Hometown Challenge


My Hometown- A challenge 

 I am from Knoxville, TN, right outside the Smoky Mountains. I have visited and lived lots of other places, but once I can see those Mtns. on the horizon, I feel like I’m home. It’s hard to explain, but just seeing them every day somehow makes life better. In the last year, we’ve moved back. It’s been an interesting ride, and some days I wonder why, or if we’ll stay.

Either way, I know that this little bit of geography will always hold a special spot in my heart. That said, I thought I’d take a moment and introduce some authors who hail from this spot, or who lived here while they wrote. It’s an eclectic group for such a bitty place.

1. Cormac McCarthy- This gentleman was born in Sevierville and grew up in Knoxville/surrounding areas. One of his novels, Suttree, is set in Knoxville. The Road won the Pulitzer, and several of his other novels have been made into movies. (All the Pretty Horses)

2. James Agee- Born in the shadow of the UT campus (Fort Sander’s area for locals), his autobiographical novel A Death in the Family also won the Pulitzer. Lots of period place references.

3. William M. Bass- This is the forensic anthropoligist behind the Body Farm. Yes, it’s a real place, and there are dead bodies under Neyland Stadium. In addition to the countless academic papers he has published, he co-authors a series of mysteries under the name Jefferson Bass. While not actually born in Knoxville, he claims it as his hometown now.

4. Nikki Giovanni- The famed poet, now a professor at Virginia Tech & Fisk, was born in Knoxville, but moved to Ohio as a child.

5. Darby Conley- The creator of the Get Fuzzy comic strip moved to Knoxville when he was 2 and went to Doyle HS in South Knoxville. Watch for Rob to wear a 1982 World’s Fair shirt.

6. Frances Hodgson Burnett- Creator of The Little Princess (and who I NEVER knew had ever left England) began her writing career here in Knoxville, and married a Knoxville native (Mr. Burnett). Who knew? Eventually, she earned enough to move back to Europe though and never returned to TN.

7. Lowell Cunningham- A.k.a the guy who made up Men in Black. I love those movies. I guess I need to read the comics some day.

8. Alex Haley- author of Roots is from here (Norris, but close enough). It’s an interesting little list.

SO- here’s my challenge to you: Find an author from your hometown, or one who lived in your hometown for a significant amount of time. Read something by them. Bonus points if it’s someone you haven’t read, or who you haven’t read in forever. Comment and tell me who it is, then when you finish, tell us what you thought, or blog about it and let us all know.

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One Comment on “Hometown Challenge”

  1. I’ll start- I just read The Road, but I’m not going to count that one. I read “A Death in the Family” way back when, but forgot most of it…I think either “Suttree” or a Jefferson Bass book will be what I go with.


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