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Trailfest 2015: Mississippi Events

 
The Southern Literary Trail is supported by the Mississippi Development Authority's Division of Tourism and the Mississippi Humanities Council.
 
 
 
 

 

 

The Margaret Walker CentennialThe Margaret Walker Centennial

This Is My Century: The Life and Legacy of Margaret Walker
Various dates, Jackson, Mississippi

Trail partner, The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, has planned a year of celebratory events to recognize the centennial of its namesake novelist ("Jubilee"), poet and essayist. Throughout Trailfest (February to May) and continuing through 2015, Walker's remarkable life and influence will be examined with contemporary poetry, performances, art displays, and the written word. The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration and the Oxford Conference for the Book will acknowledge Walker in February and March, 2015, respectively. The Walker Center's annual Creative Arts Festival on April 10 and 11, 2015, will be keynoted by an address from poet/activist Nikki Finney.

After the Creative Arts Festival, a Black Arts Movement Photography Exhibit launches in the Johnson Hall Art Gallery of JSU (April 24, 2015) followed by a Jubilee Picnic at Ayer Hall (July 7, 2015) and "For My People: A Song Cycle," a gala musical celebration for the Walker Centennial in the JSU Student Center Ballrooms on Friday, July 10, 2015. All events are organized and sponsored by the Margaret Walker Center with support from the Mississippi Humanities Council. For specific information and details, call the Margaret Walker Center at 601.979.3935 or visit its website at www.jsums.edu/margaretwalkercenter. Link here for a Centennial Rack Card.

 
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Let's Celebrate Margaret Walker

Presented by the Jackson Hinds Library System and the Mississippi Humanities Council
at various Jackson, Ms., Libraries

Let's Celebrate Margaret Walker Lecturers: Dr. Jean Chamberlain, Dr. Carolyn Brown, C. Liegh McInnis, & Dr. Jerry Ward In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Margaret Walker's birth in 1915, the Jackson Hinds Library System will present a series of lectures during the writer's centennial year entitled "Let's Celebrate Margaret Walker, An African-American Woman Author of the 20th Century" in conjunction with the Mississippi Humanities Council. The series will focus on the literary and historical importance of Walker, her influence on other African-American women, and the lasting value of her works. Each lecture will be led by a scholar and will be free.

On February 26, 2015, (3 p.m.), Dr. Jean Chamberlain of Jackson State University leads the topic at the Fannie Lou Hamner Library, 3450 Albermarle Rd., in Jackson: "On the Shoulders of Giants: How Margaret Walker Influenced a Generation of African-American Women." On March 19, 2015, (4 p.m.) at the Charles Tisdale Library, 807 E. Northside Dr., Jackson, and on May 7, 2015, (4 p.m.) at the Raymond Library, 126 W. Court Street, Dr. Carolyn Brown of Millsaps College will lead programs that explore Walker's influence on youth.

C. Liegh McInnis, Instructor of English at Jackson State University, leads a discussion at the Medgar Evers Library, 4215 Medgar Evers Blvd., Jackson, on March 26, 2015, (4 p.m.) with the topic, "For My People: What the Internationally Famous Poem Has to Say to Young People Today." At the Richard Wright Library, 515 W. McDowell Rd., Jackson, on April 15, 2015, (6 p.m.), Dr. Jerry Ward of Dillard University discusses the relationship between Trail writers Margaret Walker and Richard Wright.

Info: Call the Jackson Hinds Library System at 601.968.5810

 
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The Tudor-style Eudora Welty House, JacksonPearl McHaney Book Signing and Reception

Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The Eudora Welty House, Jackson, Ms.

Pearl McHaney, author of "A Tyrannous Eye," is a Eudora Welty scholar who served as advisor to the Southern Literary Trail's traveling exhibition of Welty's photographs (Eudora Welty: Exposures and Reflections) curated and organized by the Museum of Mobile. She returns to the Welty House to speak about the beloved Southern writer again with sponsorship by many local supporters including the Mississippi Humanities Council, Millsaps College and the Eudora Welty Foundation.

Place: The Eudora Welty House, 1119 Pinehurst
Time: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Info: Call the House at 601.354.5219

 
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The 26th Annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration

Bigger Than Life: Extraordinary Mississippians
February 26 to 28, 2015
Natchez, Mississippi

Richard Wright Memorial Highway Sign

Now in its twenty-sixth year, the annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration (NLCC) has been declared as "Mississippi's most significant annual conference devoted to literature, history, film and culture." NLCC's quality programming has earned accolades from state and national organizations that honor achievements in tourism and cultural celebrations. With Richard Wrightsponsorship by the Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, NLCC invites its audiences to experience Natchez with the enhancements of groundbreaking films, field trips, performances, and exhibits in one of America's most visually stunning cities.

This year's NLCC celebrates "Extraordinary Mississippians," a theme that includes a centennial retrospective on the life and work of Trail writer Margaret Walker. Walker ranks among "Mississippi's Four Ws in Literature," an NLCC event that also examines the enduring importance of her fellow Mississippians Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams and Richard Wright of Natchez. The film "Mud" will be screened Mississippi River, Natchezas this year's recipient of NLCC Horton Foote Award for Special Achievement in Screenwriting awarded to its director Jeff Nichols.

