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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for March 1-7, 2002.

In this issue:


THIS WEEK in MISSISSIPPI LITERARY HISTORY

The following events all happened during this week in Mississippi history.

Year:

1767: Jean Baptiste de Bienville, long-time governor and leader of the Louisiana colony under French rule, died in France. (March 7)

1889: Novelist and short story writer Ben Ames Williams was born in Macon, Mississippi. (March 7)

1906: Mystery writer William T. Brannon was born in Meridian, Mississippi. (March 3)

1908: Historian W. B. Hamilton was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (March 7)

1921: Marionettes, a one-act play by William Faulkner, was first produced at the University of Mississippi. (March 4)

1922: Con Leslie Sellers, Jr., who wrote more than 100 novels in several genres using different pseudonyms such as Robert Crane and Lee Raintree, was born in Shubuta, Mississippi. (March 1)

1925: William Faulkner published “Jealousy” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (March 1)

1932: William Faulkner publishes “Turnabout” in the Saturday Evening Post; it was the basis for a film called Today We Live, which premiered in Oxford at the Lyric Theatre April 12, 1933. (March 5)

1938: Sociologist Charles F. Longino, Jr., was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi. (March 3)

1940: Richard Wright publishes Native Son by Harper and Brothers. Book of the Month Club offers it as one of its two main selections. In three weeks it sells 215,000 copies. (March 1)

1952: Nevada Barr was born in Yerington, Nevada. (March 1)

1958: William Faulkner arrives in Princeton to spend two weeks at the University for Council on the Humanities. (March 1)

1958: Nature writer Rick Bass was born in Forth Worth, Texas. (March 7)

1960: First telecast on CBS-TV of Tomorrow, based on the short story by William Faulkner and directed by Robert Mulligan with a screenplay by Horton Foote. (March 7)

1989: Historian E. Wilson Lyon died in Pomona, California, following a long illness. (March 4)

1993: Ann Ruff, writer of numerous travel books about Texas, died. (March 4)

 


NEWS about MISSISSIPPI WRITERS

2002 Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference to focus on ‘Faulkner and His Contempories’

February 28, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — Information is now available about an annual conference that brings together critics, readers, and fans of the life and works of Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner.

The 29th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, which will be held July 21-26, 2002, at the University of Mississippi, will address the topic “Faulkner and His Contempories” through six days of lectures and discussions by literary scholars and critics.

In addition to formal lectures, there will be a performance of the folk opera As I Lay Dying, by the Nashville singer-songwriters group Reckon Crew, discussions by Faulkner friends and family, and sessions on “Teaching Faulkner” directed by James Carothers (University of Kansas), Robert W. Hamblin (Southeast Missouri State University), Arlie E. Herron (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and Charles Peek (University of Nebraska at Kearney).

The University’s John Davis Williams Library will display Faulkner books, manuscripts, photographs, and memorabilia; and the University Press of Mississippi will exhibit Faulkner books published by university presses throughout the United States. Films relating to the author’s life and work will be available for viewing during the week. Ms. Booth’s Garden, an exhibition of photographs by Jack Kotz, will be on display in the Gammill Gallery at Barnard Observatory.

The conference will begin on Sunday, July 21, with a reception at the University Museums for Paradox in Paradise, an exhibition of mixed media artworks by Lea Barton. This will be followed by an afternoon program of readings from Faulkner and the announcement of the winners of the thirteenth Faux Faulkner Contest. The contest, coordinated by the author’s niece, Dean Faulkner Wells, is sponsored by Hemispheres Magazine/United Airlines, Yoknapatawpha Press and its Faulkner Newsletter, and the University of Mississippi.

Other events will include a Sunday buffet supper served at the home of Dr. and Mrs. M. B. Howorth Jr., “Faulkner on the Fringe” — an “open-mike” evening at Southside Gallery, guided day-long tours of North Mississippi on Tuesday, a picnic served at Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak, on Wednesday, and a closing party Friday afternoon at Square Books.

Among the invited speakers are Michel Gresset, Houston A. Baker Jr., Deborah Clarke, W. Kenneth Holditch, Thomas S. Rankin, Merrill Maguire Skaggs, Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Danièle Pitavy-Souques, Grace Elizabeth Hale, and George Monteiro, along with other presenters to be announced later.

The conference is sponsored by the University of Mississippi’s Department of English and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and is coordinated by the university’s Institute for Continuing Studies.

