April Program – New Location!!!!

What Would Mrs. Astor Do?  – Cecelia Tichi

6:00 – 7:00 p.m., at Dalt’s American Grill On White Bridge on March 4, 2019

Courtesy of Jamie Adams

Cecelia Tichi is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and Professor of American Studies at Vanderbilt University. She received her M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 1968. Before coming to Vanderbilt in 1987, she taught at Boston University. At Vanderbilt, she teaches classes in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, focusing on aspects of culture from consumerism and social critique to country music. She has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Radcliffe Institute, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation under the auspices of the Henry E. Huntington Library. She is the 2009 recipient of the Jay B. Hubbell prize for distinguished work in American literary studies. awarded by the American Literature Division of the Modern Language Association.

Her latest book project, What Would Mrs. Astor Do? The Essential Guide to the Manners and Mores of the Gilded Age (New York University Press, 2018), discusses the many rules for making it to the top tier of high society during the late 19th century .


From New York University Press:

A richly illustrated romp with America’s Gilded Age leisure class—and those angling to join it  Mark Twain called it the Gilded Age. Between 1870 and 1900, the United States’ population doubled, accompanied by an unparalleled industrial expansion, and an explosion of wealth unlike any the world had ever seen. America was the foremost nation of the world, and New York City was its beating heart. There, the richest and most influential—Thomas Edison, J. P. Morgan, Edith Wharton, the Vanderbilts, Andrew Carnegie, and more—became icons, whose comings and goings were breathlessly reported in the papers of Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. It was a time of abundance, but also bitter rivalries, in work and play. The Old Money titans found themselves besieged by a vanguard of New Money interlopers eager to gain entrée into their world of formal balls, debutante parties, opera boxes, sailing regattas, and summer gatherings at Newport. Into this morass of money and desire stepped Caroline Astor. 

 Mrs. Astor, an Old Money heiress of the first order, became convinced that she was uniquely qualified to uphold the manners and mores of Gilded Age America. Wherever she went, Mrs. Astor made her judgments, dictating proper behavior and demeanor, men’s and women’s codes of dress, acceptable patterns of speech and movements of the body, and what and when to eat and drink. The ladies and gentlemen of high society took note. “What would Mrs. Astor do?” became the question every social climber sought to answer. And an invitation to her annual ball was a golden ticket into the ranks of New York’s upper crust. This work serves as a guide to manners as well as an insight to Mrs. Astor’s personal diary and address book, showing everything from the perfect table setting to the array of outfits the elite wore at the time. Channeling the queen of the Gilded Age herself, Cecelia Tichi paints a portrait of New York’s social elite, from the schools to which they sent their children, to their lavish mansions and even their reactions to the political and personal scandals of the day.  

 Ceceilia Tichi invites us on a beautifully illustrated tour of the Gilded Age, transporting readers to New York at its most fashionable. A colorful tapestry of fun facts and true tales, What Would Mrs. Astor Do? presents a vivid portrait of this remarkable time of social metamorphosis, starring Caroline Astor, the ultimate gatekeeper.

Tichi is the author of nine scholarly books, most recently What Would Mrs. Astor Do: A Complete Guide to the Manner and Mores of the Gilded Age and Jack London: A Writer’s Fight for a Better America, as well as the editor of several others, including Reading Country Music: Steel Guitars, Opry Stars, and Honky-Tonk Bars (1998). Her books include Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist America (1987) and Electronic Hearth: Creating an American Television Culture (1991),Exposes and Excess Muckraking in America 1900/2000. Her most recent book, Civic Passions: 7 Who Launched Progressive America (And What They Teach Us), was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2009. Her articles on a variety of topics and authors have appeared in journals such as American Literature, American Literary History, and The Boston Review. She is also the author of five novels: Jealous Heart (1997), Cryin’ Time (1998), Fall to Pieces (2000), Now You See Her (2005), and All in One Piece (2006).

Jonathan’s has closed so this month we’ll meet at Dalt’s American Grill on White Bridge Road at 5:30 for socializing and dinner, and the program will start at 6:00 on Thursday, April 4th.

Young Adult Fiction: It’s Not Just for the Young

Last year’s Mystery Panel at the Green Hills Library was a huge success and we just know that this year’s topic Young Adult Fiction will be just as amazing. Join us Saturday, February 23, 2019 to learn why young adult fiction is not just for the young from award winning YA authors Tracy Barrett and Sharon Cameron.

Tracy Barrett has written more than twenty books for children and young adults. A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her first novel, the award-winning Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte). Her most recent publications are a contemporary YA novel, Freefall Summer, which draws on her own skydiving adventures; a middle-grade fantasy entitled Marabel and the Book of Fate; The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard, a collection of little-known Greek myths; and the popular middle-grade series The Sherlock Files.

