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Southern Voices Guests 2016

Erik Larson

Erik Larson is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin; Thunderstruck; Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time and the Deadliest Hurricane in History; The Devil in the White City and most recently Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which hit #1 on the Times list soon after its launch.

Known for his thoroughly researched, highly compelling and exceedingly dramatic storytelling, Erik Larson turns a work of nonfiction into an engrossing page turner. He appeals to all types of readers, from scholarly historians to those who seek simple entertainment. Perhaps this is the formula of success that landed The Devil in the White City a combined total of five years on the Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists, as well as a movie deal with Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Paramount Pictures.

Larson's research has taken him to far-flung locales, and down innumerable strange alleys. For example, he traveled to London, Munich, Rome, Nova Scotia and Cape Cod during his research for his 2006 bestseller, Thunderstruck, as he sought to chronicle the strange intersection in the careers of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the wireless, and Hawley Harvey Crippen, England’s second most famous murderer.

In addition to his popularity, Larson has received much critical success, including an Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing and a finalist for the National Book Award. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and three daughters.

Friday, February 26 at 7pm

Natalie Baszile

Natalie Baszile is the debut author of Queen Sugar, the story of a strong-willed, African-American widow and mother who inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. A moving tale involving race relations in the contemporary South, Queen Sugar is set to be adapted for television by Ava Duvernay for Oprah’s television network. Baszile has an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. She currently lives in San Francisco, California.

Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin

Beth Ann Fennelly has penned three books of poetry including Tender Hooks, Unmentionables and Open House, which won her multiple prizes and critical claim. Most recently, she collaborated with her husband Tom Franklin on a novel, The Tilted World, set during the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River. Fennelly has taught poetry and nonfiction at the University of Mississippi since 2001, where she also directs the MFA program. She’s won several teaching awards including Outstanding Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year and the University of Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year.

A native of Dickinson, Alabama, Tom Franklin’s work has been heralded as both powerful and eloquent, drawing comparisons to the likes of William Faulkner. He is the author of five books, including Hell at the Breach, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and most recently, The Tilted World, which he co-authored with his wife Beth Ann Fennelly. The winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award, Franklin currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi.

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson is the bestselling author of the popular and critically acclaimed series, Longmire, which serves as the basis for the hit A&E series of the same name. Titles from the popular series have won many awards, such as the Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year for Death Without Company. Dark Horse was named a Publisher’s Weekly best book of the year in 2008 and Hell is Empty was named Best Mystery of the Year by Library Journal. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

Jamie Mason

Jamie Mason has written two novels including Three Graves Full and most recently, Monday’s Lie, a gripping psychological thriller surrounding the marriage of a seemingly conventional couple. Compared to Gillian Flynn and the Coen brothers, Mason is known for her “Hitchcockian menace.” Though Mason considers herself a veteran nomad, she currently lives in the mountains of western North Carolina. In addition to writing, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, NFL football, coffee and whiskey.

Laura Lane McNeal

A native of New Orleans, Laura Lane McNeal spent most of her career in advertising, but in 2005, when the devastation of Hurricane Katrina left her rebuilding her life, she decided to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a writer. As a result, her debut novel, Dollbaby, was born. A coming-of-age novel set in civil rights-era New Orleans, Dollbaby was chosen as a 2015 SIBA Book Award finalist and has received wide critical acclaim and comparisons to Sue Monk Kidd, Pat Conroy and Kathryn Stockett.

Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor’s newest released thriller, Hollow Man, has been called “as sharp and slick as a switchblade” by Lee Child. Told from the viewpoint of the most unreliable of narrators, a psychopath, Hollow Man is psychological storytelling at its best. Both an Englishman and Texan, Assistant District Attorney and writer, Pryor is also the author of five Hugo Marston mysteries, which follow the US Embassy’s Chief of Security as he solves crimes on the streets of Paris. Pryor resides in Austin, Texas.

Heart of Dixie Rug Bee