Archive for October, 2008

Smoke Signals Publishes Yazoo Blues Excerpt

Friday, October 31st, 2008 by Andrew

Smoke Signals, an online literary journal, recently published an excerpt from The Yazoo Blues. The Yazoo Blues is NewSouth author John Pritchard’s sequel to his critically acclaimed debut novella Junior Ray. Publishers Weekly awarded The Yazoo Blues a starred review, calling it “insightful” and “laugh-out-loud.”

Junior Ray Loveblood, one of the most outrageous and original personalities to appear in American literature in many years, returns in The Yazoo BluesHe relates dual stories, both that of a soldier slowly driven mad by the haunting countryside, and of Loveblood’s friend Mad Owens, whose search for existential love meets its greatest challenge in the arms of the stripper Money Scatters. Loveblood’s conclusions are hilarious, absurd, and at times intensely revealing. Equally profane and profound, the fictional narrator of Pritchard’s novel illuminates the complex stew of evolving race relations, failed economies, and corrupt politics that define much of the post-civil rights rural Deep South.

Smoke Signals is a quarterly online literary journal featuring fiction, essays, and reviews. Read an excerpt from The Yazoo Blues at Smoke Signals’ website.

The Yazoo Blues is available from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Mark Ethridge Delivers Virginia Commonwealth University Turpin Lecture

Monday, October 13th, 2008 by Andrew

NewSouth author Mark Ethridge recently visited Virginia Commonwealth University as a guest lecturer during the school’s annual Mass Communications Week.  Ethridge delivered the Turpin Lecture on Wednesday, October 9, where he talked about journalism and about his novel, Grievances.  Students and faculty heard Mark describe how he wanted to create a novel that provided a behind-the-scenes look at the newspaper industry.  Mark also talked about the state of print journalism and how he incorporated those ideas into his novel. 

In a VCU article, Judy VanSlyke Turk, Director of the School of Mass Communications at VCU, described Mark as a “perfect choice because of his connection to Richmond and professor Turpin.” The annual Turpin Lecture is named in honor of former professor Bill Turpin and, according to Turk, is designed to bring in speakers who are “successful media managers.”

Read VCU’s entire article about Mark’s visit, as well as a report from their Reporting 101 class.

Mark has been the president of Carolina Parenting, Inc. since 1990, and is also the former editor of The Charlotte Observer.  He directed The Charlotte Observer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigations of the textile industry and the PTL scandal involving Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Mark studied as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and was named a member of Esquire magazine’s inaugural class of “People Under 40 Who Are Changing America.” His work has appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide.

Grievances tells of journalist Matt Harper’s efforts to reveal the truth behind the twenty-year-old unsolved Civil Rights murder of a thirteen-year-old African-American boy. Grievances is a suspense-filled story of newspapers, murder, and of redemption–for a small Southern town and for Matt Harper. Transcendent, the feature film subsidiary of Film House, recently optioned Grievances for a feature film, and Ethridge is currently working with the company on adapting the screenplay.

Grievances is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Roger Reid Introduces New Book Space in Huntsville, Alabama

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Roger Reid launched his new young adult mystery Space in a series of events in Huntsville, Alabama, home of the Marshall Space Flight Center that serves as the setting of this new mystery. The author’s alma mater, Davis Hills Middle School, gave the book a premier presentation on September 5, 2008.  Roger also presented at the Davidson U. S. Space and Rocket Center and the Huntsville Public Library, and was a guest speaker at Astronomy Day at the Conrad Swanson Observatory.

In an interview with the Huntsville Times, Roger spoke about creating his novels, which combine scientific knowledge with exciting adventure. Said the Times, “Roger recalled that, when his son was in the sixth grade, he noticed there were not a lot of books for kids set out in the natural world. So he created a fictional world with a setting ‘you can go out and touch.'”

Space features teen science wiz Jason Caldwell, the hero of Roger’s highly successful debut novel Longleaf. When Jason accompanies his dad on their annual astronomy retreat, he thinks spending time with his obnoxious friend Stephen will be bad enough. But soon Jason is recruited to help determine which of a group of gathered scientists killed Stephen’s father, and he finds himself stalked by the enigmatic Man in a Red Flannel Shirt. Author Rodman Philbrick praises Space as “exciting, suspenseful, and informative,” and Charles Ghigna, aka Father Goose, calls Space “an out-of-this-world good read.”

Space is available from NewSouth Books, Amazon , or from your favorite local or online book retailer.

Ted Dunagan Continues to Tour Region with A Yellow Watermelon

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Ted Dunagan continues his successful book tour across the South, with engagements taking him to South Carolina, southern Alabama, and throughout Georgia. Ted speaks at schools and libraries about his highly praised debut novel A Yellow Watermelon and about the writing process.

Darlington School Dean of Students Ken Wempe of Rome, Georgia, notes: “In discussing his book A Yellow Watermelon, Ted Dunagan brings with him all the flavor and juice–as well as a few seeds of wisdom–that you would expect from an authentic Southern writer. Dunagan, in a direct, twangy drawl, offers his experiences on the craft of writing, the process of publishing, and even reveals some of the secrets from his semi-autobiographical novel. Both A Yellow Watermelon and Mr. Dunagan himself are treats worth celebrating.”

Darlington School made A Yellow Watermelon required reading for their students, as have a number of schools across the region. The Grove Hill, Alabama, Arts Council designated the book as Clarke County’s “community read” for fall 2008.

A Yellow Watermelon, is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local and online book retailers.

Gerald Duff Interviewed; Fire Ants Reviewed by Ploughshares

Monday, October 6th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Max Arbus of Atlanta’s Voice of the Arts radio station 1690 AM recently interviewed author Gerald Duff (Fire Ants, Coasters) on the program Conversations. The topics they discussed included Southern literature as a distinct genre, racial stereotypes in fiction, and depictions of sexuality.

In the interview, Gerald discussed the special suitability of the short story genre to Southern fiction. He described the short story as “well-suited” for the presentation of the eccentric, off-beat characters typically employed by Southern authors. In addition, the short story allows the author to present a situation that may not be resolved. Gerald noted, “I often find myself having characters that are talking to each other from different perspectives, and they are never going to finally agree.”

Gerald also talked about the depiction of race in Southern fiction, saying, “You shouldn’t depend upon simplistic kinds of ways of presenting whites and blacks in the South interacting.” Rather, the portrayal in current fiction has become one of complex human interchange with less stereotying, a postive development, according to the author.

Listen to the full interview at the Voice of the Arts website.

Gerald’s book Fire Ants recently received a very positive review from Ploughshares magazine, which praised the collection for its diversity and the strength of the characterizations.  “What’s particularly impressive about the collection is its wide range of voices and settings,” reads the review, “and Duff’s ability to infuse wry humor into awkward moments, or into entire stories. … Fire Ants is a good addition to the Southern cannon, and will be enjoyed by anyone looking for an unexpected and satisfying read.”

Read the entire review at Ploughshares website.

Gerald Duff will be participating in the Kenyon Review Literary Festival in Gambier, Ohio, November 7-8, 2008.

Fire Ants is available from NewSouth Books, or your favorite local or online book retailer.