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Chapter 16 highlights Tennessee authors, talks Barbie with Rheta Grimsley Johnson

Burgeoning online journal Chapter 16 certainly stays busy highlighting the wealth of Tennessee’s literary offerings. Launched in October 2009 by Humanities Tennessee, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Chapter 16 covers books, authors, and literary events within the state.

Margaret Renkl, book editor of Chapter 16, noted the motivating factors behind the journal’s foundation. “The idea for Chapter 16 arose in response to the continued erosion of books coverage in the mainstream media,” she said. “All over the state, newspapers have been shuttering their book pages, and the folks at Humanities Tennessee came up with the idea of starting a web site that would feature book reviews, author interviews, excerpts from works in progress by writers in the state, and all manner of community literary events.”

Chapter 16 also publishes original poems and essays and will soon launch a database of Tennessee authors, including biographies and links to other sources online. The journal covers a broad range of Tennessee authors, including those who’ve only lived in Tennessee briefly, as well as visiting authors appearing in the state.

In advance of her May 4 event at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Memphis, former Commercial Appeal columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson sat down with Chapter 16 to discuss life and love, newspapers and literature, and her newly published memoir Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming.

Read the full interview at Chapter 16.

Enchanted Evening Barbie is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online retailer.