Tennessee Jones is a freelance editorial consultant and a former fiction and non-fiction editor at Soft Skull Press. He is the author of the Lambda Award nominated short-story collection Deliver Me From Nowhere, and the recipient of fellowships from the Jacob K. Javits and Christopher Isherwood Foundations. He was the George Bennett Fellow (Writer in Residence) at Phillips Exeter Academy and the Philip Roth Writer in Residence at Bucknell University, and a finalist for the 2016 Creative Capital Award in Fiction.
Tennessee’s most recent work as an editorial consultant includes Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist by Sunil Yapa, which was named Most Anticipated Book of 2016 by Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, TIME, Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Buzzfeed, San Francisco Chronicle, and TheMillions, and The Big Fear by Andrew Case. This debut crime thriller garnered a multiple book deal for the new Hollow City Series. His fiction titles at Soft Skull Press include Jane: A Murder by Maggie Nelson, Branwell by Douglas A. Martin, Choir Boy by Charlie Anders, and Tear Down the Mountain by Roger Alan Skipper.
Tennessee’s non-fiction titles include That’s Revolting: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, ed. Matilda Bernstein Sycamore and Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement, eds. Daniel Burton-Rose, Eddie Yuen, and George Katsiaficas.
Tennessee's select booklist can be found below.
Having lost virtually everything in the fearsome storm - home, family, first love - Robert Chatham embarks on an odyssey that takes him through the deep South, from the desperation of a refugee camp to the fiery and raucous brothel Hotel Beau-Miel and into the Mississippi hinterland, where he joins a crew hired to clear the swamp and build a dam.
Along his journey he encounters piano-playing hustlers, ne’er-do-well Klansmen, well-intentioned whores, and a family of fur trappers, the L’Etangs, whose very existence is threatened by the swamp-clearing around them. The L’Etang brothers are fierce and wild but there is something soft about their cousin Frankie, possibly the only woman capable of penetrating Robert’s darkest places and overturning his conviction that he’s marked by the devil.
"Powerful and unflinching." - The New York Times Book Review
"One of the finest novels you will read this year." - Flavorwire
In a crowded amphitheater in Queens, a nervous twelve-year-old Josiah Laudermilk steps to the stage to deliver his first sermon to thousands of waiting believers. A prodigy, they called him, the next in a long line of faithful men. Decades later, though, after a failed marriage and years away from the church and his home, Josiah (now Josie) finally returns to Queens to check on his father, who seems to be losing his grip on reality. Barreling through the old neighborhood, he's flooded with memories of his past, but when he finally arrives at his family's old house, he's completely unprepared for what he finds. Reaching from 1980 Queens to present-day sunny California to a tent revival in nineteenth-century rural Kentucky, High as the Horses' Bridles is an imaginative and heartbreaking debut from a bold new American voice.
"A groundbreaking and unflinching tale of teenage transsexualism." - Kirkus Reviews
Twelve-year-old choirboy Berry wants nothing more than to remain a choirboy, surrounded by perfect notes, as opposed to his imperfect, quarreling parents. Choral music and the prospect of divinity thrill him. Desperate to keep his voice from changing, he tries to injure himself, and then convinces a clinic to give him testosterone-inhibiting drugs. The hormone pills keep Berry's voice from deepening but also cause him to grow breasts. Suddenly Berry faces a world of unexpected gender issues that push him into a universe far more complex than anything he has experienced. A fantastical coming-of-age story, Choir Boy combines off-kilter humor and its own brand of modern day magic in a rollicking, bittersweet story about growing up different.
Miller grew up in a cabin in the woods of Colorado and the experience of the silence, darkness and depth that grows from being raised in near solitude is evident throughout his stories, laced with the wildness, rage, and tranquility that exists in the crags of the mountains. The stories include tales of strippers, of their husbands and lovers and the helpless, ill-placed desire that is shot out of their customers, of a rape by a man of another man at a peep show in Times Square, the victim wordlessly accepting what happens to him while watching a woman dance behind glass, of fucking a woman wearing a fur coat and feeling unexplainable rage at her disregard of animal life. The story ends with the character running away into the night with the coat, "as if an animal rescued." In "Invisible Fish," a night clerk in a mall pet store tortures the animals at night until the whole place stinks of fear and rage. Dumbfounded, the store owners bludgeon to death a chimpanzee, the only animal in the store that can imagine capable of such atrocities.
