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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for April 4-10, 2003

In this issue:


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

1682: Following a journey down the Mississippi River from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claims the entire Mississippi River watershed for France and names it Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV. (April 9)

1862: The Battle of Shiloh, the first major battle in the western theater of the American Civil War, began near Pittsburgh Landing along the Tennessee River, a few miles north of Corinth, Mississippi. The attacking Confederates on this first day were initially victorious, pushing Union troops under the command of Ulysses S. Grant back to a line of defenses near the river, although the Confederate commanding general, Albert Sidney Johnston, was hit in the leg and bled to death as his personal surgeon attended to other wounded. (April 6)

1862: The Battle of Shiloh concluded with a Union counterattack that overwhelmed Confederate forces under General Pierre G. T. Beauregard, who succeeded Albert Sidney Johnston as commander after his death on the first day of the battle. The Confederate forces retreated to Corinth, Mississippi, and then to Tupelo, Mississippi. (April 7)

1911: Theologian H. Leo Eddleman was born in Morgantown, Mississippi. (April 4)

1925: William Faulkner published “Cheest” in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. (April 5)

1937: Historian James W. Hammack Jr. was born in Scooba, Mississippi. (April 5)

1940: Historian Eric N. Moody was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi. (April 4)

1942: Historian John Worthington Jeffries was born in Oxford, Mississippi. (April 6)

1967: The Wishing Tree, by William Faulkner, was published in the Saturday Evening Post. (April 8)

1939: Historian Jimmie Lewis Franklin was born in Moscow, Mississippi. (April 10)

1951: Journalist Frank Trippett married Betty Timberlake. (April 6)

1953: Children’s author Jerdine Nolen was born in Crystal Springs, Mississippi. (April 6)

1955: The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories by Eudora Welty was published by Harcourt, Brace and Company in New York. (April 6)

1967: The Wishing Tree, by William Faulkner, was published in the Saturday Evening Post. (April 8)

1981: Journalist Mark Foster Ethridge died after several strokes in Chatham County, North Carolina. (April 5)

2000: A new play by Beth Henley, Family Week, opened at the Off-Broadway Century Theatre for the Performing Arts in New York, starring Angelina Phillips, Rose Gregorio, and Carol Kane, and directed by Ulu Grosbard. It closed after one week. (April 10)


10th Oxford Book Conference celebrates novelist, drama critic Stark Young

April 10-13 event brings creative writing, publishing scene home for beginners

April 4, 2003

By Deidra Jackson
University of Mississippi News Services

OXFORD, Miss. — Novelist, playwright and drama critic Stark Young, a versatile figure in the Southern literary renaissance, is paid a tribute during the 10th Oxford Conference for the Book April 10-13 at the University of Mississippi.

A University of Mississippi alumnus and faculty member from 1905-1907, Young was born in Como and reared in Oxford in the historic Walton-Young House, a Mississippi landmark at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street. He died in 1963.

This year’s four-day conference of panel discussions, book-signings and social events slates readings and discussions by noted writers, editors, publishers and literary advocates. The event also celebrates National Poetry Month in one of its most popular segments of readings and remarks by celebrated poets.

Most conference sessions are in Johnson Commons on campus and are free to the public, unless otherwise noted.

“Year after year, the Oxford Conference for the Book draws an outstanding assemblage of writers, literary critics, publishers and literature lovers to the Southern literary mecca that is Oxford,” said Ann Abadie, associate director of the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “We have a spectacular lineup.”

Novelist Tom Franklin, last year’s UM John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence, said he awaits the literary gathering: “I’m really looking forward to it—it’s just about my favorite weekend in Oxford, and Oxford has a lot of amazing weekends. The readings, the parties, going en masse out to Taylor, well, I’ve got to figure out a way not to sleep.”

During the conference, Franklin will read from his new novel, Hell at the Breech, to be released by William Morrow in May.

“I think the organizers do an amazing job of bringing in a range of exciting authors, both well-established and newer voices,” said poet Beth Ann Fennelly, a UM assistant professor of English and conference panelist. Her book Open House won the 2001 Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry for a First Book and her new book, Tender Hooks, will be published in 2004.

“The atmosphere is very laid back and social, with a lot of opportunities for the conference participants to get to know each other and Oxford, as well as hearing some of the best poetry, fiction, and nonfiction being written today.”

