Meet more than 60 authors and artists selling their most recent works along Mississippi Street.
Mary Abraham | Joyce Ainsworth | Jacquelyn C. Allen | Melanie Atkins | Douglas Babington | David Billings | Lottie Bogan | W. Clark Boutwell | Felicia Brookins | Wanda Nance Brooks | Alison Buehler | Joshua Cable | Melissa Carrigee | John S. Case | Chauncey Citchens | Thelma B. Cousin | Dorothy A. Day | Andy Delancy | Janet W. Ferguson | Beth McAdams Ford | Paula Goddard | Jane Golden | Elizabeth Guider | Ann Hollowell | Shirley Kianna Hopkins | H. Grady Howell Jr. | Wanda Fay Jackson | Lizy Jacob | Benny H. Jenkins | Emma A. Jimenez | Mark W. Johnson | Kimberly B. Jones | Larry Jorgensen | Hannah Kay | Jazz Keyes | Michael Lackey | LaDonna Marie | Anne Martin | Ava Lisa Maxey | Mike McCall | Patrick McCloud | Sarah McGee | Tom McGraw | Clea McLemore | Robert Moore | Virginia Sue Mordecai | Ricky Nobile | Darden North | Cleveland Payne | Katherine Dupont Phillips | Katina Rankin | Robert Rogers | Evelyn McDade Roughten | Tyra E. Rowell | Richard Schwartz | Janice A. Singleton | Andrew Snorton | Jackie Warren Tatum | Janet Taylor-Perry | Sister Alies Therese | Diane Thomas-Plunk | Michael Hicks Thompson | Thomas J. Ward Jr. | Candice A. Whigham | Clinton Ink Slingers
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Leif Anderson is a dancer, writer, artist, mother and grandmother, and the founder, performer and teacher of the dance technique and philosophy called Airth. She lives in Ocean Springs, Ms. and is the daughter of artist/naturalist, Walter Inglis Anderson, and writer/teacher, Agnes Grinstead Anderson. Leif has performed and taught in Massachusetts, New York City, and throughout the South. She has had residencies in New York and in New Orleans public schools, and was formerly a member of The Crescent City Ballet under Lelia Haller and Olè Flamenco Olè Spanish Dance Company under Teresa Torkanowsky. Leif’s drawings and sculpture have been exhibited in several Mississippi Galleries, in The New Orleans Academy Gallery, and in The Luise Ross Gallery of New York City. A Memoir: DANCING WITH MY FATHER was published in 2005 the University Press of Mississippi. She continues to make art and to dance, and has recently collaborated with Summer Baldwin, performing at the first Dance Festival to take place at the Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center of Arts and Education in 2016.
Jami Attenberg is the New York Times best-selling author of five novels, including The Middlesteins and Saint Mazie. She has contributed essays about sex, urban life, and food to the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and Lenny Letter, among other publications. Her most recent novel is All Grown Up. She divides her time between Brooklyn and New Orleans.
Born Aug. 3, 1946, in Meridian, Mississippi, Howard Bahr served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and worked five years as a railroad yard clerk and brakeman before beginning a long-time position as curator at Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner in Oxford, where he also taught literature at the University of Mississippi. He began writing in the 1970s, publishing historical fiction and nonfiction in such publications as Southern Living and Civil War Times Illustrated and co-editing a short-lived publication, Lagniappe (1974-1975). In 1987, he published a children’s story, Home for Christmas, which was re-issued following the publication of his first novel in 1997. The Black Flower: A Novel of the Civil War is a historical novel set during the 1864 Battle of Franklin in Tennessee. The novel was nominated for several awards, earning the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He followed that with The Year of Jubilo in 2000, set in a fictional Mississippi town following the Civil War. In The Judas Field (2006), a veteran of the Battle of Franklin returns to the battlefield years later to recover the body of one of the fallen soldiers, and in the process remembers that fateful day. For thirteen years he taught at Motlow State Community College in Tullahoma, Tennessee, but he has since returned to Jackson, Mississippi. His latest novel, Pelican Road, is set along a railroad between Meridian, Mississippi, and New Orleans in the 1940s. It was published in May 2008.