A gifted artist and writer, Branwell Bronte, an only son, is expected to make the family fortune and distinguish the Bronte name. Instead, he dies at 31 from alcohol and opium abuse. Painstakingly tutored at home by his father, Branwell and his sisters write endless stories about imaginary worlds far from their bleak parsonage home. As his sisters spin the stories that will immortalize them, Branwell sinks under the weight of great expectations. With language as rich and dark as the moors of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, Douglas A. Martin probes the locus where history and myth collide, and uncovers Branwell’s lost loves, thwarted talent, and possible homosexuality. Maintaining the haunting quality of childhood memory throughout, Bronte Boy is a genre-bending exploration of the tragic figure of Branwell Bronte and the dismal, dazzling landscape that inspired his sisters to greatness.
"Nelson calls into question the limits of what the present can know about the past, and what presence can know about absence...The result is not confusion, but rather a deeply unnerving form of clarity, one that acknowledges both the inevitability of our desire to know and the impossibility of realizing that desire to our satisfaction." - Michigan Quarterly
Jane tells the spectral story of the life and death of Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane, who was murdered in 1969 while a first-year law student at the University of Michigan. Though officially unsolved, Jane’s murder was apparently the third in a series of seven brutal rape-murders in the area between 1967 and 1969. Nelson was born a few years after Jane’s death, and the narrative is suffused with the long shadow her murder cast over both the family and her psyche.
"Skipper's earthy prose helps paint a vivid picture of rough-hewn Appalachia." - Publisher's Weekly
"Brings both protagonists and environment to life in powerful language that ultimately becomes a sort of hard-edged poetry." - William Gay, author of Provinces of Night
In their tiny, secluded mountain community, Sid Lore and Janet Hollar are misfits: Sid because he wasn’t born here, Janet because she can’t satisfy her Pentecostal church’s demand to speak in tongues. The two drift together and get married, and soon the optimistic, independent newlyweds vow to forge their own reality. Appalachian life, however, proves difficult: family and friends die or move away and Sid’s work-related injuries make it impossible to earn a living. As he enters a rut of odd jobs, bar brawls, and dog fights, Janet discovers new worth - and a hidden talent for destruction. Just when they don't think they can sink any lower, the "superior" outside world discovers their mountains, their lake, their forests, and their “rednecks” - which brings new problems.
A Finalist for the PEN/ Faulkner Award
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Washington Post Notable Book
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
One of Bustle's "Most Important Books of 2016"
Named Most Anticipated Book of the Year in Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, TIME, Huffington Post, The Chicago Tribune, BuzzFeed, Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, Ploughshares, Bustle, TheMillions, BookRiot, The Oregonian, The San Diego Union-Tribune, River City Reading, Indigo
"A great wrenching beautiful book." - Laline Paull, author of The Bees
Grief-stricken after his mother's death and three years of wandering the world, Victor is longing for a family and a sense of purpose. He believes he's found both when he returns home to Seattle only to be swept up in a massive protest. With young, biracial Victor o one side of the barricades and his estranged father - the white chief of police - on the opposite, the day descends into chaos, capturing in its confusion the activists, police, bystanders, and citizens from all around the world who'd arrived that day brimming with hope. By the day's end, they have all committed acts they never thought possible.
“One of the most well researched and written procedural crime novels I've read in the past ten years. At times spooky, shocking, and always riveting, I finished The Big Fear wishing I'd written it.” - Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“Gritty and hardnosed, The Big Fear is as authentically New York as a slice of pizza. Case’s characters know the streets. They talk the talk and walk the walk.” - Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author
Civilian investigator Leonard Mitchell can keep his job as the new head of the Department to Investigate Misconduct and Corruption only by successfully prosecuting veteran cop Ralph Mulino.
