Lauren Theuerkauf

Lauren joins us from Freeburg, Illinois. On why she joined the Nashville chapter, “I chose Nashville because as a child, my family used to vacation there all the time. Some of my favorite childhood memories come from Tennessee. I also love how Nashville embodies the true spirit of southern hospitality. Everyone is so kind and friendly. I love it!” 

Lauren’s book Priceless Penny chronicles one dog’s amazing journey from lonely stray to pampered pooch. Penny was abandoned by her previous owners and left to roam the streets of California alone. Soon, she was taken to a local high-kill shelter. Penny’s life was in great danger as her unique looks made her undesirable in the eyes of would-be adopters. Will Penny find someone who loves her just the way that she is? Penny has her own website:

Welcome to WNBA-Nashville, Lauren! 

Meet a Member: Beth Frerking

Beth Frerking

As a high-school librarian, connecting young people with books and supporting literacy is my professional mission. As a teacher and then a librarian, I’ve been fortunate to work with students from the North Slope of Alaska to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Like travel, good books challenge, excite, and inspire curiosity. These days, I’m a librarian at Clarksville High School where I continue to find it rewarding to work with the next generation of readers. I also find it tremendously reassuring that there are lots of them.

I consider myself lucky to live in such a great city for readers. Until I lived in Nashville I would have thought to myself, that’s an odd statement–reading can be done anywhere.  That’s true, but it is certainly invigorating to be a part of a great reading community. About five or six years ago, I picked up a WNBA brochure in the public library, thought it sounded interesting, and attended my first meeting. Now each fall I love hearing about the authors coming to the Southern Festival of Books, and the Spring Picks Program is always a treat. Each April I come away armed with my summer reading list, ready to head into summer. It is fantastic to hear what so many smart, well-read women are reading. So many brains to pick!

Through WNBA, I’ve also enjoyed the opportunity to be a reader for the Great Group Reads list. Each October, WNBA sponsors National Reading Group Month, which celebrates the joy of shared reading, and publishes the Great Group Reads list. The 2016 list can be found here: Keep your eyes open for the 2017 list. It will be out in time for this October’s celebration.

Being involved with WNBA has allowed me to help support literacy in my community. As WNBA’s mission states, we are about promoting reading and supporting literacy, and connecting the book community. I look forward to serving as president in 2018-19.

Meet Our Nashville Chapter President

Greetings! 2017 is off to a great start, and it promises to be a special year for WNBA as we celebrate our 100th anniversary in November. There will be celebrations by all our chapters throughout the year, culminating in a weekend event in New York City, where the first chapter was formed.

Nashville’s Celebration will be in November and December 2017 at our regular meetings—plans are underway for fabulous programs celebrating women and the written word. Stay tuned for more information.

In the meantime, plan to join us the first Thursday of the month for fellowship with other book lovers, including writers, book professionals, and readers, along with a short program related to books. A list of upcoming programs can be found here on our website. Please make plans to join us.

My involvement with WNBA began in 1991 when I visited with longtime WNBA member Carolyn Wilson to discuss a career change to library sciences. Even though I ultimately went in a different direction (nonprofit administration), Carolyn emailed me several months later and recruited me to manage the Signing Colonnade for the Southern Festival of Books. And the rest is history—I managed the area for many years but I didn’t actually join WNBA until I began working for Humanities Tennessee in the early 2000s.

I have been an avid reader from the time I was a small child. I majored in English in college and used my writing skills when I entered the fundraising field. I am one of those WNBA members who joined because I am a reader and I love learning about books. Every meeting I have an opportunity to find out what others are reading and I invariably come away with two to three new books on my to-read list.

Members are the lifeblood of WNBA and each and every member, whether in the book industry or not, is a reader—that’s what I love about it.

Here’s to an outstanding 2017 filled with lots of great books and interactions with one another.

–Barbie Chadwick, WNBA-Nashville President

Dr. Veera S. Rajaratnam – Featured Poet at Scarritt Bennett February 23

Dr. Veera S. Rajaratnam has an exhibition, “Portraits, Poetry & Paintings,” at the Williamson County Public Library through January 31. In addition, she will be featured at the Poet’s Corner at Scarritt Bennett on February 23 at 7 p.m. Dr. Rajaratnam will be reading from her book Joy of Being

Amy Lyles Wilson Teaching “Telling Your Story” Class

WNBA member Amy Lyles Wilson, a trained Amherst Writers and Artists facilitator and longtime workshop leader; and USN parent and writer Jessie Rosenblum will lead a two-night class at the University School of Nashville’s Evening Classes. The class, “Telling Your Story,” is designed to help the participants get their stories on paper and will be held on two consecutive Thursdays – March 2 and 9. Registration is being accepted at:

Alana White’s Book Signing at Parnassus January 22

WNBA member Alana White is celebrating the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition of Come Next Spring with a signing at Parnassus Books in Nashville on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.  “Alana White’s classic novel Come Next Spring is as fresh and moving as when I first read it. Its mountain setting is evocative and faithfully rendered, and its theme—a lively adolescent girl’s difficulty accepting inevitable change in her life—is even more important today. Salina will steal a piece of your heart.”  —LEE SMITH, Bestselling Author of Fair and Tender Ladies

Member Pat Ballard’s Story in New Chicken Soup for the Soul

chicken-soup-for-the-soulWNBA Nashville member Pat Ballard is one of 101 contributors to the new book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Curvy & Confident. This is 373 pages of inspiring personal stories of women & men who have learned to accept and love their larger bodies, or the bodies of someone they love. The title will be released on December 27, 2016.

Dana Carpenter Book Signing

bohemian-gospelThe Who Picked This Book? Club is happy to have WNBA-Nashville member Dana Carpenter, Associate Professor of English, join us on November 8 at 3:30 in Beaman 209 at Lipscomb University to talk about her novel Bohemian Gospel. Stick around afterwards for a reception and book signing at 5:00 p.m., with more opportunities to hear from Dr. Carpenter about this award-winning work.
Thirteenth-century Bohemia is a dangerous place for a girl, especially one as odd as MOUSE, born with unnatural senses and an uncanny intellect. Some call her a witch. Some call her angel. Mouse doesn’t know what—or who—she is, but she means to find out.
Set against the historical reign of the Golden and Iron King, Bohemian Gospel tracks Mouse’s quest to discover her past and to define her destiny. But is she prepared for the truth she unearths and the future that awaits her?”
Contact Elizabeth Heffington with questions!

November 1 – Kelly Oliver Book Signing

coyoteWNBA-Nashville member Kelly Oliver, Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University, will be at Parnassus Books on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6:30, discussing and signing her new book, Coyote. 

Emma Alford’s Poetry Chapbook

WNBA-Nashville member Emma Alford’s poetry chapbook, Stamped, published by Finishing Line Press, can be purchased through the press and Amazon. Or Emma can personalize the book when you order through She’ll also be glad to meet you in person!

“In short, this is a collection of poems written to my late best friend,” says Emma. “Some of the poems are responses to postcards from my friend, which are also displayed in the chapbook. It is very dear to my heart.”