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In One Month: A Memphis Unveiling

One day, when I was walking around my sister’s fabulous Hays-Barton neighborhood in Raleigh, North Carolina, I looked up to see a stately house sitting on a hill. Spying such a house in her neighborhood isn’t unusual. Hays-Barton is an old area with beautiful trees and sweeping lawns and an esplanade wide as a park running through the middle of the streets. I said to myself, I’m going to write the story of the family that lives in that house.

So I did. But I threw too much stuff into the story and the house got lost and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.


One day, I posted a photo of myself on Facebook. The photo was romantic, my hair upswept, the mirror I gazed into gilded. A friend said, That looks like a book cover. I said, I should write the story for that book cover. Then I realized I already had: the story of the house featured a young woman gazing into a gilded mirror. I pulled out the old manuscript and cut, cut, cut until the house emerged as the icon around which the family revolved. I named the story THE HART WOMEN, because it is a story about the unpredictable heart of women. The story was exquisite (I can say this because I’ve written ribald, rollicking, outrageous, profanity-laced stories—this is not one of them) and it needed exquisite treatment.


One day, I pulled my leather-bound, hand-sewn journal from my knapsack. I carry the journal with me always. It’s about the size of a iPhone. My friend Marisa Whitsett Baker made it and gave it to me. When I looked at the journal, I realized I’d found the treatment THE HART WOMEN needed.


In one month, on July 25, 2019, Novel Memphis will host an event featuring THE HART WOMEN. A real event, with tickets and everything. Marisa will make individual novels for the event. Each one will be different. You’ll be able to select your novel from the collection, and Marisa and I will sign it. Before that, we’ll be talking about creating a special edition, hand-sewn novel from inception to physical reality (did you know pages can’t be printed in chronological order if you’re going to sew them together?). Here’s a preview of what you’ll be hearing about:

The house at 1011 St. Lawrence Street once rang with joy. Now, the porch sags, the window panes run with cracks. In one generation, the home that nurtured the wealthy Mississippi Hart family sits abandoned. Did tragedy undo the family, or did the family create its own misfortune? The story begins in 1968 Fairview, Mississippi, when Poppa Sam Hart dies….
With loving and poignant attention, Ellen Morris Prewitt examines three generations of Mississippi Hart women and the corrupting influences that entangle the human heart. The tale of a house that bound a family together—and tore them apart—was workshopped in Richard Bausch’s Moss Group.
The Hart Women story is perfectly rendered by artist Marisa Whitsett Baker in hand-sewn special edition novels. The bookmaking uses vintage fabric, old maps, leather, burlap, and other materials to lovingly reflect the novel’s story. Each copy of the novel is unique, a work of art with a story inside.

CLICK HERE to reserve your spot now! Only if you come will this story of THE HART WOMEN be complete.

A sampling of the special edition novel THE HART WOMEN

Hays-Barton, How to make a special edition novel, Novel Bookstore Memphis, Novel Memphis, Special Edition Novels, The Hart Women, THE UNWRITTEN WORD

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