Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Southern Festival of Books: Hometown Heroes


SFB2015poster_CageFreeVisual_0Hometown heroes make Nashville proud at the Southern Festival this weekend!  Don’t miss the chance to support them at their panel discussions or under the tents with the booksellers.  Thank you, hometown heroes, for giving us books that sing.

Read on for tidbits and teasers from Don Winston, Nicki Pendleton Wood, Alice Randall, Caroline Randall Williams, Ed Tarkington, and Margaret Lazarus Dean (hometown broadly defined).

618EYSu88HLFrom Don Winston, a true Southern gentleman who hasn’t been ruined by Hollywood:

Is childhood or adulthood more fun, and why?
Childhood is overrated.  You’re always waiting for something to happen.

How old were you when you decided to be a writer?
I never decided.  I just wrote things.  And then more.

3ea16f_2f7d9331af5046cf91c0731d86407a29.jpg_srz_p_262_392_75_22_0.50_1.20_0Who are some of your favorite authors (no more than 3)?
John Cheever, Shirley Jackson, Ira Levin.

What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?
Worked as a room service waiter, night shift, at New York’s hottest hotel.

Where do you live, and what do you like most about it?
By the Hollywood sign.  It’s a little Mayberry, steps away from chaos.

Who or what makes you want to scream?

unnamed-16From Nicki Pendleton Wood, a terrific food writer, cookbook editor, and mammographer, “which makes me (as far as I can tell), a Venn diagram of one.”

My guilty pleasure…
Horseracing!  Mad for it all: the beautiful creatures, the thrill, the thundering hooves and flying turf.

The oddest thing I’ve ever done…
Get out of a van after a terrible wreck, swallow a handful of narcotics and ride a bike 435 miles with broken ribs.

NPW_headshot_itll_doSomething about me that no one knows….
I’m really good at calculating odds.  I’m doing it in my head all the time.

My favorite book as a child…
Mr. Widdle and the Sea Breeze.  Strange and wonderful.

How old were you when you realized you wanted to be a writer (or it was pretty close to that)…
I was 8 when I decided I wanted to be an editor, and 13 when I decided to be a restaurant reviewer.

From Alice Randall, a novelist, country song writer, Vanderbilt professor, and food activist who will undoubtedly keep surprising us with everything she can think of and do:

Unknown-1What do you like to do on a rainy Saturday?
Work on my new book, Zagging with Ziggy.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Reading a murder mystery a bubble bath with a glass of red wine.

Alice RandallWhat household chore do you secretly enjoy?
Ironing napkins.

What was your favorite book as a child?
Wuthering Heights

What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?
Paddled the frigid Pacific to peer inside an iceberg.


51KLkZghZjLFrom Caroline Randall Williams, rising star, taking a study break from the MFA program at the University of Mississippi to share her new book of poetry at the Festival:

What do you like to do on a rainy Saturday?
Fix a mint julep, and listen.

Childhood or adulthood?
Adulthood; it comes with cocktails.  And perspective.

books_lucy_002_23343060_ver1.0_640_480Did you ever read books you weren’t supposed to?
Of course I did.  Trashy romance novels….in middle school….

What was the first story you wrote, and at what age?
My mother transcribed my early childhood dreams – do those count?

What are some of your favorite books?
The Color Purple, Brideshead Revisited, and The Riverside Shakespeare.

Tarkington_OnlyLove_Jkt_Spine.inddFrom Ed Tarkington, current Montgomery Bell Academy teacher, wrestling coach, and writer who wins the prize for most evocative debut novel title:

What was your favorite book as a child?
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Who are some of your favorite authors (no more than 3)?
John Irving, Walker Percy, Herman Melville

Tarkington_Ed_bodyWhat are your some of your favorite books (no more than 3)?
The World According to Garp, The Moviegoer, The Goldfinch

Who or what makes you want to scream?
Donald Trump

What brings you contentment?
my children

What do you worry about?
my children!

From Margaret Lazarus Dean, a professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville who might be the only author ever featured in Ladies Home Journal and Aviation Weekly simultaneously:

91vNobn7V7L-1What household chore do you secretly enjoy?
It’s no secret that I’m amazing at laundry.

Is childhood or adulthood more fun, and why?
Adulthood has all the good parties.

What is the most unusual thing you have ever done?
I once crawled out a window and shimmied down a drainpipe to get away when my house was broken into.

Author Margaret Lazarus.Do you love games, or not so much? Any game you especially love or hate?
I love games that involve words, hate games that involve coordination.

What did you learn in college, if anything?
Beer before liquor, never sicker.




  1. Thank you so much Bacon for keeping me informed and in touch with all of this talent.

  2. Agree with Betsy- such an interesting and talented group!!

  3. So excited for festival to being tomorrow!!! Thank you for this blog Jennifer, & I hope I get to see you over the weekend at the festival.

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