Jack Bales has been the Reference and Humanities Librarian at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for more than 35 years. He has published numerous works on Willie Morris including Conversations with Willie Morris (2000), Shifting Interludes: Selected Essays (2002), and Willie Morris: An Exhaustive Annotated Bibliography and a Biography (2006). His book of Morris’s essays, Shifting Interludes, has recently been published in paperback. Bales has also written articles and essays on the Chicago Cubs, and is currently working on a documentary history of this baseball team during the nineteenth century when the players were known as the Chicago White Stockings.
James “Jim” Barnett is retired as Director of the Historic Properties Division with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. He is the author of three books: The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735, Mississippi’s American Indians, and Beyond Control: The Mississippi River’s New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico, all published by University Press of Mississippi. He lives in Natchez with his wife, landscape artist Sharon Richardson.
Marion Barnwell taught English at Delta State University for many years. She compiled and edited A Place Called Mississippi and co-authored Touring Literary Mississippi. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi, and co-leads writing clubs in the Jackson public school system.
Scott Barretta is a writer/researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail, the host of Highway 61 on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, an instructor of blues courses at the University of Mississippi and Delta State University, a music columnist for the Clarion Ledger, and the former editor of, and continuing contributor to, Living Blues magazine. His publications include co-authorship of the book Mississippi: State of Blues (with Ken Murphy) and a blues curriculum for elementary students for the Mississippi Arts Commission. A producer of the recent documentary film “Shake ‘em on Down” about Mississippi Fred McDowell, Barretta received the Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for Mississippi Heritage in 2016.
Cassie Beasley is from rural Georgia, where, when she’s not writing, she helps out on the family pecan farm. She earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her first book, Circus Mirandus, was a New York Times bestseller.
Chanelle Benz has published short stories in The American Reader, Fence, and The Cupboard, and on Granta.com, and is the recipient of an O. Henry Prize. She received her MFA at Syracuse University as well as a BFA in acting from Boston University. She is of British-Antiguan descent and currently lives in Houston.
Adrienne Berard is an award-winning journalist and graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She has been the Writer-in-Residence at Delta State University in Mississippi and now resides in Williamsburg.
A former AP English teacher and journalist, Johnnie Bernhard’s passion is reading and writing. Her work(s) have appeared in the following publications: University of Michigan Graduate Studies Publications, Heart of Ann Arbor Magazine, Houston Style Magazine, World Oil Magazine, The Suburban Reporter of Houston, The Mississippi Press, University of South Florida Area Health Education Magazine, the international Word Among Us, Southern Writers Magazine, Gulf Coast Writers Association Anthologies, The Texas Review, and the Cowbird-NPR production on small town America. Her entry, “The Last Mayberry,” received over 7,500 views, nationally and internationally.
Johnnie received “Equal Runner-Up” in the 2016 Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Essay Category. Her essay, “Ignorance or Innocence” was judged by bestselling, non-fiction writer and poet Rodger Kamenetz. Her novel, A Good Girl received top ten finalist recognition in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Published by Texas Review Press, it is available on Amazon and in retail bookstores. For more about A Good Girl, please visit the author’s web site at www.johnniebernhardauthor.com.
She is the owner of Bernhard Editorial Services, LLC, where she writes book reviews for Southern Literary Review, www.southernlitreview.com, as well as assists writers in honing their craft. In 2017, Johnnie participated as a writer in a documentary workshop for Blue Magnolia Films, www.bluemagnoliafilms.com.
Johnnie and her husband reside in a 19th Century cottage surrounded by ancient oak trees and a salt water marsh near the Mississippi Sound. They share that delightful space with their dog, Lily, and cat, Poncho.
Katie Blount became director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History February 1, 2015. Blount began her career at MDAH in 1994 in the public information section, where she worked on major initiatives including the public release of the Sovereignty Commission records, the opening of the William F. Winter Archives and History Building and the Eudora Welty House and Garden, and the restoration of the Old Capitol. She went on to serve as deputy director for communication, overseeing the department’s strategic planning process and working with the team that is planning the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, which will open in 2017 in celebration of the state bicentennial.
Blount earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan in English and history and her M.A. in southern studies from the University of Mississippi. She lives in Jackson with her husband and their two children.
