

Beth Ann Fennelly was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois, just north of Chicago. From a young age, Fennelly wanted to become an actor, but after a lackluster performance while in college at Notre Dame, she enrolled in a poetry workshop. This had a profound influence on her, and in reference to that workshop, Fennelly has stated, “I remember feeling like all my life I’d wanted to swim, but I hadn’t known that until I was thrown into the water.”



After graduating from the University of Notre Dame, Fennelly spent time teaching English in a coal-mining town along the Czech/Polish border. She later earned her MFA from the University of Arkansas where she was a Lily Peter Fellow. She then went on to teach at the University of Wisconsin, as well as Knox College, before moving to the University of Mississippi, where she is currently a professor and the Director of the MFA Program. Fennelly has received many awards and honors for her writing, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, United States Artists, and the Illinois and Mississippi Arts Councils. She has also received a Pushcart Prize, the Wood Award from The Carolina Quarterly, and won The Black Warrior ReviewContest. Perhaps her highest honor to date came in 2016 when she was named the Poet Laureate of Mississippi, a position she still holds.  


Fennelly’s work includes three collections of poetry: Open House (2002), Tender Hooks(2004), and Unmentionables(2008). Fennelly also works in prose, authoring Great with Child: Letters to a Young Mother (2007) and co-authoring The Tilted World(2013) with her husband and fellow-writer, Tom Franklin. The Tilted World was released to much critical acclaim and was named the Southern Booksellers Association Okra Pick, the LibraryReads pick, and UncutMagazine’sBest Books of 2013. Fennelly’s latest book, Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs (2017), collects a variety of flash pieces, many of which have also appeared in well-respected national publications. Fennelly is currently writing a novel. 

It seems that every writing project I’ve taken on is never with foresight or part of a career strategy.


Kind of Dancing:

An Interview with Tom Franklin & Beth Ann Fennelly

William Boyle sits down his former teachers, novelist Tom Franklin and poet Beth Ann Fennelly, whose first co-authored novel, The Tilted World, is out this week from William Morrow. The three discuss story origins, historical research, and the dance of literary collaboration (and marriage).

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