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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for May 10-16, 2002.

In this issue:


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

1885: Writer William Alexander Percy, who became legal guardian of his cousin Walker Percy after the death of Walker’s parents, was born in Greenville, Mississippi. (May 14)

1892: English professor Palmer Hudson was born in Attala County, Mississippi. (May 14)

1904: Historian John C. Osborn was born in Learned, Mississippi. (May 15)

1909: Theologian and philosopher James Brown was born in Laurel, Mississippi. (May 12)

1925: William Faulkner published “The Cobbler” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (May 10)

1941: Poet and fiction writer Paul Ruffin was born in Millport, Alabama. (May 14)

1942: Go Down, Moses, an episodic novel by William Faulkner, was published under the mistaken title Go Down, Moses, and Other Stories by Random House. Faulkner’s original title was restored to subsequent editions. (May 11)

1952: William Faulkner addressed the Delta Council in Cleveland, Mississippi. (May 15)

1952: William Faulkner left Mississippi for a one-month trip to France, England, and Norway. (May 16)

1953: Mystery and romance novelist Carolyn Haines was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. (May 12)

1977: Tennessee Williams’ play Vieux Carre opened at St. James Theatre, New York. It closed after ruinous notices and only five performances. (May 11)

1990: Walker Percy died of cancer in Covington, Louisiana. (May 10)

1990: Filmmaker and puppeteer Jim Henson, renowned as the creator of the popular Muppets characters, died of pneumonia in New York City. (May 16)


William Faulkner program on C-SPAN to re-air May 10, also available on Internet

May 10, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. — William Faulkner once wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

That adage is proven true once again, at least with regards to a television program on Faulkner that was originally telecast live on May 5, 2002, from Rowan Oak, his home in Oxford from 1930 until his death in 1962.

Faulkner’s life and work were the focus of a live two-hour broadcast for C-SPAN’s original series American Writers II: The Twentieth Century, which explores the country’s history through selected writers and examines what their work means to Americans today. The broadcast originated from inside the main house, which remains closed to the public because of renovations.

The program is scheduled to re-air on C-SPAN tonight at 8 p.m. EDT. But even if you miss its second showing on the public affairs network, you can still view the program over the web via the series website,, which archives video from each of the live broadcasts.

“It’s doubtful that they could have a series on American writers and not include Faulkner. C-SPAN’s visit is very significant and very right,” said William D. Griffith, curator of Rowan Oak, which is owned by the University of Mississippi.

Viewer questions fueled discussion by Dr. Don Kartiganer, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies at the University of Mississippi, and Thadious M. Davis, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. Much of the discussion centered on Faulkner’s life and his first major work, The Sound and the Fury, but the discussion touched on other topics and works by Faulkner as well.

Kartiganer has written widely on Faulkner and is director of the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference. Among Davis’ publications is The Game of Property: Race, Gender, and Law in Faulkner’s “Go Down, Moses.”

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

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

Month-by-Month Gardening in MississippiMonth-by-Month Gardening in Mississippi
By Felder Rushing
Cool Springs Press (Paperback, $19.99, ISBN: 1930604807)
Publication date: April 2002

Description from the publisher:

Gardening is now the favorite leisure pastime in America. Homeowners are realizing the health benefits derived from gardening and the increase in their home’s property value. Book retailers are well aware that the trend in gardening books is to regional titles that provide credible information on the plants that perform well in specific regions.

Month-by-Month Gardening in Mississippi is written by the highly popular gardening expert Felder Rushing. Contains monthly advice on what to do and when to do it in the garden. The book contains 12 plant categories ranging from annuals to vines.

Yonder Stands Your OrphanYonder Stands Your Orphan
By Barry Hannah
Grove Press (Paperback, $13.00, ISBN: 0802138934)
Publication date: May 2002

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Hallelujah! After a 10-year absence, Hannah (Airships; High Lonesome) is back with a vengeance with a Southern gothic novel full of every kind of excess: violence, sex, religiosity, creepiness and humor. Here we have Tennessee Williams, Flannery O’Connor, Harry Crews, Peter Dexter and Clyde Edgerton all squished together, baked in hush-puppy batter, dipped in honey and sprinkled with Jim Beam.