The registration fee for the conference before July 1 is $150 for students, $175 for Friends of the Center, and $200 for other participants. The fee after July 1 is $175 for students, $200 for Friends, and $250 for others. The fee includes admission to all program events, a buffet supper on opening day, a reception on Tuesday, a picnic at Rowan Oak, conference session refreshments, and a closing reception. The fee does not cover lodging, the optional tours of Faulkner Country, and meals, except for those aforementioned.

More information about the conference, including a printable registration form, is available at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture web site, www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/faulkner/.

 
 
University of Southern Mississippi Libraries present virtual exhibit on Will D. Campbell

March 1, 2002

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries’ Special Collections is presenting a virtual exhibit based on the Will D. Campbell Papers held at the McCain Library & Archives.

Will D. Campbell: A Man of the Word emphasizes Campbell’s work as a preacher, writer, and public speaker with digital reproductions of manuscript materials and photographs, audio excerpts from the Will D. Campbell oral history interview, narrative text, and video clips from the PBS Documentary God’s Will. Mr. Campbell donated his papers to USM in 1999, and the exhibit links to the online finding aid. Word also links to the transcript of the Will Campbell oral history.

Born in Amite County, Mississippi in 1924, Will Campbell was ordained as a Baptist minister at the young age of seventeen. Campbell served in WWII and attended Wake Forest, Tulane, and Yale Universities before receiving his first pastorate at a Baptist church in Taylor, Louisiana.

Will’s social activism in regard to racial justice and human rights made him ill suited for the confines of the small-town Southern pulpit, and he left in 1954 to become Director of Religious Life and Chaplain at the University of Mississippi. Again, his views proved too controversial, and he left his post after only two years.

Will proclaimed his “radical Christianity” through civil and human rights movements, religious organizations such as the National Council of Churches and the Committee for Southern Churchmen, sermons, speeches and books. The only white present at the first meeting of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Will Campbell became a behind-the-scenes operator for the Movement. He could be relied on to show up in a crisis and do what needed to be done, like walking beside black schoolchildren through a mob in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Probably best known for his writing, Campbell’s autobiographical work, Brother to a Dragonfly, was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the Lillian Smith Prize and the Christopher Award in 1978. He is the author of seventeen works of fiction and non-fiction, including two children’s books.

Campbell’s lectures present themes on the commonness of all mankind and the importance of relationships with God, the land, and one another. His talks sparkle with Southern humor and a distinct voice known to mention rednecks, the evil of institutions, and racial reconciliation.

Sometimes described as a “bootleg” preacher, Will Campbell professes a great love and affection for Country Music. Will was close friends with the late Waylon Jennings, even traveling along on Jenning’s tour bus. Campbell currently resides near the “Country Music Capital of the World” of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Brenda. They have three children.

Explore original manuscript materials, complete with hand-written notations, from Will Campbell’s books and speeches. Listen and watch Will Campbell discuss his views on life in media clips, and browse photographs from the Will D. Campbell Papers in the virtual exhibit Will D. Campbell: A Man of the Word at www.lib.usm.edu/~spcol/campbell.


Do you have a news item about a Mississippi writer? Please send your information to mwp@olemiss.edu.


NEW FEATURES in the MISSISSIPPI WRITERS PAGE

The following articles were recently added or updated to the Writer Listings:

New Listings:

Updated:


NEW BOOKS from or about Mississippi

Tishomingo Blues
By Elmore Leonard
William Morrow (Hardcover, $25.95, ISBN: 0060008725)
Publication Date: February 2002

Leonard remains the only A-list crime fiction writer who doesn’t rely on a series hero. Not that his people don't have plenty in common: expert at thinking on their feet, not above bending the law, hard-boiled with a touch of romance, and always possessing a quirky interest in the minutiae of daily life.

Where they differ is in what they do: bail bondsmen, bookies, fallen priests, and now, a high diver surrounded by a gaggle of Civil War reenactors. Dennis Lenahan, the high diver, travels from gig to gig with an 80-foot ladder and a 22-foot-wide tank, which, he tells female fans, looks like a 50-cent piece from the top of the ladder.

