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Home:  >News & Events   >Newsletter   >2003

Welcome to the Mississippi Writers Page Newsletter for December 19-25, 2003

In this issue:


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

1879: Poet and fiction writer Irwin Russell died of exposure and pneunomia in New Orleans at the age of twenty-six. (Dec. 23)

1889: Novelist and memoirist Reuben G. Davis was born in Charleston, Mississippi. (Dec. 22)

1902: Agricultural writer and porcelain collector George W. Ware was born in Belen, Mississippi. (Dec. 22)

1912: Historian Woodrow Borah was born in Utica, Mississippi. (Dec. 22)

1915: Business professor Francis Barns May was born in Cascilla, Mississippi. (Dec. 24)

1917: Historian John D. Winters was born in McCool, Mississippi. (Dec. 23)

1934: Religion writer John A. Ishee was born in Laurel, Mississippi. (Dec. 22)

1938: Novelist and musician Mack Allen Smith was born in Carroll County, Mississippi. (Dec. 20)

1942: Newspaper columnist and storyteller Robert Hitt Neill was born in Leland, Mississippi. (Dec. 22)

1945: Fiction writer Judy Vernon was born in Belden, Mississippi. (Dec. 24)

1946: Singer/songwriter and prose writer Jimmy Buffett was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Dec. 25)

1951: Civil rights leader Medgar Evers married Myrlie Beasley. (Dec. 24)

1951: Philosopher and literary critic Paisley Livingston was born in Pascagoula, Mississippi. (Dec. 25)

1953: William Faulkner met Jean Stein while in Europe working on Land of the Pharaohs for Howard Hawks. (Dec. 24)

1959: The film Suddenly, Last Summer, based on the play by Tennessee Williams, opened. (Dec. 22)

1968: Poet Sterling Plumpp married Falvia Delgrazia Jackson. (Dec. 21)

1975: Memoirist Murry C. Falkner died in Mobile, Alabama. He was later buried in Oxford, Mississippi. (Dec. 24)

1977: Novelist and playwright Louise Blackwell died. (Dec. 25)

1996: Historian Nash K. Burger died in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Dec. 19)

1996: The movie Ghosts of Mississippi opened in the United States, based on the real-life murder conviction in 1994 of white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith for the killing of civil rights leader Medgar Evers more than three decades earlier. (Dec. 20)

2000: Musician and photographer Milt Hinton, also known as “The Judge” and hailed as the dean of jazz bassists, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, died in Queens, New York, after an extended illness. (Dec. 19)

2001: Storyteller Jimmy Faulkner, nephew of William and son of John, died in a hospital in Tupelo, Mississippi, at the age of 78. (Dec. 24)



Call for Papers: Delta Blues Symposium X: The 1950s

Dec. 9, 2003

The Department of English and Philosophy with the assistance of the Department of Music, Department of Theatre, and Office of the President at Arkansas State University B Jonesboro campus is sponsoring its tenth Delta Blues Symposium on 25-27 March 2004. We welcome presentations on any aspect of Delta life (art, education, folklore, history, music, literature, politics, and sociology) and are particularly interested in proposals which focus on the seven-state Mississippi River Delta and its culture during the 1950s. Topics responding specifically to Symposium X’s theme might deal, for example, with the impact of the Brown v. Board decision, the decade’s literature and art, the rise of agribusiness, migration from the Delta, rockabilly music, and, of course, Elvis.

The Delta Blues Symposia have provided opportunities for scholars, artists, performers, and the general public with an interest in the blues and in the Mississippi River Delta to come together to share insights, discuss issues, and celebrate a regional culture. Among the presenters at Symposium X will be rock ‘n’ roll pioneers Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley; Joel Williamson, Lineberger Professor in the Humanities at the University of North Carolina; and former Senator Dale Bumpers. John Bensko (poetry) and Cary Holladay (fiction) will read from their work and conduct workshops for creative writers.

Proposals for participation should consist of 250-word abstracts for papers and organized panels or a sample of work for creative presentations. The deadline for proposals is 5 January 2004. Address materials to

Delta Blues Symposium X
Department of English and Philosophy
PO Box 1890
Arkansas State University
State University, AR 72467
Phone: 870-972-3043
Fax: 870-972-3045

Call for Papers: Eudora Welty in/and America

Dec. 24, 2003

For a special session to be proposed for the annual MLA Convention, December 27-30, 2004, Philadelphia, paper proposals are welcomed on any topic examining the impact — on Welty studies and/or on constructions of American literature — when Eudora Welty’s works (the first by a living author to be published in the Library of America series) are accorded their long-overdue centrality in the twentieth-century canon.

What happens to Welty, and to American literature, when/as she takes her rightful place as a major author? Topics might include Welty as southern vs. Welty as American writer; Welty and literary history; Welty’s influence on postmodern American writing; Welty not Faulkner; changing ideas and valuations of regionalism; etc.

The session is being organized and proposed on behalf of the Eudora Welty Society.

Inquiries or 500-word abstract plus brief vitae by 1 March 2004 to David McWhirter, Dept. of English, Texas A&M University, 4227 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4227, or email to

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

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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