Richard Wright Literary Excellence Awards will be presented to Glen Ballard, a Natchez native whose musical achievements include the 2006 Grammy winning song "Believe" (from the film "The Polar Express"), and to Robert V. Haynes, the author of "The Natchez District and the American Revolution" among other distinguished titles. A luncheon at the Carriage House at Stanton Hall features Craig Claiborne's favorite recipes with commentary by Regina Charboneau, author of "Regina's Table at Twin Oaks."

Place: Natchez, various locations
Dates: February 26 to 28, 2015
Info and Ticketing: Call 601.446.1289 or toll free, 866.296.NLCC (6522)
Link Here for Complete Schedule or go to www.colin.edu/nlcc/

 
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Eudora Welty and Margaret Walker AlexanderCarolyn Brown Book Signing and Reception

Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker
Thursday, March 5, 2015
The Eudora Welty House, Jackson

In the centennial year of Margaret Walker, author and biographer Carolyn J. Brown, writer of the new biography "Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walter" (2014), will speak at the Eudora Welty House. The event will be co-sponsored by the Eudora Welty House and Garden in conjunction with the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University.

Place: The Eudora Welty House and Garden
Time and Info: Time to be announced; call the Eudora Welty House at 601.354.5217 for details

 
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Courthouse SquareThe 22nd Annual Oxford Conference for the Book

Dedicated to Margaret Walker
March 25 to 27, 2015
Oxford, Mississippi

The 22nd edition of the Oxford Conference for the Book will celebrate books, reading and the significant contributions made to American letters by Mississippi writer Margaret Walker during her centennial year. In late March, a midpoint for Trailfest 2015, the Conference will convene authors of all genres, journalists, poets, educators and students for three days of events and social gatherings that honor the spirit of the written word in the heart of William Faulkner country.

Oxford Conference for the Book guests include Maryemma Graham, Tim Johnston & Adam RubinAs one feature of the Conference, the 2015 Children's Book Festival will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2015, at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts with over 1200 first and fifth graders from Oxford-area public schools in attendance. Maryemma Graham of the University of Kansas will deliver the keynote address on Margaret Walker. Graham has written biographies and essays on Walker. Additional guest authors will include poet Douglas Brown ("Zero to Three"), Ole Miss statuarynovelist Tim Johnston ("Descent") and children's book writer Adam Rubin.

Conference partner Square Books in downtown Oxford will host signings each evening for authors in attendance at the three-day event. The schedule also includes a broadcast of the popular "Thacker Mountain Radio." For complete information, lodging suggestions and a full schedule, visit the Conference website at www.oxfordconferenceforthebook.com.

Place: The University of Mississippi and various Oxford, Ms., locations
Dates: March 25 to 27, 2015
Info: www.oxfordconferenceforthebook.com or call 662.915.6678

 
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Rowan Oak, home of William FaulknerWilliam FaulknerRowan Oak, Home of William Faulkner

Daily except Monday
Oxford, Mississippi

Home to William Faulkner and his family for over 40 years, Rowan Oak was originally built in 1844 and stands on over 29 acres of land just south of the historic Square in downtown Oxford, Mississippi. Tour materials for Rowan Oak are available in multiple languages. The property and grounds of Rowan Oak are open year-round, from dawn to dusk, though the house is closed on Mondays. There is a $5.00 cost for admission to the house.

Place: Oxford, Ms.
Days and times: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.
Info: www.rowanoak.com or call 662.234.3284

 
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Lee SmithThe Inaugural Bettye Jolly Lecture Series with Lee Smith

Tuesday, March 31, 2015
The Eudora Welty House, Jackson, Ms.

Lee Smith has published 13 novels and four collections of short stories. She has received the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the North Carolina Award for Literature, and a Southern Book Critics Circle Award. In her latest novel, "Guests on Earth," we meet Evalina Toussaint, an orphaned child of an exotic dancer, who is only thirteen in 1936 when she is admitted to Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. Smith appears at the Welty House to inaugurate the Bettye Jolly Lecture Series.

Place: The Welty House, 1119 Pinehurst
Time: 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Info: Call the Welty House at 601.354.5219

 
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Birthplace of Tennessee Williams, now the Columbus Welcome CenterThe Columbus Spring Pilgrimage

April 6 to 18, 2015
Columbus, Mississippi

The Spring Pilgrimage in the hometown of Trail writer Tennessee Williams has evolved over its 75-year history from a tour of homes to a diverse and deeply satisfying 16-day celebration. Visitors can indulge on Southern history, architecture, culture, food and fun with a schedule that features carriage rides, a half-marathon, concerts and the Mayor's Unity Picnic.

Pilmgrimage Half MarathonCatfish in the Alley on Saturday, April 11, Fourth Street in downtown Columbus, features a catfish cook-off and the South's finest blues musicians. On the same Saturday, the half-marathon begins at the Tennessee Williams Home, 300 Main Street, at 7 a.m. Historic and atmospheric Friendship Cemetery is the host location for "Tales from the Crypt" throughout the Pilgrimage, and a Garden Party (Saturday, April 11, 3 to 6 p.m.) enables a The Weeping Angel Marker in Friendship Cemetery, Columbusstroll through Colonnade Garden with mint juleps in hand.

