The following events all happened during this week in Mississippi history.
1861:Jefferson Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi,
was inaugurated the first and only president of the Confederate States
of America in Montgomery, Alabama, a month prior to Abraham Lincoln's
inauguration in Washington, D.C. (Feb. 18)
1938:The Unvanquished, a novel by William
Faulkner, was published by Random House. (Feb. 15)
was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (Feb. 16)
Williams received notification from the Group Theatre in New York
City that he had been awarded $100 for three one-act plays under the title
American Blues which included Moony's Kid Don't Cry,
The Dark Room, and The Case of the Crushed Petunias.
Williams had listed his birth year as 1914 in order to qualify for the
contest limited to those aged 25 and under. He was actually 28 years old
at the time. (Feb. 20)
Faulkner went to the University of Virginia for his second semester
as writer-in-residence. (Feb. 15)
One Writers Beginnings was published by Harvard University
Press in Cambridge. (Feb. 20)
2002: Publication of Hunting Season, by Nevada
Barr. (Feb. 18)
NEWS about MISSISSIPPI WRITERS
Book conference follows Larry
Browns short stories to the screen
By Lucy Schultze
Editors note: This article originally
appeared in Feb. 13, 2002, edition of The
The film, which premieres this weekend in New
York, is based on a collection of short stories by local author Larry
Brown and stars Arliss Howard and Debra Winger.
Larry Brown is one of our great Oxford
writers, and he has been involved with the book conference since it started
in 1993, said Dr. Ann Abadie, associate director of the Center
for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi.
We are thrilled for him that the movie
is coming out at this time, and delighted that we in Oxford and Lafayette County
will be able to share it with all the visitors who come to this literary center.
Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth has been working
with representatives at IFC Films to plan the event since November, when he
attended a screening of the film in New York. Because the film was scheduled
to be released in April, he arranged the screening to coincide with the conference.
Celebrating books, writing and reading, the
annual conference also explores the practical concerns of those involved in
the literary arts, such as literacy, freedom of expression and the book trade
This years conference is dedicated to
Mississippi playwright Tennessee
Williams, and will include discussions on his life, career and influence.
The program will also include readings from Williams plays, and a presentation
of his one-act play The Gnadiges Fraulien.
The screening for Big Bad Love will be
held on the first evening of the conference, April 11, at 8 p.m. in Fulton Chapel.
Beyond the 375 tickets allotted for conference attendees, an additional 500
free tickets will be available through the universitys central ticket
Abadie said a panel discussion with Howard,
Winger and Brown will precede the movie screening, with a reception following
to honor the stars and author.
Brown, an Oxford native and former city firefighter,
has published four novels, two essay collections and two story collections including
Big Bad Love.
The film, which is rated R for language and
some sexuality, explores the lives of struggling Mississippi writer Leon Barlow
(Howard) and his ex-wife Marilyn (Winger). Also starring in the film are Paul
Le Mat, Rosanna Arquette and Angie Dickinson.
Big Bad Love marks Howards debut
as a director; he and brother James also wrote the screenplay for the film.
It also marks Wingers first film since 1995, when she vowed to leave movies
for good. Howard, her husband, convinced her to return to the screen as his
Filming for Big Bad Love took place in
Oxford and Holly Springs in the fall of 2000, and the film premiered at the
Cannes Film Festival in May 2001.
Ninth annual book conference
to focus on Tennessee Williams
February 14, 2002
Since its inauguration
in April 1993, the Oxford Conference for the Book has celebrated books, writing,
and reading and has also dealt with practical concerns on which the literary
arts depend, including literacy, freedom of expression, and the book trade itself.
The 2002 program, scheduled for April 11-14
at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, is the ninth in the series and will
consist of readings, lectures, and discussions on current issues affecting book
This year’s conference is dedicated to Tennessee
Williams (1911-1983). Drama critic Mel Gusso and literary scholar W. Kenneth
Holditch will discuss the life and career of this great American playwright.
Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Paula Vogel will comment on Williams’s work
and his impact on her own writing. There will also be readings of selections
from Williams’s plays and a presentation of his one-act play The Gnadiges
Another special event of the conference will
be a gathering of authors who have served as John and Renée Grisham
Southern Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. Tom Franklin,
current Grisham Writer in Residence, and seven of the eight former holders of
the visiting position will participate in the conference: Tim Gautreaux, Mary
Hood, Randall Kenan, Mark Richard, Darcey Steinke, Claude Wilkinson, and Steve
Yarbrough. The gathering will celebrate the University’s new Master of Fine
Arts Program in Creative Writing.
