Nashville is a good place to be a writer these days. Literary salons like Nashville Public Library’s Salon 615 , Chet Weise’s reading series, and Ann Patchett’s Parnassus Books have helped spark a renaissance in the city’s literary culture.
Starting Saturday there’s even more of a reason for fans of good writing to celebrate when East Side Story bookstore opens to the public. The owner, Chuck Beard, and his wife Emily Harper Beard, are stocking the shelves this week in time for their grand opening, to coincide with the popular Tomato Arts Festival.
East Side Story sets itself apart because of its focus on Nashville authors. “Here the stars are local writers, whose books will be right next to New York Times Bestsellers,” Chuck says. He knows the importance of supporting local writers — a self-published author, he’s passionate about giving talent a chance to be seen and read.
And he’s serious about his commitment to supporting locals — 80% of the titles will be from them. Among the works he’ll stock include those from emerging writer Kathryn Williams and acclaimed novelist and country songwriter Alice Randall.
The bookstore is located inside the 5 Points Collaborative, an East Nashville business incubator that launched last year. The “Idea Hatchery” provides small businesses like the East Side Bookstore a place to get started.
Chuck developed the concept for the East Side Story after getting involved with Nashville’s arts and culture scene and realizing the need for a place that brought writers and artists together. Literary journals and self-published novels will line the shelves next to local art. And though the space is small (16×16), he’s coming up with creative ways to make spaces for readings and workshops.