Local Literary Events

Published on September 26th, 2018 | by TLV News


Grammy-winning producer Tena Clark in Mississippi to celebrate “Southern Discomfort”

Tena Clark will be at Off Square Books Tuesday, October 2 at 5 pm. 

Award-winning songwriter and music producer Tena Clark presents what is sure to be one of 2018’s major memoirs with Southern Discomfort, an extraordinary story of a girl coming of age in the Civil Rights-era Deep South.

Following in the footsteps of major bestsellers like The Glass Castle and The Help, this profoundly moving memoir of a Southern childhood perfectly recreates a time, place, and culture that for some will seem unimaginable—but for others will be painfully familiar.

Tena Clark was born in 1953 in a tiny Mississippi town close to the Alabama border, the youngest daughter of the town’s very wealthy, notorious womanizer and his beautiful alcoholic wife. 

On Tena’s tenth birthday, her mother, emboldened by alcoholism and enraged by her husband’s incessant cheating, walked out for good, instantly becoming an outcast in society.

Tena was left in the care of her black nanny, Virgie, who became Tena’s surrogate mother and confidante—even though she was raising nine of her own children and was not allowed to eat from the family’s plates or use their bathroom.

It was Virgie’s acceptance and unconditional love that gave Tena the courage to stand up to her domineering father, the faith to believe in her mother’s love, and the strength to be her true self.

Adding to the turmoil, Tena understood from a very young age that she was different from her three older sisters, all of whom had been beauty queens and majorettes.

Tena didn’t want to be a majorette—she wanted to marry one.

When she was nineteen, she came out as a lesbian to her mother, and then to her father, before ultimately leaving the South to pursue her dream of becoming a famous musician—but Mississippi would always remain her home.

A powerful coming of age story, Southern Discomfort is about how the people and places we come from shape who we are, but do not define who we will become.

Combining the spirit of poignant memoirs such as The Glass Castle and vivid, evocative Southern fiction like Fried Green Tomatoes, Southern Discomfort is about the people and places that shape who we are—and is destined to become a new classic.

Tena Clark is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter, music producer, and activist. She lives in Atlanta. Southern Discomfort is her first book. As a songwriter and producer, Clark has worked with some of the biggest stars in music, including Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Jennifer Holliday, Gladys Knight, and many more.

She has been commissioned to write theme songs for NASA and Hillary Clinton.

Clark is CEO/Chief Creative Officer for DMI Music & Media Solutions. As pioneer, thought-leader, and innovator, DMI is at the forefront of entertainment and music marketing.

She lives in a rural community outside of Atlanta with her partner. The Local Voice Ligature

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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