A novelist comes to Jackson to discuss a book about white supremacy

Charles Dodd White is a writer who has lived in East Tennessee for nearly a decade and teaches at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville.

He’s written six books, and he’ll be in Jackson on Saturday to discuss one of them: “How Fire Runs.”

The Griot Collective of West Tennessee is sponsoring his appearance at the Jackson-Madison County Public Library (433 East Lafayette Street in downtown Jackson) Saturday at 2 p.m.

“How Fire Runs” is a fictional work, but it is based on real events that have happened in recent years regarding white supremacists in small towns and the wildfires that caused heavy damage in eastern Tennessee in 2015.

“I tell my students to write about things that bother you, and after the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, at the church a few years ago and the violence in Virginia that killed one, I was really disturbed,” White said. “And I started thinking about what would happen if a group of white supremacists not only moved into a small town in eastern Tennessee, but also gained political influence there because it’s a pretty community. remote and somewhat prone to prejudice.”

White said he likes to get out and enjoy nature along the Appalachian Trail, and the book is set in a town he’s visited several times for that pleasure: Elizabethton, which is a small town nestled in the mountains near the easternmost point of Tennessee.

“It’s a nice little town away from it all, but like a lot of small towns in this part of the country, there are a lot of Confederate flags flying,” White said. “So this could be a place where the events of this book will happen.”

White said the plot of the book also includes a wildfire that devastates part of the city, and that this event also juxtaposes the book’s white supremacist plot to bring it all to a dramatic end.

“How Fire Runs” is available online at Amazon.com or wherever books are sold in the $13-15 range.

“I’m looking forward to being in Jackson this weekend discussing the book,” White said.

Contact Brandon Shields at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or on Instagram at editorbrandon.