William Isom II photo
Performers at the Carpetbag Theatre’s recent Homecoming Weekend Celebration.
Knoxville Writer's Guild
The Knoxville Writers’ Guild recently celebrated the centennial of native son James Agee, a writer and movie reviewer best known for his novel, A Death in the Family.
Agee grew up in Knoxville. Bonny Millard, current president of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, makes clear that the group is determined to carry on the tradition of encouraging great writing and shepherding writers.
The Guild started in the early 1990s with a small group of writers who wanted regular encouragement and critiques of their work. It has grown into a thriving non-profit organization which holds monthly meetings and sponsors a number of annual literary contests. The guild reaches out well beyond the city into small towns in east Tennessee. Millard herself lives in Maryville, Tenn. An annual membership in the guild is $25 for adults. A writer can join the guild and find schedules for regular critique groups for any genre from novels to poetry. The monthly meetings feature outstanding regional writers and readings by members or invited guests.
Iris Press in Oak Ridge, Tenn., owned by guild member Bob Cumming, published a chapbook of poems written by the guild’s poetry group in the fall of 2009. The collection, Bleeding Hearts, and can be purchased at Carpe Librum Booksellers at 5113A Kingston Pike in Knoxville.
To learn more about winners of the past year’s literary contests, go to http://blogs.knoxlib.org. The podcast was produced by the Knott County Public Library.
For more information on events, regular meetings, literary contests and schedules for writers’ groups, go to www.knoxvillewritersguild.org
This ensemble touring company based in Knoxville, Tenn., is about to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Executive and artistic director Linda Parris-Bailey has been with the theatre almost since its inception in 1969. The company develops all of its own material, although they do invite guest artists to join them from time to time. The company has its offices and rehearsal space at the Black Box Theatre on Gay Street in Knoxville. This year, they will be hosting the National Performance Network with 300 artists participating from throughout the country. On Dec. 11 and 12, performances will be open to the public at the Bijou Theatre in downtown Knoxville.
The Carpetbag Theatre hosts an open mike event called “Café Noir” on the first Friday of every month at their Black Box Theatre. The event includes opportunities for dance, music, and the spoken word. Parris-Bailey is a playwright, but she emphasizes that this is a collaborative ensemble of five to seven people whose average stay with the company is 16 years. Their productions aim is to give artistic voice to those who have been silenced. They work with the artists and residents in the communities where they perform to redefine the way we view culture.