Eliza Borné is the editor of the Oxford American, a quarterly literary magazine dedicated to featuring the best in Southern writing. Widely celebrated for its annual Southern Music issue, the OA has won four National Magazine Awards in its 25-year history, including the 2016 award in General Excellence. The magazine was founded in Oxford, Mississippi, and is now headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas. Eliza has edited essays and stories that have been honored by the Best American series, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and elsewhere; she edited one of the finalists for the 2017 National Magazine Award in Essays & Criticism. Eliza currently serves on the Board of Directors of the C.D. Wright Women Writers Conference and the Arkansas Cinema Society. She is also on the talent committee of the Arkansas Literary Festival and sits on the Arts & Culture Commission of the City of Little Rock. Eliza was born and raised in Little Rock and received a B.A. in English from Wellesley College. She started at the Oxford American as an editorial intern and has also served as associate editor, managing editor, and interim editor of the magazine
Mark Bowden is the author of thirteen books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down. He reported at the Philadelphia Inquirer for twenty years and now writes for the Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and other magazines. He is also the writer in residence at the University of Delaware. His most recent book is The Three Battles of Wanat: And Other True Stories.
Patricia Boyett is the Director of the Women’s Resource Center at Loyola University New Orleans and teaches courses for the Department of History on race, gender and social justice. She received her PhD at the University of Southern Mississippi, her BA in History from Mississippi Valley State University, and her BFA in Theatre from Arizona State University. Her book, Right to Revolt, was the recipient of the Eudora Welty Book Prize in 2016.
Dr. Carolyn J. Brown is a writer, editor, and independent scholar. She attended Duke University and then the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for her Master’s and Ph.D. A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty was her first book. It was selected by the Mississippi Library Commission to represent the state of Mississippi at the National Book Festival in Washington DC in 2012, and won the Mississippi Library Association’s Award for Nonfiction in 2013. She published her second biography, Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker, in November 2014, which won a special award from the Mississippi Library Association for Juvenile Literature. Brown has published articles in many journals, including Notes on Mississippi Writers, College Language Journal, the Eudora Welty Review, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal, and The Journal of Mississippi History. Her most recent book is entitled The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark.
John Gregory Brown is the author of the novels Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery; The Wrecked, Blessed Body of Shelton Lafleur; andAudubon’s Watch. For two decades he has taught and directed the creative writing program at Sweet Briar College, in Virginia, where he serves as the Julia Jackson Nichols Professor of English. He and his wife, the novelist Carrie Brown, have three children.
Robert Olen Butler is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of sixteen novels, including A Small Hotel, Hell, and the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series. He is also the author of six short-story collections and a book on the creative process, From Where You Dream. He has twice won a National Magazine Award for Fiction and received the 2013 F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. He teaches creative writing at Florida State University.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Cantrell has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is the author of two children’s books as well as Into the Free, which received Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and Book of the Year 2013 as well as the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award.
This debut novel received a rare starred review by Publishers Weekly and was selected as one of five finalists for the University of Mississippi Common Reading Experience 2014. It also was selected as a best novel of 2013 by LifeWay, USA TODAY, and many bookclubs.
Cantrell’s sophomore novel, When Mountains Move, is the sequel to her debut. Since its release in September 2013, it has been named a 2013 Best Read by LifeWay, was shortlisted for several awards, and won the 2014 Carol Award for Historical Fiction.
The Feathered Bone, Cantrell’s third novel, released in January 2016 and was inspired by the real-life kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. The novel is currently a finalist for SIBA’s 2017 Southern Book Prize.
Cantrell’s new novel, Perennials, releases August 2017. The story follow two estranged sisters who reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary. A family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.
Tracy Carr is the Mississippi Center for the Book Director and the Library Services Director at the Mississippi Library Commission.
Langdon Clay was born in New York City and raised in New England. He photographs around the country and beyond for shelter, magazines, and coffee table books. The bulk of his commercial work involves architecture, interiors, gardens, and food. His art photography can be found in museums in Paris, London, New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and Jackson. He resides on the banks of Cassidy Bayou in the little Mississippi Delta town of Sumner, with his wife Maude Schuyler Clay and three mostly grown children; Anna, Schuyler, and Sophie. His forthcoming book Langdon Clay: Cars: New York City 1974-1976 will be released in November.
