static1.squarespaceHarrison Scott Key describes his memoir The World’s Largest Man as “a true story about what it’s like to be related to insane people from Mississippi.”  “As a boy, the author was partial to sock puppets, calligraphy, and poems tapped out on an electric typewriter.  Even so, “Pop” attempted to teach his son all the necessary outdoor skills so important to a growing boy, including contact sports, fishing, fighting, and [hunting]…Those were the pertinent and suitable activities for boys coming of age in the environs of Coldwater, Mississippi… Consistently seasoned with laughs, this memoir is adroitly warm and deep when it is called for,” writes Kirkus Review.  

static1.squarespaceHarrison answered a few questions before coming to Nashville for the Southern Festival of Books.

What do you like to do on a rainy Saturday?

If it’s raining hard, I like to watch my children wander the house with sofa cushions looking for shelter.

What household chore do you secretly enjoy?


What was your favorite book as a child?

No Exit

Did you ever read books you weren’t supposed to?

As I write in my recent memoir, I often read books in places where reading was discouraged, such as church and school.

How old were you when you decided to be a writer?

I have to decide every day.

What is the first story you wrote, and at what age?

It was probably gratuitous homework, and I probably mocked the whole enterprise by writing something inappropriate that called into question the very pedagogy of the assignment.

Who are some of your favorite authors (no more than 3)?

Jack Handey, Flannery O’Connor, Anthony Lane, King David the Anointed of the Tribe of Judah

What are your some of your favorite books (no more than 3)?

A Confederacy of Dunces (John Kennedy Toole), Nobody’s Perfect (Anthony Lane), Dispatches (Michael Herr)

What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?

Lied to my internist about the recent appearance of certain moles

Where do you live, and what do you like most about it?

I live in Savannah, Georgia, and what I like most about it is that’s where all my things are.

What is your favorite hobby?

Being right about everything during conversations with my wife and other superiors

Tell us about your pet…

I have a cat with a broken leg.

Do you love games, or not so much?

My family used to have this game we called “Let’s Throw the Cat” but we don’t play it much anymore.

Any game you especially love or hate?

I hate Monopoly and anyone who likes Monopoly is my enemy.

What did you learn in college, if anything?

The fact of humankind’s total depravity

Who or what makes you want to scream?


What do you worry about?

More questionnaires in the future

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You can hear Harrison Scott Key on Saturday, October 10, 2:30-3:30 pm in the Commons Room, Nashville Public Library.

You can also see him compete in the Second Annual Literary Death Match on Saturday night at 8 pm at War Memorial Auditorium.  You’ll recall that Adam Ross took home last year’s top prize in a bloody contest.  This year promises more gory fun!


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