Stark Young devoted his life to the arts and achieved recognition for his contributions as a poet, teacher, playwright, director, fiction writer, essayist, translator and painter. He wrote four successful novels, including in 1934 So Red the Rose, which became a best seller and a movie.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, the conference hosts an informal kickoff on Thacker Mountain Radio, with a live broadcast on 95.5 FM from Off Square Books in downtown Oxford. The event features live music and readings by authors Robert Stone and Percival Everett.

A “Meet the Speakers” cocktail buffet dinner begins at 7 at Isom Place. Reservations are required, and proceeds benefit the conference. Cost is $50 per person.

The conference begins at 9 a.m Friday with a welcome by Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books, and a writers workshop, “Submitting Manuscripts/Working One’s Way Into Print.” Novelist Barry Hannah moderates that discussion.

Panelists are Jere Hoar, novelist, UM emeritus professor of journalism and attorney; Beau Friedlander, Context Books publisher and editor-in-chief; Scott M. Morris, novelist and UM instructor in English; Kathy Pories, senior editor, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill; George Singleton, writer and teacher at South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities; and Shay Youngblood, poet, playwright, fiction writer, screenwriter and UM’s current Grisham Writer-in-Residence.

Hannah also moderates a 10:30 a.m. writers workshop, “Finding a Voice/Reaching an Audience.” Slated on the panel are Helene Atwan, director of Beacon Press; John Evans, owner of Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson; Percival Everett, fiction writer and professor of English at the University of Southern California; Robert Stone, novelist; and Crystal Wilkinson, writer-in-residence at Eastern Kentucky University.

Other Friday workshops include “Algonquin Books: Discussion,” 2 p.m.; “Race and Publishing in America,” 3:30 p.m.; and “How to Get the Most from a Creative Writing Workshop,” at 8 p.m. A 7 p.m. reservations-only cocktail reception at Off Square Books costs $25 per person.

Saturday sessions are “The Endangered Species: Readers Today and Tomorrow,” 9 a.m.; “Writing Memoirs,” 10:30 a.m.; “Stark Young Program” sponsored by the North Mississippi Storytellers Guild, noon; “Stark Young: A Southerner in the Arts,” 2 p.m.; and “Selections from Stark Young’s Works,” at 3 p.m.

Other panels are, Saturday, “Third World Thrillers,” 4:30 p.m.; “Open Mike—Poetry & Fiction Jam,” 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday, “Appalachian Voices,” 9 a.m.; “Books on the Civil Rights Movement,” 1:30 p.m.; and “Poetry: Readings and Remarks, Celebration of National Poetry Month,” at 3 p.m. The conference concludes with a reservations-required country dinner in Taylor, south of Oxford. Cost is $25 per person.

Conference sponsors are the Center for the Study of Southern Culture; departments of English, History, and Journalism; John D. Williams Library; McDonnell-Barksdale Honors College; John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Fund; Barksdale Reading Institute; Sarah Isom Center for Women; University Museums; Junior Auxiliary of Oxford; Lafayette County Literacy Council and Square Books. It is partially funded by the university and grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council and the Tribal-State Compact Fund.

For more information or reservations to the two dinners or cocktail reception, contact the UM Center for the Study of Southern Culture at 662-915-5993 or for a schedule go to Those requiring special assistance because of a disability also should contact CSSC.

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


The following article was recently added to the Writer Listings:

NEW BOOKS by Mississippi Writers

Crossed BonesCrossed Bones

By Carolyn Haines

Delacorte Press (Hardcover, $23.95, ISBN: 0385336594)

Publication date: April 2003

Description from Booklist:

Reluctant southern belle and PI Sarah Booth Delaney is hired by Ida Mae Keys to exonerate Scott Hampton, the man who is accused of killing Ida’s husband, blues pianist Ivory Keys. Hampton, a former racist and Ivory’s protege, maintains his innocence, but the murder weapon and some bloodstained cash are found in his possession. Hampton’s offensive attitude and lack of cooperation hinder Sarah Booth, but she perseveres despite the rising racial tension in her rural Mississippi community. Sarah Booth’s life is further complicated by her attraction to Sheriff Coleman Peters, who has just returned to his wife to try to save his marriage. Despite the serious issues addressed in the story, the mood is lightened by the commentary of Sarah’s partner, Tinkie, and the ghost of her great-great-grandmother’s nanny, both of whom believe that Sarah Booth should be wedded and bedded. Sarah Booth is a charming, likable hero, and this fourth installment of her series continues to provide a vivid snapshot of southern life. —Sue O'Brien. Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.