Mary Ann Connell practices law with Mayo Mallette, PLLC. She served as university attorney for the University of Mississippi from 1982 to 2003. She served as the school board attorney for the Oxford, Mississippi School District from 2003 to 2013. She has taught courses in higher education law, school law, legal research and writing; business law and employment law. She is a frequent presenter at national conferences on subjects involving higher education and school law. She is a past president of the National Association of College and University Attorneys; past president of the Mississippi Council of School Board Attorneys, and a fellow of the Mississippi Bar Foundation. She received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of College and University Attorneys; the NAACP Freedom Award for life-long service in the area of education and civil rights; the Mississippi Women Lawyers Association Outstanding Woman Lawyer in Mississippi Award; the University of Mississippi Chancellor’s Award for outstanding contributions toward increasing diversity, and the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society Award for outstanding teacher of the year. In 2015, she was inducted into the Ole Miss Alumni Hall of Fame.
Brian Contine is a Sales Manager for Penguin adult sales and sells to independent bookstores in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Prior to taking his position at Penguin, he worked at The University of Texas Press, where he spent time working in Sales, Marketing & Publicity, Editorial (acquisitions), and the Director’s Office. He began his bookselling career at BookPeople Bookstore, where he managed the floor for a number of years. He runs a public discussion of literature called The Voyage Out Book Group, which has been meeting the last Sunday of each month at BookPeople for the past eight years. He lives in Austin with his wife and two boys.
David Crews is the author of the Mississippi Book of Quotations.
He serves as Clerk of Court for the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Mississippi. He is a former United States Marshal who spent 12 years with the U.S. Justice Department before joining the Court.
Early in his career David worked for Governor William Winter, serving on the Governor’s Senior Staff. In that role he helped secure passage of pioneering legislation that brought a statewide system of kindergartens, reading aides, compulsory school attendance, and other reforms to Mississippi. He was one of a handful of Winter staffers known as the “Boys of Spring.”
In the 1980’s he served as executive director of CREATE, Inc. which is
headquartered in Tupelo.
In 2014 David produced a feature length documentary film, The Toughest Job, that won a regional Emmy for Best Historical Documentary.
Among other initiatives David helped raise $2 million to construct the Mississippi Children’s Cancer Clinic at the University Medical Center.
David graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee where he worked on the Sewanee Fire Department. He is a mountain climber and marathoner who has climbed some of the world’s highest peaks and competed in the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon. In 1983 he hiked the entire 450 miles of the Natchez Trace and is believed to be the first person to trek the entire Trace since the 1800’s.
David and his wife, Claire, have twins affectionately known as the doublets. They live on a farm near Oxford with five ferocious but lovable dogs.
John Currence is chef/owner of City Grocery Restaurant Group, including City Grocery, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast (Oxford MS, Birmingham AL and Inlet Beach FL), Snackbar, & Main Event Catering. Born and raised in New Orleans, John’s career in food has covered half the globe, but is tightly focused on his roots in the Deep South and Louisiana. John was the James Beard Best Chef South in 2009 and a recent participant on Top Chef Masters. He is a contributing editor at Garden & Gun Magazine, and author of Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey: Recipes From My Three Favorite Food Groups and Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book Of The Day. John is the founder of Move On Up Mississippi a non-profit foundation focusing on celebrating individuals that are doing significant work to help address the issue of childhood obesity.
Susan Cushman was Co-Director of the 2013 and 2010 Creative Nonfiction Conferences (Oxford, Mississippi). These were both 4-day conferences involving 100 participants and about 25 faculty members.
She was also the Director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction Workshop (Memphis, TN). This was a 3-day workshop with 20 participants and 6 faculty members.
Cushman served as speaker and/or panelist at the following:
Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheier’s is Cushman’s memoir about the decade she spent long-distance caregiving for her mother, who died from Alzheimer’s in May of 2016.
Cushman is editor of a collection of essays by 20 women authors, A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant To Be, due out in March 2017, from Mercer University Press.
Her novel, Cherry Bomb, will be published August 8, 2017 by Dogwood Press of Brandon, Mississippi.
