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Spotlight for the week of May 8, 2023

Rhodes College

This week, we’re spotlighting two author events that celebrate the arts and culture of American history through stories real and imagined.

First, on Thursday at 5:30pm, join Burke’s Bookstore for a reading and book signing with Tom Piazza, author of The Auburn Conference: A Novel. In this work of historical fiction, Piazza conjures an epic writer’s conference that never happened. The year is 1883. At a small college in New York, Great American authors including Mark Twain, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and others meet to discuss the nation’s leading issues, including race, gender, and democracy. Piazza makes us wonder: how would history have changed had these great minds been brought together?

On Friday at 6pm, the Stax Museum celebrates the release of the Funkiest Man Alive: Rufus Thomas and Memphis Soul. This new biography details Thomas’ journey from dancer to disc jockey to award-winning R&B singer. Author Matthew Ruddick also uses Thomas’ story to investigate the social aspect of Memphis music in the 1950s and the history of Stax Records itself. Enjoy a brief reading from the book, a DJ playing Thomas’ greatest hits and deepest cuts, and a “Green Onions” themed drink from Soul & Spirits.

For links to these and other lifelong learning opportunities in Memphis, please visit our Facebookpage or check out our website.

Dr. Laura Loth is the Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures and the Director of the French and Francophone Studies program at Rhodes College. She teaches courses in French and Francophone literatures, cultures, and cinema. She received her BA from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. You can email her at lothl@rhodes.edu
Brittany Ashley is a senior at Rhodes College, majoring in Art History and English, with concentrations in Museum Studies and Creative Writing. She will be pursuing her MA in Art History with hopes of working in the Education and Interpretation Department of an art museum. Originally from Kentucky, she will soon become a Denverite along with her partner and her cat, Poppet.