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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for February 28-March 6, 2003

In this issue:


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

1863: Suffragist and state legislator Belle Kearney was born in Madison County, Mississippi. (March 6)

1906: Mystery writer William T. Brannon was born in Meridian, Mississippi. (March 3)

1921: Marionettes, a one-act play by William Faulkner, was first produced at the University of Mississippi. (March 4)

1922: Con Leslie Sellers, Jr., who wrote more than 100 novels in several genres using different pseudonyms such as Robert Crane and Lee Raintree, was born in Shubuta, Mississippi. (March 1)

1925: William Faulkner published “Jealousy” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (March 1)

1932: William Faulkner published “Turnabout” in the Saturday Evening Post; it was the basis for a film called Today We Live, which premiered in Oxford at the Lyric Theatre April 12, 1933. (March 5)

1938: Sociologist Charles F. Longino, Jr., was born in Brookhaven, Mississippi. (March 3)

1940: Richard Wright published Native Son by Harper and Brothers. Book of the Month Club offered it as one of its two main selections. In three weeks it had sold 215,000 copies. (March 1)

1952: Mystery writer Nevada Barr was born in Yerington, Nevada. (March 1)

1954: Bobby Delaughter, author of Never Too Late: A Prosecutor’s Story of Justice in the Medgar Evers Case, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (Feb. 28)

1958: William Faulkner arrived in Princeton to spend two weeks at the University for Council on the Humanities. (March 1)

1988: Theologian Paul Ramsey died of a heart attack in Princeton, New Jersey. (Feb. 29)

1989: Historian E. Wilson Lyon died in Pomona, California, following a long illness. (March 4)

1993: Ann Ruff, writer of numerous travel books about Texas, died. (March 4)


Retired Mississippi State University historian helping plan upcoming national tributes

Feb. 25, 2003

STARKVILLE, Miss. — A Civil War scholar and retired Mississippi State history professor is among a team of national experts helping commemorate two 19th century milestones.

John F. Marszalek is one of 15 members of the Scholars Advisory Committee at the Mariners Museum in Newport News, Va.

In cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the museum is raising the USS Monitor, the prototype Union Civil War ship involved in the first battle of armor-plated vessels. Not long after its historic 1862 encounter with the Confederacy’s CSS Virginia (formerly the Merrimack), the Monitor sank in rough waters off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

“The Mariners’ Museum has been designated to care for artifacts from the Monitor, which was the first of a new class of warships for its time,” Marszalek said. “The planned USS Monitor Center will open in 2007 to display the artifacts, tell the historical story of naval warfare and the Civil War, and provide more information on the famous Monitor-Merrimac battle that changed warfare at sea.”

Marszalek also is among approximately 100 academic, business and political experts on President Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War era asked to serve on an advisory committee to the congressionally established Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The committee will have a major role in planning a national 200th birthday celebration in 2009 of America’s 16th president and first Republican chief executive.

One of MSU’s top William L. Giles Distinguished Professors, Marszalek has authored 11 books and more than 150 articles over his 30-year career. Retired since June, he currently is at work on a biography of the Civil War’s longest-serving commanding general, Henry W. Halleck. The book is scheduled to be published in 2004 by Harvard University Press.

Revived Oprah book club to focus on classics

Feb. 27, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah’s Book Club is back, and this time she’s sticking to the classics. Winfrey revealed Wednesday night that she was bringing back her club after a 10-month hiatus. She said she had been reading works by William Shakespeare, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway and wanted to celebrate these and other writers from the past.

“I’m back in the business of recommending books … but with a difference,” she told the Association of American Publishers in Washington, D.C. Winfrey, who received a standing ovation, was being honored at the annual meeting for her contributions to publishing.

She did not say when she would make her first new pick, or who the first author would be. She expects to make three to five choices a year, and plans to visit a location related to the book or author.

The new club is tentatively titled “Traveling With the Classics.” Winfrey suspended her book picks last April, later saying she didn’t have enough time to keep up monthly selections.