Sharon Cameron was born and raised in Nashville. She has been a classical piano teacher, a full-time mom, a part-time genealogist, chair of a non-profit for local theater group and a coordinator of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Midsouth Conference. Her most recent book, The Forgetting hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list for ebooks. Her other works include Rook, A Spark Unseen, and The Dark Unwinding.


This event is FREE; sponsored by the Nashville Public Library & the Women’s National Book Association-Nashville Chapter.

Nashville Public Library Green Hills
3701 Benham Ave, Nashville, TN 37215
Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:30-12

February Meeting – Feb 7

We are excited about our February program with Brenda Vantrease. Brenda’s second book in her new series Broken Kingdom will be released February 1, 2019, just in time for our program.

Brenda’s historical fiction has been critically acclaimed, translated in more than a dozen languages and is widely distributed in libraries worldwide. The religious and political intrigue in the history of England from the 14th through the 17th century, is where she finds the drama, conflict, and characters that ignite her imagination and shape her stories. The Broken Kingdom Series is set in the British civil war.

Broken Kingdom, a series centered on conflicts between Charles I of England and his Parliament.

A Far Horizon is listed on the Parnassus website here and you can use this link to order or call the store at 615-953-2243 and place an order by phone.

For more information on her novels, go to: http://www.brendarickmanvantrease.

Just as a reminder, we’ll meet at Jonathan’s in Green Hills at 5:30 for socializing and dinner, and the program will start at 6:00 on Thursday, February 7th.

WNBA Nashville Member Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s Book

Check out Caitlin Hamilton Summie’s book, To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts, a collection of short stories that, according to Peter Geye, author of Wintering, “Lay bare our vulnerabilities and desires and hopes in equal measure. The result is one stunning story after another, each as lovely and heartfelt as the one before.”

Member Lee Fairbend’s comment after reading Summie’s book: I loved it! I limited myself to reading one story a day in order to savor each one, although to be honest I read two one day. When I got to the last one I deliberately put off reading it, as I hated to have it end. What beautiful stories.

Caitlin has been a member off and on for three years, ever since she met us at a Coffee with Authors event when she represented one of our presenting authors. She lives in Knoxville and will be presenting during Southern Festival of Books this year.

May 4 Meeting – Garden Party

  • Our annual Garden Party is Thursday, May 4, staring at 5:30 p.m. This is a time for members and their guests to connect with one another and celebrate another great year with WNBA. The party is hosted by the Nashville board, who provides drinks and appetizers. New This Year: Book Swap: If you have a book or two you’d like to pass on, please bring them, along with an accompanying note about what you liked—or not—about the book(s). Members will receive directions to the party via email. We hope to see you there.

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 www.joypoet.com.

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: http://www.eveningclasses.org

Ann Patchett Leads Off Spring 2017 Vanderbilt Visiting Writers

Acclaimed author Ann Patchett will read from her novel, Commonwealth, Thursday, Jan. 26, as part of the Gertrude and Harold S. Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series, which is housed within the English department’s Creative Writing Program.

Patchett’s reading and book signing, which begins at 7 p.m., will be held in the Vanderbilt Central Library’s Community Room.

Patchett has written six other novels—The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run and State of Wonder —and three nonfiction books—Truth & Beauty, What Now? and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books and New York Times bestsellers. In addition, Patchett is the co-owner of Parnassus Books and continues to be a prominent voice on the importance of independent booksellers.

Patchett will be introduced by Lorrie Moore, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and a distinguished American fiction writer.

February 2: What’s Cooking with Tammy Algood and Amy Lyles Wilson

Writers Amy Lyles Wilson and Tammy Algood will discuss the ingredients needed for creating successful cookbooks. From researching recipes to developing compelling stories, they’ll share what they’ve learned from their experiences as cookbook authors, whether it’s taste testing or appearing on QVC. Algood is a viticulture and wholesale produce specialist for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Market Development Division. She has a bachelor’s of science from Mississippi State University and a master’s from Middle Tennessee State University. She writes about food for The Tennessean and The Tennessee Magazine, and has authored several cookbooks, including The Complete Southern Cookbook and Sunday Dinner in the South: Recipes to Keep Them Coming Back for More. Amy Lyles, a longtime workshop leader and teacher trained in the Amherst Writers and Artists method, has contributed to or co-authored nine books, including Bless Your Heart: Saving the World One Covered Dish at a Time, and You Be Sweet: Sharing Your Heart One Down-Home Dessert at a Time. She holds degrees from Millsaps College, the University of Mississippi, and Vanderbilt University Divinity School, and serves on the board of the Nashville chapter of WNBA.

WNBA Writing Contest Deadline Extended

Writing Pen and PaperThe deadline for the WNBA Annual Writing Contest has been extended to February 15, 2017. Entries are currently being accepted in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction/Memoir, and Poetry. For more information, visit the National website, Awards & Contests.