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The Suttree Stagger Returns

The Suttree Stagger is a literary pub crawl based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Based in downtown Knoxville in the early 1950s, Suttree is unusual in that very little of the novel's action, regardless of how dark or bizarre, is believed to have been invented by the famous author, imaginative though he is known to be. As some scholars have proven, much of Suttree's action happened just as described in the ostensibly fictional book about the denizens of the city's riverfront.

Sponsored by the White Mule Preservation Society, the Suttree Stagger is Knoxville's closest approximation to Bloomsday, a literary pilgrimage, conducted sporadically, to visit various scenes of the book, some well-known, some much less so. From its beginnings very late in the last century, it has attracted McCarthy scholars from around the English-speaking world, earned a mention in the New York Times, and once even attracted an actual character from the novel, the late Jim "J-Bone" Long.

For what's believed to be the first time in seven years, the Stagger will return to the streets of downtown Knoxville this Saturday morning, conducted by published poet and professional walking-tour guide Laura Still, with readings and dialogues from various members of the WMPS, most of them veterans of the Staggers of yore. In the past, some Suttree Staggers were known to involve visits to five or six bars, and last for 12 hours or more. This one promises to be the shortest in the history of the Stagger, and perhaps the most civilized, roughly a four-hour affair. We do have it on good authority that watermelon will be served.  

Those interested in the weird pilgrimmage should convene at the north end of the Gay Street Bridge Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

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