The conference will celebrate American Poetry
Month with readings by poets Beth Ann Fennelly, Natasha Tretheway, and William
Trowbridge. The Young Authors Fair, sponsored in collaboration with the Junior
Auxiliary of Oxford, will bring an outstanding children’s author to local schools
and to the conference.
The conference is open to the public without
charge. To assure seating space, those interested in attending should preregister.
Reservations and advanced payment are required for four optional events honoring
conference speakers: a cocktail buffet on Thursday at Isom Place ($50 per person),
a cocktail party on Friday at Off Square Books ($25 per person), a country dinner
on Saturday at Taylor Catfish ($25 per person), and a lunch on Sunday ($15 per
person). All proceeds for the cocktail buffet on Thursday and the cocktail party
on Friday will go toward supporting the conference and are tax deductible. Participants
are invited to make additional tax- deductible contributions to help support
A Multitude of Sins: Stories
Stories by Richard Ford
Knopf (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 0375412123)
Publication date: February 2002
Description from Booklist:
Ford’s novel Independence Day (1995) won both the Pulitzer Prize
and the PEN/Faulkner Award. Here, in 10 short stories, he meticulously
explores love and intimacy, particularly the way people often fail to
meet the challenges of truly connecting with their partners; 7 out of
the 10 stories deal with infidelity.
Yet even in the passionate liaisons forged outside of marriage, regret
is a common theme. In the powerful “Abyss,” Residential Agent of the
Year Frances Bilandic, married to a man suffering from a terminal degenerative
disease, enters a tumultuous affair with fellow realtor Howard Cameron.
Her impulsive decision to ditch a seminar and take a side trip to see
the Grand Canyon has unforeseen consequences: “What had been wrong with
her? He wasn’t interesting or witty or nice or deep or pretty. And up
here, where everything was natural and clean and pristine, you saw it.”
Even in the beautifully written “Dominion,” what passes for optimism
in a Ford short story is the realization by a woman on the brink of
divorce that “life shouldn’t be always trying, trying, trying. You should
live most of it without trying so hard.” This is grim, unsettling fiction
that radiates emotional pain from every precisely written line.
Conversations with Richard Ford Edited by Huey Guagliardo
University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $46.00, ISBN: 1578064058;
Paperback, $18.00, ISBN: 1578064066)
Publication date: November 2001
Description from the publisher:
“If loneliness is the disease, the story is the cure.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford is a leading figure among
American writers of the post-World War II generation. His novel The
Sportswriter (1986), along with its sequel Independence Day
(1995) — the first novel to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner
Award in the same year — made Frank Bascombe, Ford’s suburban Everyman,
as much a part of the American literary landscape as John Updike’s Rabbit
Angstrom. With three other novels, a critically acclaimed volume of
short stories, and a trilogy of novellas to his credit, Ford’s reputation
and his place in the canon is certainly secure.
In Conversations with Richard Ford, the first collection of
this author’s interviews and profiles, editor Huey Guagliardo has gathered
together twenty-eight revealing conversations spanning a quarter of
These show that Ford is a writer of paradoxes. He was born in the South,
but unlike many southern-born writers of his generation he eschews writing
set in just one region. When his first novel, A Piece of My Heart
(1976), was so often compared to William Faulkner’s work, Ford disdained
setting another novel in his native South.
A recurring question that Ford addresses in these interviews is his
view of the role of place in both his fiction and his life. “I need
to be certain that I have a new stimulus,” he says, explaining his traveling
lifestyle. Not wishing to be confined by place in his writing any more
than in his own life, Ford rejects the narrow concerns of regionalism,
serving notice in several interviews that he is interested in exploring
the entire country, that his goal is “to write a literature that is
good enough for America.”
