Forensic anthropologist William “Bill” Bass, who oversaw the development of the forensic anthropology program at University of Tennessee, which includes the now-legendary Body Farm, will make another appearance in Kingsport to benefit the renovation of the Kingsport Public Library.
Friends of the Kingsport Public Library’s annual meeting will be held on April 9 at the Nancy Pridemore Little Theater at Dobyns-Bennett High School. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for book purchases, book signings and photos with Bass. He will speak at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for students with a valid student ID and can be purchased at the Kingsport Public Library circulation desk or at the door.
Bass arrived at the University of Tennessee in 1971. He created the world’s first laboratory devoted to human decomposition — the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Research Facility, better known as the Body Farm, a three-acre wooded plot scattered with donated cadavers at various stages of decomposition.
Although he’s retired from UT, he continues to play an active research role at the Body Farm.
Bass provides the technical expertise with veteran journalist and writer Jon Jefferson, creating the successful writing duo of Jefferson Bass, writers of the Body Farm novels. The first six Body Farm novels took readers deep into the East Tennessee hills and the Florida panhandle, where fascinating forensic science mixed with extraordinary characters, including the farm’s charismatic founder, Dr. Bill Brockton.
The seventh installment in the Body Farm series, “The Inquisitor's Key,” is due out May 8. “The Inquisitor’s Key” takes Brockton to Avignon, France — the spectacular seat of the popes in the 14th century — and embroils him in a deadly religious mystery that could shake the Vatican to its foundation.
Bass is also the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career, “Death’s Acre.”
Proceeds from the book purchases will go toward the maintenance of the newly dedicated William M. Bass Forensic Anthropology Building located on the Body Farm property. Profits from the event will be donated to the Kingsport Public Library Building Fund.
Construction on the public library’s 37,000-square-foot wing has been delayed until September 2014 and is expected to be completed in March 2016. During the $11 million renovation/expansion of the existing facility, library services will be relocated to another building and will result in uninterrupted service to the public. The expanded library will be 53,066 square feet.
The Kingsport Public Library was founded in 1921 and moved into its present location, a post office, in 1965. It has 38,220 borrowers and employs 21 people.