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Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for December 12-18, 2003

In this issue:


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

1801: The capital of the Mississippi territory was moved from Natchez to Washington, Mississippi. (Dec. 12)

1801: The Treaty of Fort Adams officially opened Old Natchez District to settlement and the Choctaw agreed that the United States could open a road, the Natchez Trace, through their lands. (Dec. 17)

1862: Confederate General Earl Van Dorn made a daring raid on Grant’s storehouses in Holly Springs. Capturing more than 1500 Union soldiers and much-needed supplies, the raid would set back Grant’s planned Vicksburg campaign by several months. (Dec. 12)

1907: Educator William S. Vincent was born in Tupelo, Mississippi. (Dec. 12)

1916: Actor, writer, and lightweight boxing champion Archie Lee Moore was born in Benoit, Mississippi. (Dec. 13)

1918: Baptist minister William S. Cannon was born in Meridian, Mississippi. (Dec. 16)

1921: Children’s writer John T. Carter was born in Mantee, Mississippi. (Dec. 16)

1924: William Faulkner published his first book, The Marble Faun, a collection of poems. (Dec. 15)

1926: Sportswriter Perian Collier Conerly was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi. (Dec. 17)

1929: Technical writer and editor Charles W. Ryan was born in Greenville, Mississippi. (Dec. 14)

1933: Baptist minister and historian Bill Russell Baker was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi. (Dec. 14)

1935: Journalist Wesley Pruden, Jr., was born in Jackson, Mississippi. (Dec. 18)

1938: Civil rights activist L. C. Dorsey was born in Tribbett, Mississippi. (Dec. 17)

1939: Tennessee Williams received an Authors’s League of America fellowship for $1000. (Dec. 18)

1942: Novelist Bo Hathaway was born in Biloxi, Mississippi. (Dec. 14)

1946: Religion writer Isabel Anders was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. (Dec. 16)

1948: Richard Wright delivered a speech at the Writer’s Congress in Paris, France. (Dec. 13)

1956: Civil rights activist James Meredith married Mary June Wiggins. (Dec. 16)

1963: Children’s nonfiction writer Renea Denise Nash was born in Morehead, Mississippi. (Dec. 14)

1979: Women!! Make Turban in Own Home by Eudora Welty was published by Palaemon Press Limited. (Dec. 16)


Writer-in-Residence Barry Hannah receives national short fiction award

Dec. 17, 2003

By Deidra Jackson
University of Mississippi News Services

Barry Hannah

OXFORD, Miss. — Author Barry Hannah, University of Mississippi’s writer-in-residence, has been honored with the PEN/Malamud Award. Given annually since 1988 in memory of the late author Bernard Malamud, the award recognizes excellence in the art of short fiction.

Hannah received the award and read from his work Friday (Dec. 12) at the PEN/Faulkner Reading Series at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

“The award is pleasing but not surprising,” said Joseph Urgo, chair of the UM Department of English. “Barry Hannah is a major figure in the world of literature. In Oxford he’s just Barry, I know, but step off into the metropolis and you realize we are hosting, again, a literary phenomenon in this hamlet.”

Hannah, who shares this year’s award with novelist Maile Meloy, directs UM’s creative writing program. He is the author of three short story collections, High Lonesome, Bats Out of Hell and Airships, and eight novels. His first novel Geronimo Rex won the William Faulkner Prize.

His other prizes and awards include the Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Robert Penn Warren Lifetime Achievement Award in fiction.

Nationally recognized artist, arts commentator and educator Bill Dunlap, who was Hannah’s classmate at Mississippi College in the mid-1960s, tags his friend as “the most extraordinary writer of muscular prose today.”

“I knew he was a great writer, but I didn’t know he is also a great teacher,” said Dunlap, commentator on WETA-TV’s Washington, D.C.-based cultural round-table show Around Town.

Hannah received a master’s of fine arts degree in fiction and a master’s in English, both from the University of Arkansas. His undergraduate degree, also in English, is from Mississippi College.

Veteran history professor John Marszalek returns to Mississippi State University to head highest scholarship programs

Dec. 15, 2003

John F. Marszalek

STARKVILLE, Miss. — A Mississippi State University history professor emeritus is returning to campus to lead the university’s two most distinguished scholarship programs.

John F. Marszalek, a Giles Distinguished Professor who retired in 2002, is the new Schillig Scholar Mentor and head of the Presidential Scholars Program. He also will serve as chair of the Competitive Scholarship Selection Committee.

The Schillig and Presidential scholarships are the highest academic honors MSU bestows on incoming freshmen. Competitively awarded on the basis of academic and leadership accomplishments, they cover the cost of books, tuition and room and board for four years.

Marszalek earlier served as Schillig mentor for the four years leading up to his retirement. He succeeds MSU President Emeritus Donald W. Zacharias, who is stepping down after several years in the position.

“Dr. Marszalek is an exceptional scholar, respected both by his peers and by students,” said Peter Rabideau, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He will be an outstanding role model and mentor to some of the brightest minds on our campus.”

Marszalek has authored 11 books and more than 150 articles during a 30-year career. He continues research and publishing in fields that include civil rights and Civil War history.

Currently, he is completing a biography of Union leader Henry W. Halleck, the Civil War’s longest-serving commanding general. The book is scheduled for publication next year by Harvard University Press.

Marszalek also is a member of the jury for the 2003 Lincoln Prize, which recognizes the best book of the year about the Civil War period. Additionally, he is among approximately 100 professionals working on the advisory committee for the congressionally established Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission that is planning a 200th birthday celebration in 2009 for the 16th U.S. president and Civil War leader.

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AUTHOR EVENTS: Book Signings, Readings, and Appearances

October 27-Feb. 29, 2004: National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Passionate Observer: Photographs by Eudora Welty, highlighting over 50 of Welty’s black-and-white photographs from the 1930s, will be exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. For more details, visit the museum web site at

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.

February 12, 2004

Reading and lecture by Richard Ford. 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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