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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for March 15-28, 2002.

In this issue:

Editor’s note: because of spring break at the University of Mississippi, this newsletter covers two weeks.


The following events all happened during these two weeks in Mississippi history.


1736: After Bienville decided to fight the Chickasaw on two fronts, French forces from the Illinois country under Pierre d’Artaguette were defeated by the Chickasaw in the Battle of Ougoula Tchetoka. Some twenty Frenchmen, including d’Artaguette, were captured and burned to death. (March 25)

1901: Journalist Turner Catledge was born in Ackerman, Mississippi. (March 17)

1909: Historian James Franklin Hopkins was born in Noxapater, Mississippi. (March 28)

1911: Tennessee Williams [Thomas Lanier Williams] was born in Columbus, Mississippi. (March 26)

1912: Journalist Walter G. Cowan was born in Bond, Mississippi. (March 24)

1921: Historian David L. Smiley was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. (March 17)

1929: Music teacher Mary Margaret Clark was born in McComb, Mississippi. (March 24)

1930: Texas travel writer Ann Ruff was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi. (March 20)

1931: Historian John D. W. Guice was born in Biloxi, Mississippi. (March 24)

1931: Ida B. Wells Barnett died of uremic poisoning in Chicago, Illinois. (March 25)

1933: Myrlie Evers was born Myrlie Van Dyke in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (March 17)

1934: Theologian Charles H. Talbert was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (March 19)

1935: The novel Pylon, by William Faulkner, was published by Harrison Smith and Robert Haas. (March 25)

1936: James Whitehead was born in St. Louis, Missouri. (March 15)

1936: Eudora Welty’s stories “Death of a Traveling Salesman” and “Magic” were accepted for publication by Manuscript 3 (May-June 1936, 21-29). (March 19)

1937: Tennessee WilliamsCandles to the Sun premiered in St. Louis, performed by Willard Holland’s Mummers. (March 18)

1938: Novelist Robert H. Herring was born in Charleston, Mississippi. (March 26)

1941: A production of Native Son, based on the book by Richard Wright, opened on Broadway at the St. James Theatre, starring Canada Lee, in a benefit performance for the NAACP. (March 24)

1942: William Faulkner published “Two Soldiers” in the Saturday Evening Post. (March 28)

1944: Poet and journalist Si Dunn was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. (March 24)

1946: Baptist minister Thomas Julian Nettles was born in Brandon, Mississippi. (March 16)

1946: Shakespeare scholar Bruce R. Smith was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (March 21)

1953: Tennessee Williams’ play Camino Real premiered at the Martin Beck Theatre, New York. (March 19)

1955: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams premiered at the Morosco Theatre in New York; it was directed by Elia Kazan and starred Burl Ives, Barbara Bel Geddes, and Ben Gazzara. (March 24)

1957: William Faulkner arrived in Athens on a two-week mission for the State Department. He accepted the Silver Medal of the Greek Academy while there. (March 18)

1957: Tennessee Williams’ play Orpheus Descending opened at the Martin Beck Theatre in New York, starring Maureen Stapleton and Cliff Robertson. (March 21)

1959: David Galef was born in New York. (March 27)

1962: Phillip Thompson was born in Columbus, Mississippi. (March 26)

1963: John Faulkner died in Oxford, Mississippi and was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford. Because of disagreement over the spelling of his name, it is spelled “Falkner” on one side of the stone, “Faulkner” on the other, and “Fa(u)lkner” on the flat stone topping his grave. (March 28)

1968: Tennessee Williams’ play Seven Descents of Myrtle premiered at Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York. It ran for 29 performances. (March 27)

1969: John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in Biloxi, Mississippi. (March 26)

1972: The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty was published by Random House in New York. (March 23)

1980: First telecast of Barn Burning, based on the short story by William Faulkner, on PBS-TV. The production was directed by Peter Werner with a screenplay by Horton Foote; it starred Tommy Lee Jones as Ab Snopes. Faulkner’s nephew Jimmy Faulkner played the role of Major DeSpain. (March 17)

1981: Historian Ray Mathis died of cancer in Troy, Alabama. (March 25)

1982: Actor James Earl Jones married Cecilia Hart. (March 15)

1989: U.S. Marine Corps office and writer Lewis W. Walt died in Gulfport, Mississippi, after a long illness. (March 26)

