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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2002

Book conference follows Larry Brown’s short stories to the screen

February 13, 2002

By Lucy Schultze

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Feb. 13, 2002, edition of The Oxford Eagle.

The Ninth Oxford Conference for the Book will follow one story’s journey from page to screen as it features a special screening of the new movie Big Bad Love.

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 itself.

This year’s 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 university’s central ticket office.

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 Howard’s debut as a director; he and brother James also wrote the screenplay for the film. It also marks Winger’s first film since 1995, when she vowed to leave movies for good. Howard, her husband, convinced her to return to the screen as his co-star.

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.

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