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The following article was recently added to the Writer Listings:

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

The Briar KingThe Briar King

By Greg Keyes

Del Rey (Hardcover, $24.95, ISBN: 0345440668)

Publication date: January 2003

Description from Publishers Weekly:

The author of the bestselling Age of Unreason tetralogy (The Waterborn, etc.) inaugurates the Kingdoms of Throne and Bone quartet with this epic high fantasy. The inhabitants of this splendid and dauntingly complex parallel world, Everon, are mostly descended from folk magically transported from our world. This is not quite the land of Faerie, although the Briar King resembles the old Celtic horned god Cernunnos, while Keyes brings his expertise as a fencing teacher to the swordplay, here called dessrata. The Empire of Crotheny faces war with its arch-rival, the Hanzish, and magical intrigues aimed at preventing the land from having a born queen (as opposed to a king’s consort). By book’s end, Princess Anne, the daughter of the Crotheny king, is fleeing for her life with Austra, her maid, and Cazio, a young Vitellian nobleman, having earlier experienced the pains of discipline in a convent and the horrors of having her family butchered. With aplomb, the author employs one of the most classic fantasy plots: the heir(ess) with a destiny and a necessarily huge cast of supporters. Keyes mixes cultures, religions, institutions and languages with rare skill. The main theme may emerge with formidable slowness, but patient readers will find the rewards enormously worthwhile. —Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


By Beth Henley

Dramatists Play Service (Paperback, $5.95, ISBN: 0822218771)

Publication date: January 2003

Description from Dramatists Play Service:

Revelers [is] a powerhouse of poetic dialogue… This lighthearted comedy with undertones of despair is a frolic well worth taking.” —Southern Dutchess News.

THE STORY: The play takes place in a cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan where devotees of Dash Grey, the charismatic artistic director of Chicago’s Red Lantern Theatre, have come to commemorate his death. Jasper Dale (Dash’s ex-lover) is in charge of the elaborate proceedings. In a desperate attempt to save the struggling Red Lantern Theatre, Jasper taints the event by including Kate Spoon, a wealthy, talent-free matron, who insists on being regarded as an artist. As the play proceeds, Caroleena Lark, a psychic orphan, who has sacrificed her life for the theatre discovers that Kate Spoon is going to have her fired. Other complications occur when Eddy Canary, a middle-aged homeless playwright, shows up hoping to resurrect his love affair with Victor Lloyd. Victor, or Vickie, is a beautiful, modestly gifted protégé of the deceased who has become a success in Hollywood. She arrives in a state of nerves having nearly been blown to bits in a high-tech science-fiction adventure film written and directed by the young Hollywood genius Timothy Harold.


By Beth Henley

Dramatists Play Service (Paperback, $5.95, ISBN: 0822218763)

Publication date: January 2003

Description from Dramatists Play Service:

Signature makes a disturbing imprint with its impression of the future … to say we’d better take notice or we’re doomed.” —Poughkeepsie Journal.

THE STORY: Two brothers, Boswell and Maxwell, are living in Los Angeles in the year 2052. Knowing he is seriously ill, Boswell seeks to revive his fame as a once acclaimed art philosopher. In his obsession to leave a legacy, a signature, he pushes away the love of a young woman (named William) who is a dedicated worker on the Splat Out Crew. The younger brother, Maxwell, becomes so distraught when his wife, L-Tip, divorces him on video divorce that he calls up the Euthanasia Hot Line and requests to be “euthed” because of a broken heart. Max is thus transformed into an icon of twenty-first-century romantic love and suddenly discovers the wonders of glamour and the price of fame.

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

March 19: Barnard Observatory lecture hall, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 12:00 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch and Lecture: “The Artistic Passionate Eye of Eudora Welty,” by Katherine Wiener, a Jackson scholar. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture,

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.

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 20-24, 2003

30th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi. Information and registration forms available at

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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