1991: Speech professor and broadcaster Sara Lowrey died. (March 28)

1997: James Meredith, the first African American to enroll and graduate from the University of Mississippi, presented his papers to the University of Mississippi where they are maintained by the Special Collections branch of the J.D. Williams Library. (March 21)

2000: Sociologist Romeo Benjamin Garrett died in East Peoria, Illinois. (March 22)



Retired journalism Professor Jere Hoar to be honored with reception April 5

March 13, 2002

By Patsy R. Brumfeld
University of Mississippi News Services

OXFORD, Miss. — Donors to an honorary scholarship fund and other friends of retired University of Mississippi journalism professor Dr. Jere Hoar are invited to an April 5 reception on the University of Mississippi-Oxford campus.

“Jere has meant a great deal to our program and to his students — it is only fitting that we recognize him,” said journalism department chair Dr. Stuart J. Bullion.

The event honoring Hoar begins at 5:30 p.m. in Brandt-Memory House on University Avenue. Held during the university’s Red-Blue Weekend, the reception immediately follows the annual Journalism Awards Day program in Farley Hall. Hoar is the program’s featured guest speaker.

“Dr. Hoar has all the attributes of a good, tough editor, and he made us appreciate the importance of sound reporting and lucid writing. He impressed on us his unswerving dedication to truth and ethics,” wrote Curtis Wilkie, a 1963 UM graduate, in a letter inviting donations to the Jere Hoar Scholarship fund. Wilkie, of New Orleans, is a book author and former international reporter for The Boston Globe and a visiting journalism professor this spring at UM-Oxford.

“There can be no greater honor for a teacher than for his former students to found a scholarship in his name, giving opportunity to students of the future,” Hoar said. “I’m touched and very pleased.”

According to University of Mississippi Foundation officials, the Hoar scholarship fund is among the University’s fastest growing endowments of its kind. Bullion attributes this response to the respect and admiration Hoar’s students have for him. “They are doing this out of gratitude for what Jere gave to journalism education, and because they want to support the department,” he said.

While no longer in the educational system, Hoar has by no means retired, as he is working on his second book — a thriller — and living on his small farm outside of Oxford where he raises, trains and hunts with English setter bird dogs, trains herding dogs and enters them in competition trials, and tends three Tennessee Walking horses and a flock of registered St. Croix sheep.

For details about the journalism events, contact the department at 662-915-7146. To contribute to the Hoar Scholarship fund, contact the University Foundation at 662-915-5944.


Faulkner Newsletter & Yoknapatawpha Review ceases publication after 20 years

March 20, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — A quarterly newsletter devoted to Nobel Prize-winning writer William Faulkner has ceased publication after a 20-year run.

The Faulkner Newsletter & Yoknapatawpha Review, which began publication in 1981, has ceased publication as of its October 2001 issue, according to a notice on the Yoknaptawpha Press web site, which published the newsletter.

Edited by William Boozer and published by Lawrence Wells and Dean Faulkner Wells, William Faulkner’s niece, the newsletter covered a variety of news and information about the life, the writings, and the places associated with William Faulkner.

A total of 80 issues were published during the publication’s two decades. In 1994, a bound edition of the first 54 issues was published, along with an index, under the title The Faulkner Newsletter: Collected Issues. According to the publisher’s web site, plans are underway to produce a similar index for the remaining 26 issues, though the publication date is not yet available.

A limited number of back issues are available from the publisher at $10.00 per issue.

On the web page announcing the cessation of publication, the newsletter staff “expresses regret that its publication must cease, along with their gratitude to longtime subscribers for loyal support and encouragement.”


Saks Incorporated Fellowships available to high school teachers for 2002 Faulkner Conference

March 21, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — Thirty high school teachers chosen from applicants in five Southern states will be attending the University’s 29th annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference, July 21-26, 2002, without cost, thanks to fellowships funded by Saks Incorporated Foundation, on behalf of McRae’s, Proffitt’s and Parisian department stores. English and literature instructors in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee are eligible to apply.

The Saks Incorporated Fellowships will provide the registration fee and cover expenses for the six-day conference and teacher workshops, including instructional materials and supplies, dormitory lodging, a travel stipend, and a meal stipend. The University will award 3.9 Continuing Education Units for the teacher workshops and the conference sessions.