Cushman also has ten published essays in various journals and magazines and three in the following anthologies: Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality (University of Alabama Press, 2012); The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul (Rivers Edge Media, Little Rock, AR, 2013) and Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women (She Writes Press, February, 2015).
Margery Cuyler has written more than 50 children’s books, including Skeleton Hiccups, Bullies Never Win, 100th Day Worries, Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler, That’s Good! That’s Bad!, and most recently, Skeleton for Dinner and Purim Chicken. In the fall of 2017, Bonaparte Falls Apart, The Little Fire Truck, and Best Friends will be released. In addition to being an author, Margery has worked at the executive level for a number of publishers. Margery enjoys visiting schools, where she shares her books with her favorite people (children!), and attending conferences. She and her husband, the parents of two grown children, live in Lawrenceville, NJ.
Jim Dees is the author of The Statue and the Fury, which won the 2017 Independent Publishers Association’s Bronze award for best non-fiction in the South. The book was also nominated for the “Best Nonfiction Book of the Year” by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Since Fall 2000, Dees has been the host of The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, a music and literature program heard weekly on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
Mary Lindsay Dickinson is widow of Jim Dickinson. Jim Dickinson (1941–2009) worked with the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Alex Chilton, the Replacements, and T-Model Ford, among others. His sons, Luther and Cody, are the founding members of the North Mississippi Allstars. Ernest Suarez, Washington, DC, is David M. O’Connell Professor of English at the Catholic University of America and president of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers. He has published widely on southern literature, contemporary poetry, and music.
Tim Duffy’s career has been driven by the musical traditions of the American South. His championing of these traditions starts with the people who make the music. For decades now, he has provided for musicians’ basic needs, guided their careers, and documented their lives in stunning photographs.
After living for a time in the Old Town section of Mombasa, Kenya, Tim returned to the States and completed an M.A. in Folklore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He formed relationships with several traditional musicians and began searching for a legendary bluesman they told him about named Guitar Gabriel. In Winston-Salem, North Carolina Tim not only found Gabe, but also a community of impoverished musicians who, despite their material lack, were rich in the traditions of the African American South. Tim set about doing what he could to, first, take care of their basic needs and, then, to get them gigs and document their music. The Music Maker Relief Foundation was born. In the 22 years since its founding, Tim—along with his wife and Managing Director, Denise, and their dedicated team—have assisted and partnered with over 400 artists, issued over 150 CDs, and reached over a million people with live performance in over 40 states and 17 countries around the globe. Tim has been recognized by the ABC Evening News as “Person of the Week,” and has been featured in stories by Time, NPR, CBS, PBS and several local media outlets.
Given the nature of Music Maker’s mission, Tim gained in-depth experience with booking, promotion, artist development, and other managerial aspects of the music industry. Drawing on this expertise, he established Music Maker’s Next Generation program, and brought the Carolina Chocolate Drops to the public’s attention. These young African American musicians reinvigorated a range of traditional music styles, wowed audiences in the States and abroad, and won a Grammy in 2011. Members of the group remain close Music Maker associates. Tim continues his management work with Next Generation artists like Lakota John and Spencer Branch.
Photography has been at the heart of Tim Duffy’s Music Maker journey. Tim took pictures initially for documentary purposes, but soon realized that some of these images told rich, visually and emotionally intricate stories. The great depth of Tim’s photographic vision became clear when he turned to the photographic methods of the 19th century, including the platinum palladium process dating back to the 1870s. His wet plate portraits transport viewers into the space of the living past that he has worked so hard to preserve. These images have been on display at the Atrium Gallery of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, the Morris Museum in Augusta, GA, and several galleries in North Carolina, New York, and Kentucky. Some of his plates have become part of the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Museum of African American Culture and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
William Dunlap is an artist, writer, arts advocate, and commentator who has distinguished himself during a career spanning more than four decades. He is the author of Short Mean Fiction: Words and Pictures, a collection of short stories with drawings. A comprehensive survey of his work entitled, Dunlap was published in 2006. William Dunlap maintains studios in Coral Gables, Florida; McLean, Virginia; and Mathiston, Mississippi. He is married to artist/writer Linda Buress. They have one daughter, Maggie, who is also an artist and published illustrator of two children’s books.
