Author! Author! benefit luncheon brings novelists, funds adult literacy

Author! Author! benefit luncheon brings novelists, funds adult literacy

Continuing its long-held “third Thursday of June” tradition, Author! Author!, an annual celebration of literacy and the written word, returns June 15.

The Adult Learning Center of Williamson County’s 13th annual benefit luncheon features authors Kelly Oliver, Dana Chamblee Carpenter and Michael J. Tucker.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author J.T. Ellison will emcee the two-hour event at Brentwood Country Club .

Registration begins at 11 a.m.

Established in 1986 as the Literacy Council of Williamson County, the Adult Learning Center continues to provide free programs that help adults develop reading, writing, conversation and math skills. Author! Author! is the ALC’s signature annual event and largest fundraiser.

“With Williamson County’s booming population, the need for our services grows too,” Executive Director Rita Dozier said. “But therein lies the struggle for non-profits like ours that serve one or more of the ‘hidden populations’ within our affluent and educated county. The need is not always visible, especially to those with the time or financial resources needed to help keep vital services like the ones we offer going.”

ALC’s staff and volunteers provide small group and one-on- one tutoring at ALC’s Franklin office and in spaces hosted by community partners. Other programs include on-site education at the Williamson County Jail and English as a Second Language conversation classes. Many adults have completed its high school equivalency (GED) program.

Kelly Oliver

On June 15, each author will share back stories regarding their works, the characters they create and personal anecdotes about the publishing process. Before and after the formal program and lunch, the authors will be available to meet guests and sign books. A limited number of each authors’ books will be available for sale.

Oliver, a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, has made a name for herself outside of academia as author of Jessica James mystery novels. Her Jessica James, Cowgirl Philosopher series moves between the Chicago area and Western Montana.

In addition to fiction, Oliver has authored 13 scholarly books, 10 anthologies, and over 100 articles, including work

Dana Chamblee Carpenter

on campus rape, reproductive technologies, women and the media, film noir, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Carpenter’s award-winning short fiction has appeared in The Arkansas Review, Jersey Devil Press, and Maypop. Her debut novel, Bohemian Gospel, won Killer Nashville’s 2014 Claymore Award and was published by Pegasus Books in 2015.

When she’s not writing, Carpenter can be found teaching college-level creative writing and American literature classes at Lipscomb University in Nashville, where she lives with her husband and two children.

Tucker’s third and most-recent novel, Summer Haze, is the coming of age story of three youths bound by creative talent

Michael J. Tucker

and friendship. Set in Nashville, the book examines the main characters’ struggle for success and their handling of fame followed by loss. It follows Tucker’s earlier novels, the critically acclaimed Aquarius Falling and Capricorn’s Collapse.

Ellison has authored of 17 critically acclaimed novels, including No One Knows, What Lies Behind, and All the Pretty Girls. In 2012, she joined forces with NYT-bestselling author Catherine Coulter to coauthor the “A Brit in the FBI” series. The fourth and latest book, The Devil’s Triangle, was released in March.

Following a career in Washington, D.C. that included working in the White House and the Department

J.T. Ellison

of Commerce, Ellison moved to Nashville where she began to research her hidden passions, forensics and crime, by working with the Metro Nashville Police Department and the FBI.

With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in 26 countries and 14 languages. She is also the author of multiple short stories.

Ellison’s interests go beyond writing books — she publishes them, too. In 2015, Ellison founded her own independent publishing house, Two Tales Press.

Also in 2015, Ellison was named a cohost of the Nashville literary television series A Word on Words, following the death of longtime host and respected journalist John Seigenthaler. The show won its first Emmy in 2017.

Author! Author! tickets are $50 ($30 is tax deductible). Members of local book clubs are encouraged to attend as a group and will be seated together. Please indicate the request via the online order form at

A large silent auction opens at 11 a.m. and will feature items donated by local businesses and services.

Of note is a private Oct. 5 luncheon with the featured authors and other special guests at Annette Valentine’s Brentwood home. Valentine founded and was the longtime owner of Valentine Interiors.

Four individual seats will be auctioned to the four highest bidders ($75 minimum).

For more information, visit or by call the ALC office at 615-224- 3471.

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