Margaret  Renkl-Late Migrations:A Natural History of Love and Loss

Margaret Renkl


Margaret Renkl is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, where her essays appear weekly. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity, and River Teeth, among others. The founding editor of Chapter 16, a daily literary publication of Humanities Tennessee, and a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina, she lives in Nashville.


Ordinary Lives, Writing Friends, Sponsored by Griffin & Company Insurance

What does it mean to live a life full of more blessings than challenges? What if your life was not defined by one extraordinary event or some stroke of tragedy you survived but by the culmination of all your mundane decisions to make a living, a home, a family, and to care for the people and land that made you who you are. And what if these decisions sparkled with the same transforming flames that the greatest hero must walk through to reach sacred ground? Margaret Renkl, opinion columnist for The New York Times, and Mary Laura Philpott, editor of Musings and co-host of A Word on Words for Nashville Public Television, have each published memoir collections of essays. These critically-acclaimed books took shape at each other’s kitchen table in their monthly writers’ group meetings. These friends and writers will discuss how it’s possible to write for fifteen minutes a day in the midst of a busy career with kids at home about the topics with which we all deal but are sometimes too anxious, too polite or too busy to really face.

Moderator: Beth Waltemath

Beth Waltemath is a member of the Decatur Book Festival adult program committee. She worked at Random House and Hearst Magazines in New York City before attending seminary. She currently serves as co-pastor of North Decatur Presbyterian Church. She continues to write book reviews and author interviews and teach classes on writing and publishing.

  • First Baptist Decatur Sanctuary presented by AJC
  • Sat 11:15-12:00p Baptist

Late Migrations:A Natural History of Love and Loss

Growing up in Alabama, Renkl was a devoted reader, an explorer of riverbeds and red-dirt roads, and a fiercely loved daughter. Here, in brief essays, she traces a tender and honest portrait of her complicated parents and of the bittersweet moments that accompany a child’s transition to caregiver. Braided into the overall narrative, Renkl offers observations on the world surrounding her suburban Nashville home. As these two threads haunt and harmonize with each other, Renkl suggests that there is astonishment to be found in common things: in what seems ordinary, in what we all share. Gorgeously illustrated by the author’s brother, Billy Renkl, Late Migrations is an assured and memorable debut. BUY THIS BOOK!