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HomeArts/LeisureWriter's Conference: John Seigenthaler Sr. offers "A Word on Words"

Writer’s Conference: John Seigenthaler Sr. offers “A Word on Words”

Dinner Keynote Speaker John Seigenthaler Sr. Famed writer, editor, publisher and 1st Amendment advocate encourages audience, “Everyone has at least one story to tell!”

The Clarksville Country Club Dining Room was the host site for this year’s Writers Conference Buffet Dinner, which featured John Seigenthal Sr. as their keynote speaker.

In listing his many life achievements, one must acknowledge his 43 years as an award-winning journalist of Nashville’s The Tennessean being editor, publisher and CEO; his tenure as president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors; serving as the founding editorial director of USA Today; and being an administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides. In 1991, he founded the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University, whose mission is creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values. Seigenthaler is also the author of the 2004 biography of American President James K. Polk. He currently hosts a weekly book-review program, “A Word on Words” on Nashville public television station WNPT.

John Seigenthaler Sr.-Writers Conference Dinner Keynote Speaker Seigenthaler’s address emphasized the prevailing theme all the authors had dwelt on during the day’s many presentations- despite personal doubts of skill, worth and ability, everyone has a story to tell. He said that the writer takes the step to record that story and through this process self discovery, challenge and completion are realized. The budding writer should yield to the desire and let their thoughts flow and guide their efforts to express that which is hidden inside them. It may be seem strange and alien to your normal existence. Perhaps the story mght not be about any personal experience or reference to one’s self. The subject may even come as an exterior assignment or delegation but we each have at least one story seeking to be told. The successful writer is the person who listens and lets it out. In essence, he urged everyone to,”Tell the Story!”

img_3454.jpgFollowing Mr. Seigenthaler’s address, Conference Chairperson Patrica Winn gave recognition to the Arts and Heritage Development Council, its members and Austin Peay State University faculty and staff who had worked so diligently to make the conference a successful event. A call for volunteers was also made at this time as the conference is a massive event and there is always a need for assistance of all kinds. Acknowledged sponsors include the City of Clarksville, The Leaf Chronicle, Austin Peay State University, Tennessee Arts Commission, F&M Bank, The Riverview Inn, Dr. Howard and Patricia Winn.

Dinner guest chats with author Karen Spears Zacharias (r)

The club’s chef and staff is to be commended for preparing a very sumptuous meal for the evening. From the variety of fresh tossed salad, cucumber/tomato salad, a Waldorf salad, the options were delightfully varied. The vegetable choices included roasted new potatoes, green beans, a wild rice blend, and a broccoli/cauliflower mix. The entrees included Stuffed Chicken Florentine, a roasted baby spinach stuffed boneless chicken breast dish. It was both succulent and delicious. The star entree however was the Slow-Roasted Carved Beef which was deliciously seasoned, tender and generously served. The dessert choices were equally delightful indulgent temptations. Key Lime Pie, Chess Pie, Apple Strudel, Fudge Pie and a very devilish-looking American Chocolate Layered Cake were among the varied selections from which to choose.

The authors reception and book-signing preceded the dinner. Authors were present for conversation and, to those who brought copies of their available works, autographing their purchases. There was a lively hum about the receiving area as people gathered and milled among the authors and conference attendees.

Dinner guests included Richard Gildrie (m) and Starlene Sykes (r)Among the dinners’ attendees were Stan Darnell, Susan and Alex Darnell, Phil and Shelia Kennedy, their daughter Katie Kennedy, Richard and Meredith Gildrie, Minoa Uffleman, Diane Batson-Smith, APSU President Tim Hall, City Mayor Pro Tem Barbara E. Johnson, E. Taylor Emory, Mary Nell Wooten, Joe and Starlene Sykes, Jean and Wendall Gilbert and Linda Nichols. Along with John Seigenthaler Sr., authors Suzanne Hudson, Joe Formichella, Sonny Brewer, Karen Spears Zacharias, Barry Kitterman and Bert Randall were also in attendance.

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