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Home:  >News & Events   >Newsletter   >2001

Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for Dec. 7-13, 2001.

In this issue:


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


1801: The capital of the Mississippi territory was moved from Natchez to Washington, Mississippi. (Dec. 12)

1817: Mississippi was admitted to the Union as the twentieth state. Its capital was Washington, Mississippi, and the governor was David Holmes. (Dec. 10)

1862: Confederate General Earl Van Dorn made a daring raid on Grant’s storehouses in Holly Springs. Capturing more than 1500 Union soldiers and much-needed supplies, the raid would set back Grant’s planned Vicksburg campaign by several months. (Dec. 12)

1924: Charles East was born in Shelby, Mississippi. (Dec. 11)

1931: William Faulkner’s Idyll in the Desert was published by Random House, New York. (Dec. 8)

1935: William Faulkner left for a five-week assignment at Twentieth Century Fox Studios, where he met Meta Dougherty Carpenter and began an intimate relationship that would last intermittently for fifteen years. (Dec. 10)

1947: Patrick Creevy was born in Chicago, Illinois. (Dec. 11)

1948: Richard Wright delivered a speech at the Writer’s Congress in Paris, France. (Dec. 13)

1950: William Faulkner and his daughter Jill departed for Stockholm, Sweden, where he would receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. (Dec. 8)

1950: William Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for Literature for the year 1949 in Stockholm, Sweden. (Dec. 10)



William Faulkner’s Rowan Oak home to close until June 2002 for renovations; grounds to remain open

The main house of Rowan Oak, historic Oxford home of Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, will be closed Dec. 21 through June 2002 for extensive renovation and repair.

The grounds around the house, now owned by the University of Mississippi, will remain open to the public throughout the restoration process, said William D. Griffith, Rowan Oak curator.

“We needed to close the house because there’s just too much work going to be done,” said Griffith, formerly collections manager of the University Museums. Until Dec. 21, the home is open from noon to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays.

As the first phase of a $500,000 project funded in 1998 by the Mississippi Legislature, the home renovations include installation of an upgraded security system, new plumbing and structural supports, and a climate control system necessary to preserve Faulkner’s remaining belongings.

Built by a pioneer settler in the 1840s and situated in a grove of oak and cedar trees, Rowan Oak was purchased by Faulkner in 1930 and became his refuge from the world until his death in 1962. Ten years later, the University purchased the house and its 31-acre grounds from the author's daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers of Virginia.

University officials plan to seek private funds to complete renovation.

So far this year, an estimated 20,000 visitors have tread the cedar-lined gravel drive to reach the antebellum home, which is a National Historic Landmark and a National Literary Landmark. On a recent day, visitors came from as far away as Russia, Illinois, Montana and New York.

For more information, call Griffith at 662-915-7073 or 662-234-3284.

"Call for Papers: Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha 2002, 'Faulkner and His Contemporaries' "

The Department of English and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture have announced a call for papers for the 2002 Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, to be held at the University of Mississippi from July 21-26, 2002. The deadline for submissions of plenary papers (approximately 6,000 words) and short papers (approximately 2,500 words) is January 15, 2002.

For more information, please read the entire article

Do you have a news item about a Mississippi writer? Please send your information to


The following articles were recently added to the Writer Listings:

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

Dec. 8: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 3-5 p.m.
Holiday book signing by local authors. Among the local authors featured in Square Books 2001 Holiday Catalog who will be on hand to sign books are Barry Hannah (Yonder Stands Your Orphan), Larry Brown (Billy Ray's Farm), Maude Schulyer Clay (Delta Land), John T. Edge (Mrs. Wilke's Boarding House Cookbook, Southern Belly), Ace Atkins (Leavin' Trunk Blues), Tom Franklin (Poachers), and Steve Cheseborough.

Dec. 8: Oxford-Lafayette County Public Library, Oxford, Mississippi, 5 p.m.
The Larry Brown Writers' Series present Larry Brown, author of Dirty Work, Joe, Fay, Big Bad Love and Father and Son. The writer's workshop begins at 5 p.m., with a reading at 7:30 p.m. and a reception immediately following. The Series is made possible by the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Grant.

Dec. 12: Lemuria Books, 202 Banner Hall, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m.
Local author and book critic J. C. Patterson has assembled a fine collection of Big Easy essays in the tradition of Errol Laborde's "Streetcar" column. Patterson takes the reader on thirty-five sentimental journeys in four sections: Events (All dem parades), Places (Where y'at?), People (Who was your mother?) and Lagniappe (A little extra). Big Easy Dreamin' is packed with over 40 memorable photos from JC's personal collection to enhance your journey. Book signing at 5:30, with reading at 7 p.m. For more information, call (601) 366-7619.

Dec. 15: Books-a-Million, Jackson, Mississippi, 2 p.m.
J. C. Patterson will sign copies of his book Big Easy Dreamin'. For more information, call (601) 366-3008.

If you know of upcoming readings and appearances by Mississippi writers, please let us by writing us at

NEW BOOKS from or about the state of Mississippi

Collected Stories
By Ellen Gilchrist
Back Bay Books (Paperback, $16.95, ISBN: 0316299480)
First published in hardcover in 2000

Description from Booklist:

Gilchrist’s celebrated writing life began with a book of short stories, In the Land of the Dreamy Dreams (1984), and her second collection, Victory over Japan, won the 1985 National Book Award. She has switched back and forth between novels and short stories ever since, and her dulcet yet tensile voice has become an integral part of American literature.

Gilchrist has now selected 34 of her favorite stories from seven collections to create a potent and pleasingly cohesive volume that showcases her deep sense of place and, the most salient feature of her work, her lusty, unpredictable, and unapologetic heroines. Gilchrist’s women have refused to be contained within single stories. No matter how often she finds someone new to write about, and how far away she moves from the settings she knows best, and which she so affectionately yet critically portrays, such as Fayetteville, Arkansas, and New Orleans, her feisty and outspoken heroines track her down and insist on continuing their lives.

Here, readers first meet the fearless and competitive Rhoda Katherine Manning as an ambitious third-grader and follow her through an elegant adulthood of extravagant gestures and determined independence. Nora Jane Whittington, a self-declared anarchist, leaves New Orleans for San Francisco, where she wins the adoration of the heroic Freddy Harwood, learns all about earthquakes, and becomes the mother of twin girls. And then there’s Miss Crystal and her sharp-eyed maid, Traceleen. In each intriguing tale, Gilchrist brilliantly illuminates some quirky aspect of human nature, whether it's the territorial instinct at work in a snooty tennis club, the need for poetry and music, marital friction, the complexities of race, or the mysteries of love, all the while granting readers the boon of her humor, wisdom, and beautifully crafted prose.

—Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved



The following events are planned for the coming weeks and months. You may want to begin planning to attend or participate.

March 30, 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.

The Ninth Oxford Conference for the Book
April 11-14, 2002
The University of Mississippi and Oxford, Mississippi

Check back for registration information.

The 29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference:
"Faulkner and His Contemporaries"

July 21-26, 2002
The University of Mississippi, Oxford

Information on registration will be available in early 2002.

If you know of additional news items for this newsletter or if you have suggestions, please write us at

For more information about events in the Oxford and University, Mississippi Community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:

The Mississippi Writers Page is online at

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