The application deadline is April 10. Notification will be made by May 10.

Requests for fellowship application forms should be submitted to Faulkner Conference-Saks Incorporated Fellowships, The University of Mississippi, P.O. Box 879, University, MS, 38677-0879. For further information regarding the teacher workshops, teachers may contact the University of Mississippi Center for Non-Credit Education by telephone (662-915-7282) or e-mail (


Hattiesburg has a new writers organization

Hattiesburg Area Writers Guild
651 Archie Smith Road
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
Telephone: 601-264-1007
For more information, contact Robin Nobles,

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

NEW BOOKS from or about Mississippi

Laugh Track
By David Galef
University Press of Mississippi (Hardcover, $25.00, ISBN: 1578064228) Publication date: March 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Fifteen far-ranging and idiosyncratic glimpses of life most often from a dark, quixotic psychosocial perspective make up this collection, selected from more than 60 published stories by Galef (Turning Japanese; Flesh). The topics are curious and far-ranging: the last day of an over-the-hill mob enforcer (“Butch”), the struggles of a blocked gag writer who plays canned laughter at his therapy sessions (“Laugh Track”), the interaction between a chimerical landlord and a novelist who has come to Mexico to work on a memoir (“The Landlord”) and the angst of an American lawyer who tries to forget his gay lover by running off to Greece (“All Cretans”).

The opening vignette (“You”) imagines the day of the author’s conception, and a third-grade teacher whose love-life is on the skids acts out her sexual frustration on a precocious male student in “Triptych.” The tersely noted impressions of a juror in “Jury Duty” and a college instructor’s wry account of his eccentric writing workshop in “Metafiction” up the humor quotient, while arguably the darkest and most affecting of the stories is “Dear, Dirty Paris,” which recounts the experience of a high school student on her maiden trip to the City of Light. Her parents entrust her to the care of two rather questionable men who had provided them with a similar introduction to the city in their youth.

Though well crafted, this set is likely a bit obscure for mainstream readers, but fans of literary fiction will be won over by Galef’s ironic and enigmatic sensibility. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

The Peddler’s Grandson: Growing Up Jewish in Mississippi
By Edward Cohen
Delta (Paperback, $12.95, ISBN: 0385335911)
Publication date: January 2002

Description from Booklist::

Cohen grew up in Jackson, Mississippi, in the 1950s and 1960s. In a city of 100,000 people, mostly Baptists, he was one of about 300 Jews. His immigrant grandparents settled there, coming from Romania, Russia, and Poland. Cohen remembers that the only Jewish institution in town was Temple Beth Israel, located next door to the state women’s club, which didn’t allow Jews, and down the street from his high school, which did allow Jews but not blacks. Farther north was the Jackson Country Club, which allowed neither. Cohen’s grandfather and great uncle founded a clothing store in Jackson, where his father worked all his life and where the author worked every Saturday for much of his childhood. Cohen describes how he left Mississippi for college (the University of Miami), where he met northern Jews and felt again like an outsider because of what he termed his southerness. This thoughtful and beautifully written memoir is a revelation about the allure of assimilation and the evasiveness of identity. —George Cohen


AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

March 26: Warren County Vicksburg Public Library, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 12 noon
March 26: Lemuria, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.
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 26: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.
Author James Reese will read and sign copies of his novel The Book of Shadows.

March 27: Lee-Itawamba Library, Tupelo, Mississippi, 12 noon
March 27: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.
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.

March 28: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m.
Thacker Mountain Radio, featuring Suzanne Kingsbury, author of The Summer Fletcher Greel Loved Me. Musical Guest: TBA.

March 28: Bondurant Hall Auditorium, University of Mississippi campus, Oxford, Mississippi, 8:00 p.m.
The 30th Annual Savage Lecture in the Renaissance. Dr. David Scott Kasten of Columbia University is this year’s James Edwin Savage lecturer. Sponsored by the University of Mississippi English Department.

April 3: Barnard Observatory lecture hall, University of Mississippi campus, Oxford, Mississippi, 12 noon
Lecture: “Yoknapatawpha 2001: Town & Country.” Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture Series presentation by University of Mississippi students in a documentary fieldwork class. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture,

April 5: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.
Richard Ford returns to Square Books in Oxford with a new collection of short stories, A Multitude of Sins.

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



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

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,

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:

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

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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