The South's most exquisite collection of homes on tour is opened to visitors over the full 16 days. Even the names of the classic Southern homes are inviting: White Arches, Waverley Mansion Home & Gardens, Rosewood Manor, Snowdoun, The Haven, and Rosedale.

Place: Columbus, Ms., various locations
Dates and Times: Various from April 6 to 18, 2015; see brochure
Information: Call 1.800.920.3533 or go to www.visitcolumbusms.org

 
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Eudora WeltyThe Eudora Welty House and Garden Spring Plant Sale

Friday, April 10, 2015
Eudora Welty House, Jackson, Ms.

The annual sale features a variety of perennials that were cultivated in Eudora Welty's garden and grown on site. The sale is a popular event every year for both gardeners and Welty Snapdragons & pansies (Photo: Eudora Welty House & Gardens)readers. Sponsors for 2015 will include the Mississippi Department of Archives and History in addition to the Eudora Welty House and Garden Fund. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Garden.

The plant sale coincides with Eudora Welty's birthday, which will be celebrated from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the side-porch of the House. Birthday cake and lemonade will be served all visitors.

Place: The Welty House, 1119 Pinehurst
Date and Time: April 10, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for plant sale; birthday celebration from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the side-porch.
Info: Call 601.353.7762

 
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(Photo: Eudora Welty House & Gardens)(Photo: Eudora Welty House & Gardens)The Eudora Welty House and Garden Tours

Tuesday to Friday, year-round
Jackson, Mississippi

The Eudora Welty House and Garden, among the South's most charming literary destinations, are shown by guided tour only. Allow a minimum of one hour to visit the writer's Tudor Revival home and garden. Hours may be subject to change so call 601.353.7762 to reserve a tour and to confirm times. Welty docents will direct visitors through the house and provide information about the writer in her home from room to room.

Place: The Eudora Welty House, 1119 Pinehurst
Times: Tuesday to Friday, 9 a.m.; 11 a.m.; 1 p.m.; 3 p.m.
Info and Admission: Generally $5.00 for adults; call 601.353.7762 to confirm and reserve

 
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Photo by Eudora Welty House & GardensThe Scholastic Writing Awards Regional Ceremony

Sunday, April 19, 2015
The Eudora Welty House, Jackson, Ms.

The Ceremony at the Welty House will conclude the regional Scholastic Writing Contest with special recognitions of the award winners at the home of one of the nation's most beloved writers. The Ceremony will be open to winners of the Scholastic Writing Contest and their families and teachers. For information about the contest, please call Lee Anne Bryan at 601.354.5210.

Place: The Eudora Welty House, 1119 Pinehurst
Time: 2 to 4 p.m.
Info: Call 601.354.5210

 
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Blues Alley and Delta Ave. street signsDelta Blues Museum

Open Daily, Monday to Saturday
Clarksdale, Mississippi

Since the 1920s, Clarksdale has been a cultural hub in the Mississippi Delta for the Blues, a musical literature unique to the South. The Blues flourished in Clarksdale when railroads intersected in the town, and flush times created musically-curious audiences with money to spend on entertainment. Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, Sam Cooke and W. C. Handy are just a few of the legendary musicians born in or around Clarksdale. Today, the Delta Blues Museum preserves the history of this musical culture for visitors while showcasing contemporary musicians of the Delta Blues tradition.

Place: The Delta Blues Museum, 1 Blues Alley, Clarksdale
Days and Times: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Info and Admission: Call 662.627.6820 or visit www.deltabluesmuseum.org

 
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Salvia and Bench at The Faulkner Literary GardenThe Union County Heritage Museum

Daily and Continuing
New Albany, Mississippi

In the town which was the birthplace of William Faulkner, the Union County Heritage Museum presents visitors with interactive exhibits and the atmosphere of Faulkner's Mississippi in its Literary Garden. The garden is accented by stones with quotes from the literature of Faulkner, who was born only one block from the Museum's location. During Trailfest 2015, the Museum will welcome members of the Jane Austen Society of Australia, among other guests, who will be touring the Southern Literary Trail.

Place: 114 Cleveland Street, New Albany
Days and Times: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Info: Call 662.538.0014

 
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Stark YoungThe Emily J. Pointer Library

The Stark Young Collection & Literary Landmark
Daily and Continuing
Como, Mississippi

Stark Young was born in Como, and over the course of his life, he became a novelist ("So Red the Rose"), poet, essayist, dramatist, painter, and Broadway critic. The Southern Literary Trail writer retained his self-described "Southern-ness" but he ultimately landed in Manhattan where he wrote drama criticism for The New York Times. The Pointer Library of Como has curated a Stark Young Collection and also led the effort for declaration of a Stark Young Literary Landmark in the town. Librarians share the Collection with visitors and provide information for a stroll through picturesque Como.

Place: The Emily J. Pointer Library, 104 Main St., Como
Days and Times: Weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
Info: Call the Library, 662.526.5283

 
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