Mulino shot an armed man on a dark night; he didn’t know the man was a fellow cop. Now, to keep his badge and his freedom, he has to make his case to the investigator. But the gun Mulino saw in his victim’s hand has disappeared.
As Mitchell digs deeper into Mulino’s claim, it becomes clear that the “misconduct and corruption” infecting New York City go far beyond the actions of one allegedly dirty cop. Murder and sabotage force Mulino and Mitchell into an uneasy partnership to uncover the truth and protect the city they are both sworn to serve.
Assuming, of course, they can stay alive…
Streetopia is...loaded with colorful photographs and reproductions of documents from the exhibition...Reading Streetopia will prepare you to think about what such an exhibition would entail, and why it’s so necessary." - The Seattle Review of Books
After San Francisco's new mayor announced imminent plans to "clean up" downtown with a new corporate "dot com corridor" and arts district - featuring the new headquarters of Twitter and Burning Man - curators Erick Lyle, Chris Johanson and Kal Spelletich brought over 100 artists and activists together with residents fearing displacement to consider utopian aspirations and plot alternative futures for the city. The resulting exhibition, Streetopia, was a massive anti-gentrification art fair that took place in venues throughout the city, featuring daily free talks, performances, skillshares and a free community kitchen out of the gallery. This book brings together all of the art and ephemera from the now-infamous show, featuring work by Swoon, Barry McGee, Emory Douglas, Monica Canilao, Rigo 23, Xara Thustra, Ryder Cooley and many more. Essays and interviews with key participants consider the effectiveness of Streetopia's projects while offering a deeper rumination on the continuing search for community in today's increasingly homogenous and gentrified cities.
"Liza Featherstone, Doug Henwood and Christian Parenti, in particular, decry the movement’s descent into inarticulate protest "carnivals" and appeal to the American activist left to replace antiquated worldviews with frameworks that supply greater ideological coherence. Readers...will find plenty to mull over here." - Publisher's Weekly
Confronting Capitalism examines the world wide movement against globalization. The uprising against the World Trade Organization in 1999 was the most visible and dramatic protest in the United States since the Vietnam War. Subsequent protests in Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Prague, Cancun and many others, have shown that there is a growing movement opposing globalization. The book roots these events globally in an anti-capitalist history that includes the resistance to the IMF and the neo-liberal project in Venezuela, Korea and Chiapas, the mass organizing campaigns of the nuclear freeze movement in the 1980s and the innovative direct action tactics of environmentalists in the United States.
"Startlingly bold and provocative." - Howard Zinn
As the growing gay mainstream prioritizes the attainment of straight privilege over all else, it drains queer identity of any meaning, relevance, or cultural value. What's more, queers remain under attack: Gay youth shelters can be vetoed because they might reduce property values. Trannies are out because they might offend straights. That's Revolting! offers a bracing tonic to these trends. Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, That's Revolting! collects timely essays such as "Dr. Laura, Sit on My Face," "Gay Art Guerrillas," and "Queer Parents: An Oxymoron Or Just Plain Moronic?" by unrepentant activists like Patrick Califia, Kate Bornstein, and Carol Queen.
"Beginning with its provocative title, Williams' account of contemporary law enforcement argues that instances of police brutality in the U.S. are not aberrations but, instead, reflect the long, symbiotic relationship between those in power and the police hired to protect that power...Specific remedies are wanting here, but so is a body of literature on this important topic, which makes Williams' book that much more crucial to the discussion." - Booklist
Let's begin with the basics: violence is an inherent part of policing. The police represent the most direct means by which the state imposes its will on the citizenry. They are armed, trained, and authorized to use force. Like the possibility of arrest, the threat of violence is implicit in every police encounter. Violence, as well as the law, is what they represent.
In this extensively revised and updated edition of his seminal study of policing in the United States, Kristian Williams shows that police brutality isn't an anomaly, but is built into the very meaning of law enforcement in the United States. From antebellum slave patrols to today's unarmed youth being gunned down in the streets, "peace keepers" have always used force to shape behavior, repress dissent, and defend the powerful. Our Enemies in Blue is a well-researched page-turner that both makes historical sense of this legalized social pathology and maps out possible alternatives.