I have the privilege of moderating a panel this Friday, October 10th at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee. Entitled “Great Transformations: Debut Novels,” the panel features two amazing stories. I hope you’ll join us at 3:30 p.m. CT in Room 30 of the Legislative Plaza.
Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile tells the story of a Los Angeles single mom who inherits a neglected 800-acre sugarcane farm in rural Louisiana. Protagonist Charley Bordelon’s “great transformation” relies on hard work and fellowship with a community of people she’s only met at family reunions. Baszile’s own family history inspired Queen Sugar.
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi examines the ancient Afghan custom of bacha posh–a girl dressed and accepted by everyone as a boy. Living in Kabul in 2007, Young Rahima is one of five sisters whose only hope of going to school and leaving the house is to dress as a boy until she is of marriageable age. Hashimi’s story is based on her family’s Afghan heritage.
I’m binge-reading these books before the panel on Friday, which is an easy assignment. Charley and Rahima’s narratives are captivating and will make for a great discussion. Again, the Great Transformations panel takes place this Friday, October 10th at 3:30 p.m. CT. Friday is the first day of the 26th Annual Southern Festival of Books. To view the complete list of sessions, visit this page. You can also follow @SoFestofBooks on Twitter or visit the festival’s Facebook page for more information.