Music City has become a fantastic literary community. (Rarely is an author event not scheduled at Parnassus!) It’s an amazing time to be a reader in Nashville, so we've highlighted a few local authors you need to be reading, if you're not already.
1. Brad Thor
Known for writing the electrifying Scot Harvath series, Brad Thor moved to Nashville in 2014. In his series, Harvath, a former Navy Seal, is sent on off-the-book missions to eradicate terrorists who are a threat to America. Thor is known for writing “faction” in his series, meaning the reader can’t tell what is fact and what is fiction, particularly in regards to our military’s capabilities. Thor’s well- researched and thrilling books make him a top writer in his field. The 17th book in the series, Spy Master, comes out July 3.
2. Andrew Maraniss
New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss told the amazing story of Nashville native Perry Wallace’s time at Vanderbilt in Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South. The tale of the first black Southeastern Conference basketball player hit the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a young readers edition. The story does not sugar coat Wallace’s experience in the late 1960s. That’s why the young readers edition is an excellent book for middle and high schoolers, and Maraniss regularly makes school visits across the country to talk to students. He is currently a writer-in-residence at Vanderbilt University and writes for The Contributor as well.
3. Ruta Sepetys
Ruta Sepetys describes herself as a “seeker of lost stories.” She explores these lost stories with heart wrenching tales of historical fiction for young readers and adults. Her latest, Salt to the Sea, describes the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff during War World II, the deadliest nautical disaster in history. Sepetys' writing is fast-paced and piercing, and she tells stories that need to be remembered. She won the 2017 Carnegie Medal, and two of her books are currently being adapted into movies.
4. Caroline Randall Williams
Nashville native Caroline Randall Williams is best known for co-writing Soul Food Love: Healthy Recipes Inspired by One Hundred Years of Cooking in a Black Family with her mother, Alice Randall. The book went on to win an NAACP Image Award in 2016. Her debut book of poetry, Lucy Negro Redux, is currently being adapted for stage for the Nashville Ballet. The adaptation will debut next February with the score written by Grammy Award winner and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Rhiannon Giddens. Williams was most recently a writer-in-residence at Fisk University.
5. J.T. Ellison
Local writer J.T. Ellison has done it all. She’s worked in the White House, written bestselling books and she co-hosts an Emmy-award winning TV show. She co-writes the Brit in the FBI series with Catherine Coulter and authors domestic noir novels. I fell in love with her Lt. Taylor Jackson series that stars a Nashville detective. That led to a spin off about the medical examiner, Dr. Samantha Owens, that I absolutely devoured. Ellison is a master of weaving thrilling tales together. Her next book, Tear Me Apart, comes out in September.
6. Michael Bishop
For decades, Nashville author Michael Bishop has been on a hunt for a killer. In 1964, 18-year-old University of Tennessee freshman Paula Herring was killed in her Crieve Hall home. A man was quickly arrested and convicted of murder, but Bishop didn't think the case added up. With the help of some old police files, Bishop spent the last 20 years searching for the real killer. Along with tales of corruption, Bishop believes he has uncovered the true killer of Paula Herring in A Murder in Music City: Corruption, Scandal, and the Framing of an Innocent Man.