Set in a lake community in the vicinity of Vicksburg, Miss., the story revolves around a fellow named Man Mortimer, a thief, pimp and murderer and those are his good qualities who physically resembles the late country singer Conway Twitty. On his trail are Byron Egan, a somewhat reformed biker-turned-preacher and prophet, and Max Raymond, a former doctor who plays saxophone in a bar band and has an attractive Cuban wife who sings, sometimes for the band, sometimes nude in her back yard. Meanwhile, the young town sheriff, distrusted since he hails from the North, manages to shock even the most degenerate denizens of the area with his affair with a luscious 72-year-old widow.

The plot is kaleidoscopic, with flashes and slashes of wonder, humor and the macabre expertly mixed. Hannah tosses off linguistic gems on almost every page: “... sometimes he felt he was a whole torn country, afire in all quadrants.” Describing a car, “It smelled like very lonely oil men.”

Reading today’s fiction is too often like eating stale bread. With Hannah (finalist for the American Book Award and the National Book Award), just imagine your most mouthwatering meal, take a double helping and you’ve come close to the pleasure of reading this book. —Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

May 13: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Writer Barry Gifford will read and sign copies of his newest book, American Falls: The Collected Stories. Visit for details.

May 16: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Pamela Petro will read and discuss her new book, Sitting Up With the Dead: A Storied Journey through the American South. Visit for details.

May 17: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Australian novelist Tim Winton will read and sign copies of his novel Dirt Music. Visit for details.

May 18-19: Lake Tiak-O’Khata, Louisville, Mississippi

The Mississippi Poetry Society, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, will hold its Spring Festival at Lake Tiak-O’Khata, near Louisville, on May 18 and 19. Featured speaker will be Carolyn Elkins, an assistant professor of English at Delta State University since 1989. She has presented poetry and writing workshops at the local, state, and national levels. She has given more than 50 poetry readings in the last several years, is a published poet and short story writer. She is a member of the Mississippi Poetry Society as well as several other writing and poetry groups. Her poems have been published in such periodicals as Asheville Poetry Review, New Delta Review, Earth News, and Tapestry.

Jeanne Kelly, current Poet of the Year, will also be on hand to sign her new collection, published by MPS, From Sunrise to Sunset. Awards will be given for winning poetry in the annual contest.

For more information on the event, contact Brenda Finnegan, MPS president, at or Dr. Emory D. Jones at

May 23: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

M.A. Harper will read from her second novel, The Worst Day of My Life, So Far. Visit for details.

May 24: Lemuria Books, Jackson, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Claire T. Feild, author of Mississippi Delta Women in Prism, will be signing from her book of narrative poems. Visit for details.

May 24-26: Yazoo City, Mississippi

“Remembering Willie: A Yazoo Celebration,” a festival held in honor of famous former Yazoo City resident Willie Morris. Among the authors and speakers are Kaye Gibbons, Barry Hannah, Clifton Taulbert, and Claire T. Feild.

May 25: Ricks Memorial Library in Yazoo City, Mississippi, 10 a.m.-12 noon

Claire T. Feild, author of Mississippi Delta Women in Prism, will be signing from her book of narrative poems.

May 26: Ricks Memorial Library in Yazoo City, Mississippi, 10 a.m.-12 noon

Claire T. Feild, author of Mississippi Delta Women in Prism, will be signing from her book of narrative poems.

July 21-26: 29th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference
“Faulkner and His Contemporaries”
The University of Mississippi, Oxford

Conference and registration information is now available on the web at the

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.

June 26, 2002

Novelist Joe Kanon will read and sign copies of his historical thriller The Good German, at Square Books in Oxford. Visit for details.

November 11, 2002

Poetry Reading by J. D. McClatchy, Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.

February 6, 2003

U.S. Poet Laureate (2001-2002) Billy Collins reads from his poetry and offers commentary on his work and other matters. Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.

February 17, 2003

A reading by Clifton L. Taulbert on the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford.

April 10-13, 2003

Oxford Conference for the Book, Oxford, Mississippi.

July 20-25, 2003

30th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi

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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