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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for October 25-31, 2002

In this issue:


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

1795: The Treaty of San Lorenzo is signed, in which Spain turns over to the United States all its territory between the 31st parallel and the Yazoo River. (Oct. 27)

1914: Historian W. Magruder Drake was born in Natchez, Mississippi. (Oct. 28)

1916: Novelist and poet Charles G. Bell was born in Greenville, Mississippi. (Oct. 31)

1921: Historian Otis Arnold Singletary, Jr. was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. (Oct. 31)

1922: Science fiction/fantasy writer George Smith was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Oct. 27)

1924: William Faulkner resigned as postmaster for the University, Mississippi, post office. (Oct. 31)

1926: Theologian Roy L. Honeycutt, Jr. was born in Grenada, Mississippi. (Oct. 30)

1929: Poet and fiction writer Jean Todd Freeman was born in Lumberton, Mississippi. (Oct. 27)

1930: William Faulkner published “Red Leaves” in the Saturday Evening Post. (Oct. 25)

1936: Absalom, Absalom!, a novel by William Faulkner, was published by Random House. (Oct. 26)

1936: Historian Thomas S. Hines was born in Oxford, Mississippi. (Oct. 28)

1941: Biographer, lyricist, and freelance writer Ellis Nassour was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Oct. 25)

1942: English professor Ted L. Estess was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (Oct. 29)

1948: Writer David Davis was born. (Oct. 29)

1951: William Faulkner received the Legion of Honor in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Oct. 26)

1953: William Faulkner returned to New York after leaving Oxford, Mississippi, the previous year (mid-November) to work on A Fable in Princeton and New York. He alternated between there and Oxford. (Oct. 31)

1954: Writer Jim Fraiser was born in New Orleans. (Oct. 27)

1960: The Graduation Dress, teleplay by William Faulkner and Joan Williams, was broadcast on General Electric Theatre. (Oct. 30)

1980: The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty was published by Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich, New York. (Oct. 29)

1997: Writers Donna Tartt and Anne Rice were the guests on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation radio show on the topic “Halloween: Gothic Literature.” (Oct. 30)


Playwright Beth Henley’s mother stabbed to death

Oct. 25, 2002

JACKSON, Miss. — (AP) A convicted felon on probation has been charged with capital murder for the stabbing death yesterday of Mississippi stage actress Lydy Becker Caldwell, mother of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Beth Henley.

Willie Earl Wilson, 33, was arrested 10 minutes after the 74-year-old Caldwell died, said police spokesman Robert Graham.

“Wilson gained entry to Caldwell’s home through a side door that was unlocked,” Graham said. “He beat and stabbed her, stole money out of her house and drove away in her silver 2000 Buick LeSabre.”

Police found Caldwell in an upstairs bedroom after receiving an anonymous call reporting trouble at the home, Graham said.

Funeral services are 2 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 26) at St. James Episcopal Church in Jackson with burial in Lakewood Memorial Park.

A spokesman for Beth Henley, a Jackson native whose works include Crimes of the Heart and The Miss Firecracker Contest, said Thursday the playwright was informed of her mother’s death in a telephone call to her California home.

Wilson was arrested after an officer spotted a vehicle fitting the description of Caldwell’s car, Graham said.

“He stopped the driver and took him into custody,” Graham said.

Wilson has a long criminal history.

Related articles from The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi)
Lydy Caldwell beaten, stabbed during break-in; felon arrested (25 Oct. 2002)
‘I can't imagine a world without her’ (25 Oct. 2002)


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

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

William Faulkner: Six Decades of Criticism

Edited by Linda Wagner-Martin

Michigan State University Press (Hardcover, $29.95, ISBN: 0870136127)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Few twentieth-century writers are as revered as William Faulkner. This collection brings together the best literary criticism on Faulkner from the last six decades, detailing the imaginative and passionate responses to his still-controversial novels. By focusing on the criticism rather than the works, Linda Wagner-Martin shows the primary directions in Faulkner’s influence on critics, writers, and students of American literature today. This invaluable volume reveals the patterns of change in literary criticism over time, while exploring the various critical streams—language theory, feminism, deconstruction, and psychoanalysis—that have elevated Faulkner’s work to the highest rank of the American literary pantheon.