His latest gig is at the Tishomingo Lodge and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. Everything is going swimmingly until Dennis witnesses a murder 80 feet underneath him. Silence seems the best policy, but it turns out quite a few people saw Dennis up on his ladder, including a smooth-talking black man from Detroit called Robert, who finagles Dennis into participating in an upcoming reenactment of the Battle of Brice’s Cross Roads.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg, of course, but the elaborate action is really only an excuse to let another group of wonderfully eccentric people bang into each other. What’s most impressive this time — along with the fast-talking characters — is Leonard’s ability to get inside a world, respecting the details yet always sensitive to the comic possibilities. There are other crime novels involving Civil War reenactors (Peter Abrahams’ Last of the Dixie Heroes, for example), but no one but Leonard would think of throwing a casino and a high diver into the mix. Pure entertainment.

—Review by Bill Ott, Booklist
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Splintered BonesSplintered Bones
By Carolyn Haines
Delacorte (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0385335903)
Publication date: February 2002

Described on the somewhat staid cover as “a mystery from the Mississippi Delta,” Haines’s third Southern cozy (first in hardcover) is heavy on the cornpone, but is saved from the totally ridiculous by a hearty leavening of laughter.

Sarah Booth Delaney and her cohorts, Tinkie Richmond and Cece Dee Falcon (formerly Cecil but that’s for another story) band together to save friend and horse breeder Eulalee “Lee” McBride from a first-degree murder rap. Lee has confessed to the murder of her loutish husband, Kemper Fuquar, in order to save her mixed-up 14-year-old daughter, Kip Fuquar, from the charge. The sheriff is hard-put to find a woman any woman on the outlying magnolia-scented estates who didn't have a motive to crush Kemper’s skull, then sic Avenger, a temperamental show horse, on the rotter. When she’s not busy being a PI, Sarah Booth stays busy playing with her red tick hound, Sweetie Pie; talking to a resident ghost, Jitty, in her antebellum mansion; reluctantly scouring the area for a date to the hunt ball; baby-sitting for a willful Kip; and reading Kinky Friedman books. Sarah Booth keeps up with her friends’ lipstick and nail polish colors, and even goes along with having Sweetie Pie’s hair dyed brown from its graying shade.

The author’s long on accent, if short on clues that help elucidate the mystery. But Haines (Them Bones) keeps her sense of humor throughout, holding the reader’s attention and internal laugh track right down to the last snicker.

From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

March 6: Barnard Observatory, University of Mississippi campus, Oxford, Mississippi, 12:00 p.m.
Lecture: “Readings from a Marriage of Poetry and Prose,” by Tom Franklin, UM John and Renee Grisham Southern Writer-in-Residence, and his wife, poet Beth Ann Fennally. Sponsored by Center for the Study of Southern Culture, www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/.

March 6: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.
Ralph Angel will read from and sign copies of his book Twice Removed.

March 7: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m.
Elizabeth Dewberry will appear on Thacker Mountain Radio to read and autograph copies of her novel, Sacrament of Lies. It’s the story of a the daughter of a powerful Louisianna governor and the the suspicious circumstances of her mother’s apparent suicide. Musical guest to be announced. www.thackermountain.com/.

March 8: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi
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.

If you know of upcoming readings and appearances by Mississippi writers, please let us know by writing us at mwp@olemiss.edu.


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 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. It’s 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.
www.ThackerMountain.com

March 26, 2002
Edward Cohen will sign the new paperback edition of his memoir, The Peddler’s Grandson: Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi (Bantam Dell) at Lemuria Tuesday, March 26, from 5:00-6:00 P.M. The book won Mississippi’s top nonfiction awards in 2000, from the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters and the Mississippi Library Association. It’s a two-time selection of Book Sense, the recommendations of independent booksellers nationwide. Earlier that day, he will speak and sign at the Warren County Vicksburg Public Library at noon

March 27, 2002
Edward Cohen will speak to the Lee-Itawamba Library Book Luncheon Group in Tupelo at noon, the Ole Miss Honors Program at 3:00, and at Square Books in Oxford at 5:00 to read from his book The Peddler’s Grandson: Growing Up in Jewish in Mississippi.

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

Complete details are now available at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture web site, www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/obc/.

Interhostel: “Views from the South: Literature, History, and Art”
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: cstudies@olemiss.edu

April 27, 2002
Children’s book writer Laurie Parker will give a reading at Square Books in Oxford from her new book, The Turtle Saver. It’s 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

Conference and registration information is now available on the web at the www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/faulkner/


If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you have suggestions, please write us at mwp@olemiss.edu.

For more information about events in the Oxford and University, Mississippi Community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:
www.olemiss.edu/calendar/

The Mississippi Writers Page is online at
www.olemiss.edu/mwp/


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