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Home:  >News & Events   >News Archives   >2002

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 culture.

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 Fraulein.

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 the conference.

For more information on the conference, including a downloadable registration form, visit the conference web site at

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