Linda Wagner-Martin is Hanes Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Recent books include A Historical Guide to Ernest Hemingway, “Favored Strangers”: Gertrude Stein and Her Family, Sylvia Plath: A Literary Life, and a cultural edition of Gertrude Stein’s Three Lives.

In the Land of Dreamy DreamsIn the Land of Dreamy Dreams

By Ellen Gilchrist

Voices of the South Series

Louisiana State University Press (Paperback, $26.95, ISBN: 0807128295)

First published in 1981

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams is Ellen Gilchrist’s fabled first collection of stories, the book that won her acclaim in 1981 and to which each of her subsequent works has been compared. Peopled largely with young southern females who chafe against the restrictions of their upper-class lives, these stories convey the humor and tragedy to be found wherever retreat into imagination is preferred over reality. Introduced here are Nora Jane Whittington, Rhoda Manning, and other recurring Gilchrist characters beloved for their failures, tenacity, and all-too-human hope in the face of frustrated love.

Raising Positive Kids in a Negative WorldRaising Positive Kids in a Negative World

By Zig Ziglar

Thomas Nelson (Paperback, $14.99, ISBN: 0785264787)

First published in 1985

Publication date: October 2002


A child is not a computer that can be programmed to perform according to our desires. Each child is a unique human being with the free will to choose their path in life. With this in mind, Zig Ziglar shows parents how they can help their kids build a foundation of character from which to make the right choices in life. By modeling attitudes and actions that bring about positive results, parents can help their kids understand that life can be positive and that they have incredible worth in God’s eyes. Drawing from his “I CAN” course which has been taught to over three million participants in over 5000 schools, Ziglar provides sensible guidelines to help parents handle a variety of issues including drugs, discipline, encouragement, television, and dating and sex.

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

Aug. 1-Nov. 4: J. D. Williams Library, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi

“Civil Rights, Mississippi, and the Novelist’s Craft.” This exhibit highlights fictional accounts set in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, including works by Ellen Douglas, Patrick D. Smith, Elizabeth Spencer, Eudora Welty, Lewis Nordan, William Mahoney, Joan Williams, and many others. Supplementing the display of books will be correspondence, manuscripts, and related ephemera drawn from the archive’s literary collections. Located in the Hall of Mississippi Writers in the Special Collections Department, J. D. Williams Library. Open 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays. For more information, please contact: Leigh McWhite, (662) 915-7937,

Nov. 11: Bondurant Hall Auditorium, University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 7:00 p.m.

Poetry Reading by J. D. McClatchy. He is the author of four books of poetry, including The Rest of the Way (1992) and Ten Commandments (1998), two collections of essays, and has edited numerous books, including The Vintage Book of World Poetry (1996) and The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990). Since 1991 he has been editor of The Yale Review, and in 1996 he was named a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. Sponsored by the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Series and the Department of English. For more information, contact the English Department at (662) 915-7687,

Nov. 12: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:00 p.m.

Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides, Beach Music and The Great Santini, will be at Square Books to read and sign copies of his new book, My Losing Season. For more information, visit the Square Books web site,

Nov. 14: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 5:30 p.m.

Donna Tartt, author of The Secret History, will sign and read from her long-awaited second novel, The Little Friend, at Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. For more information, visit the Square Books web site,

Nov. 14: Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi, 4:00 p.m.

Mary Carol Miller will sign copies of Lost Landmarks of Mississippi. For more information, visit the Square Books web site,

If you know of upcoming literary events by or about 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.

January 16, 2003

Poetry Reading by Tom Chandler, 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.

March 25, 2003

Poetry Reading by Andrew Hudgins, Bondurant Hall Auditorium, The University of Mississippi campus, in Oxford.

March 26-30, 2003

Seventeenth Annual Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival, New Orleans, Louisiana. For information, visit their web site at

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 of Mississippi community, see the Ole Miss Community Calendar:

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