Sixth Inning in Southaven

By Phil Hardwick

Quail Ridge Press (Paperback, $9.95, ISBN: 1893062406)

Publication date: October 2002

Description from the publisher:

Jack Boulder’s personal world comes apart after his high school sweetheart rejects his marriage proposal, a police officer issues him a speeding ticket and he gets arrested for murder—all in the same day. He can do little about the first two problems, but Mississippi’s premier private investigator faces prosecution for a crime he did not commit unless he finds out who really killed a local baseball coach. His clues are found in cryptic messages based on the score in the top of the sixth inning of certain games at Snowden Grove Park, a youth baseball Mecca in Southaven, Mississippi.

Phil Hardwick loves a good mystery. Early in his career he solved real ones as a police officer and state investigator. Sixth Inning in Southaven is the ninth volume in his Mississippi Mysteries Series, a collection of exciting novellas which unfold in various locations throughout Mississippi. Phil is an award-winning columnist whose column appears in the Mississippi Business Journal. He and his family reside in Jackson.

Escape from Heart Escape from Heart

By Lynette Stark

Harcourt, Brace (School & Library Binding, $17.00, ISBN: 0152023852)

Reading level: Young adult

Publication date: October 2000


Heart Colony, founded as a Mennonite community striving to be close to God and nature, becomes a place of fear, denial, and injustice under the cruel and evil direction of a new leader, Hezekiel Whittenstone. Sarah Ruth Heart wants one simple thing—to compete in the countywide spelling bee—but her uncle Hezekiel refuses to allow it. Sarah Ruth struggles with her desire to attend school and compete in the spelling bee, to be attractive to the boy she secretly likes, and to overstep the boundaries dictated by the repressive Hezekiel. Her secret rebellion brings danger to herself and her family, and Sarah Ruth is forced to make difficult decisions about her future—with consequences that are more far-reaching than she ever could have imagined.

Lynette Stark has taught high school and junior high school for sixteen years. She lives in Mississippi. Escape from Heart is her first novel.

AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

April 10-13: Johnson Commons, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi

The Oxford Conference for the Book. For program and registration information, visit the conference web site,

April 16: Barnard Observatory lecture hall, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 12 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture: “Keeping the Blues: The University of Mississippi’s Blues Archive,” by Greg Johnson, Blues Archive curator and assistant professor of library science. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture,

April 23: Barnard Observatory lecture hall, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 12 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture: “Traditional Music of North Mississippi: A Documentary Project of the Mississippi Arts Commission,” by Wiley Prewitt, project director, Lodi, Mississippi. Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture,


April 23-25: 309 N. Lamar Blvd (next door to Bouré), Oxford, Mississippi, 8 p.m.; April 27, 2 p.m.

Annual 10 Minute Play Festival features full productions of 10-minute plays by local authors. Sponsored by Oxford Screenwriters. Tickets are $8.00. For more information, please contact Pamela Massey, (662) 234-7290,

April 30: Barnard Observatory lecture hall, The University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 12 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch & Lecture: “Darkness on the Delta: A Black & White History in 8MM from the Pepper Collection of the Southern Media Archive,” by Margaret Pepper Grantham, Oxford librarian. 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 


Latest issue of The Southern Register now online

The Winter 2003 issue of The Southern Register, newsletter of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, is now available on the Center’s web site, To go straight to this issue, point your web browser at

Send your Mississippi writer-related announcements to


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

July 20-24, 2003

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

October 16, 2003

Elmore Leonard, author of more than 30 novels (including Bandits, Get Shorty, and Tishomingo Blues), numerous film and television productions, essays and commentaries, will read and talk about his career. For more information on Leonard, visit Elmore Leonard’s new book, When the Women Come Out to Dance, is to be published in November 2003. Johnson Commons Ballroom, The University of Mississippi, 7 p.m. Sponsored by the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writers Series and the Department of English at the University of 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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