Tag: The Big Read

A Conversation with Linda Parsons

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.


Untitled-13“Being in exile helped me discover myself,” Linda Parsons told me one Saturday morning at Panera Bread. Linda was born in Nashville, but her family moved to Wisconsin for her high school years. Attending high school so far away from where she was raised highlighted what it was “to be Southern” and helped her develop her own streak of independence. She eventually migrated back South to Knoxville where she earned a BA and MA in English from the University of Tennessee. Along this path she discovered she wanted to be a writer. Read more →

Talking with Ramon DeGennaro

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.


met Ray DeGennaro over coffee at Panera at lunch time on a nice, almost Spring day. Ray had just come from teaching his Introduction to Finance course at the University of Tennessee. He felt that talking to over 200 students in one of UT’s big lecture halls had strained his voice a bit. Our conversation began with me wondering how he chosen his particular career. Read more →

The Big Read In Knoxville

By Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



Ernest Gaines’ novel A Lesson Before Dying (see book review in this issue) has been chosen to celebrate The Big Read in Knoxville, February 5 through March 13, 2016. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, “The Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.” Coordinated by the Knox County Public Library and many community partners, “The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences.” A Reader’s and Teacher’s Guide to the novel is available at the NEA website: http://www.neabigread.org/books/lessonbeforedying/ Read more →