Ford also discusses the broader themes of his work, such as the struggle
to overcome loneliness, the consoling potential of language, and the
redeeming quality of human affection. This American writer talks extensively
about his abiding devotion to language and of his profound belief in
the power of narrative to forge human connections. Words, Ford says,
can “narrow that space Emerson calls the infinite remoteness that separates
The interviews also provide rare glimpses into the personal life of
this intriguing and complex man. Ford discusses his fondness for motorcycles,
Brittany spaniels, bird hunting, fishing, and Bruce Springsteen. He
also talks about his reputation as a “tough guy,” shares his political
views, and admits to being “drawn to places where life is a little near
Huey Guagliardo is a professor and coordinator of English at Louisiana
State University at Eunice. He edited Perspectives on Richard Ford (University
Press of Mississippi).
AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings,
Feb. 15: Lemuria, 202 Banner Hall, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m. James McBride will sign Miracle at St. Anne.www.lemuriabooks.com
Feb. 18: Lemuria, 202 Banner Hall, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m. Nevada Barr will sign
her new book, Hunting Season. For more information, call (601)
366-7619 or visit their web site, www.lemuriabooks.com.
Feb. 19: Lemuria, 202 Banner Hall, Jackson, Mississippi John Grisham will
sign copies of his novel The Summons. Visit the Lemuria web site
for details on this event, www.lemuriabooks.com
Feb. 20: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m. Philip Dray, a professor of African-American History at the New
School,will sign and speak about his new book At the Hands of Persons
Unknown: The Lynching of Black America, in which he traces the history
of this practice its sources, methods, judicial response
and examines the social environment which allowed this behavior to flourish.
Feb. 20: Lemuria, 202 Banner Hall, Jackson, Mississippi
Robert Olen Butler will sign and read from his new novel, Fair Warning;
signing at 5:30, reading at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the Lemuria
web site, www.lemuriabooks.com.
Feb. 21: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi
Thacker Mountain Radio welcomes Robert Olen Butler, who will read from
his new novel, Fair Warning. For more information, visit the
Thacker Mountain web site, www.thackermountain.com.
Feb. 23: Lemuria, 202 Banner Hall, Jackson, Mississippi, 1:00 p.m. Philip Dray will sign his new book At the Hands of Persons Unknown:
The Lynching of Black America. www.lemuriabooks.com.
If you know of upcoming readings and appearances by Mississippi
writers, please let us know by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ON THE HORIZON
The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You
may wish to begin planning now to attend or participate.
March 1, 2002 David Galef, University
of Mississippi professor of English and creative writing, will sign
and read from his new story collection, Laugh Track, at Square
Books in Oxford.
March 8, 2002 Jim Fraiser will sign
and talk about Majesty of the Mississippi Delta at Square Books
in Oxford. From historic Port Gibson up the river to Memphis, Fraiser
details the architectural features of homes, churches, and stores dating
back as far as the early 19th century.
March 21, 2002 Clinton, Mississippi, resident Nevada
Barr will return to Square Books in Oxford this time on Thacker
Mountain Radio, with her newest novel, Hunting Season. Its
the tenth book in the Anna Pigeon series. Anna investigates the murder
of a man at a Natchez Trace tourist spot. The show starts at 5:30 p.m.
March 27, 2002 Edward Cohen returns
to Square Books in Oxford to read from his book The Peddlers
Grandson: Growing Up in Jewish in Mississippi. 5 p.m.
April 5, 2002 Richard Ford returns
to Square Books in Oxford with a new collection of short stories, A
Multitude of Sins. 5 p.m.
The Ninth Oxford Conference for the Book April 11-14, 2002
The University of Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi
Interhostel: Views from the South: Literature, History, and
April 21-26, 2002
E. F. Yerby Conference Center, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi
Short-term academic program for individuals 50 and older (with accompanying
spouses or adult companions of any age). Sponsored by the Institute
for Continuing Studies. Fee: $845 (includes five nights hotel accommodations,
meals, classes and extracurricular activities). Sponsored by: UM Institute
for Continuing Studies. For more information, please contact: Lynne
Geller at 662-915-7282; or email: email@example.com
April 27, 2002 Childrens book writer Laurie
Parker will give a reading at Square Books in Oxford from her new
book, The Turtle Saver. Its the story of a man who stops
on the Natchez Trace to move a turtle off the pavement and ends up setting
off a hilarious chain of events.
The 29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference:
Faulkner and His Contemporaries
July 21-26, 2002
The University of Mississippi, Oxford
Information on registration is forthcoming.
If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you
have suggestions, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about events in the Oxford and University, Mississippi
Community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar: www.olemiss.edu/calendar/