A Pellissippi State Community College professor will read from his latest novel next week, and the public is invited to the free event.


Charles Dodd White, an associate professor of English at Pellissippi State, will read from “In the House of Wilderness” at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.


White, who founded and directs the annual James Agee Conference for Literature and Arts at Pellissippi State, was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in October, honored for his fiction. White’s most recent novel, “In the House of Wilderness,” was published by Ohio University Press in September.


“Charles has been widely recognized for his work, all of which is deeply rooted in Appalachia,” said Kathryn Byrd, interim vice president for Academic Affairs at Pellissippi State.



While White has published two other novels, “In the House of Wilderness” is his first set in Tennessee. Ohio University Press describes the family drama as “a harrowing story of choice and sacrifice” and “a novel about the modern South and how we fight through hardship and grief to find a way home.”


White grew up in Atlanta, but has spent time all over the South, earning degrees in North Carolina, Kentucky and Texas. He moved to Tennessee to teach at Pellissippi State, where he has been on faculty since 2013. His weekly commute from his home in Asheville, N.C., to the college’s Hardin Valley Campus his first year at Pellissippi State helped shape the setting of “In the House of Wilderness,” which includes references to real places in Newport and Knoxville.


“I’d have to leave my house in Asheville at 4:30 in the morning, and that was a good time to dwell on this story,” said White, who now lives in Knoxville and taught Pellissippi State’s first Appalachian literature course this fall. “That long drive in the dark also gave me the opportunity to absorb the landscape. It’s been nice for me to incorporate some of those places.”


For the Humanities Tennessee review of “In the House of Wilderness,” which was published in the Knoxville News Sentinel, visit https://chapter16.org/this-new-kind-of-survival/.


To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.