Charles W. Eagles is William F. Winter Professor of History at the University of Mississippi and the author of Civil Rights, Culture Wars: The Fight over a Mississippi Textbook, The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss, and Outside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama.
John T. Edge directs the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi. He is a contributing editor at Garden & Gun and a columnist for the Oxford American. In 2012, he won the James Beard Foundation’s M. F. K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. Edge has written or edited more than a dozen books. He has served as the culinary curator for the weekend edition of NPR’s All Things Considered and written the “United Tastes” column for The New York Times. Edge lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his son, Jess, and his wife, Blair Hobbs. Follow him on Twitter @johntedge, on Instagram @johntedge, or on the Web at potlikkerpapers.com.
Helen Ellis is the author of the short story collection, American Housewife. She is a poker player who competes on the national tournament circuit. Raised in Alabama, she lives with her husband in New York City.
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi’s Dark Past and The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South. His essays and criticism have appeared in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal,The American Scholar, NPR, WIRED, and The New Yorker, and he is the former editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review at the University of Virginia. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, he will be a visiting professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi for the 2017 to 2018 academic year.
Alvin S. Felzenberg was the principal spokesman for the 9/11 Commission and Director of Communications for the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress. He served in two presidential administrations, as an adviser to the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, and on the majority staff of the U.S. House of Representatives. He teaches at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and is the author of The Leaders We Deserved (and a Few We Didn’t). He holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University. He lives in Washington, DC.
Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. She’s won grants and awards from the N.E.A., the United States Artists, a Pushcart, and a Fulbright to Brazil. Fennelly has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables, a book of nonfiction, Great with Child, and The Tilted World, a novel she co-authored with her husband, Tom Franklin. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs will be published by Norton in fall ‘17. Fennelly and Franklin live in Oxford with their three children.
William Ferris is Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. With Ferris’s two previous books, Give My Poor Heart Ease and The Storied South, The South in Color completes an informal trilogy of Ferris’s documentation of the South’s tumultuous twentieth century.
Candace Fleming is the acclaimed author of numerous books for children, including Ben Franklin’s Almanac, an ALA Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; as well as Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!; Gabriella’s Song; and When Agnes Caws; all ALA Notable Books. She lives in a suburb of Chicago.
John M. Floyd’s work has appeared in more than 250 different publications, including The Strand Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and The Best American Mystery Stories. A former Air Force captain and IBM systems engineer, John is also a three-time Derringer Award winner, an Edgar Award finalist, and a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He is the author of six books: Rainbow’s End, Midnight, Clockwork, Deception, Fifty Mysteries, and Dreamland.
Martha Hall Foose is the author of Screen Doors & Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales of a Southern Cook, the best-selling homage to Southern cooking, won the James Beard Award for American Cooking and The Southern Independent Booksellers Award. Her other titles include: A Southerly Course: Recipes & Stories from Close to Home; Oh Gussie! Cooking and Visiting in Kimberly’s Southern Kitchen and My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen with Asha Gomez. Martha makes her home in the Mississippi Delta with her husband and son.
Gilbert Ford grew up in a family of professional photographers in Jackson, Mississippi, and moved to New York to attend Pratt Institute. After graduating, he worked as a designer and illustrator for a giftware company, creating puzzles, games, stickers, stationery, and activity books for children, before setting out on his own in 2007.
He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY where he has illustrated many popular middle grade books and several picture books. In 2015 he received his MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His picture book The Marvelous Thing That Came From A Spring (which he also wrote) was published by Atheneum in Fall, 2016. His picture book Soldier Song (written by Debbie Levy) was released by Disney/Hyperion in Winter, 2017. His picture book he wrote and illustrated called How the Cookie Crumbled will be published by Atheneum in Fall, 2017. He is currently illustrating ITCH: Everything You Didn’t Want to Know About What Makes You Scratch (written by Anita Sanchez) to be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2018.
Richard Ford is the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day—the first novel to win the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award—The Lay of the Land, and New York Times bestseller Let Me Be Frank with You. His other works include bestselling novel Canada and the short story collections Rock Springsand A Multitude of Sins, which contain many widely anthologized stories and most recently his only work of non-fiction, Between Them: Remembering My Parents. He lives in Boothbay, Maine, with his wife Kristina Ford.
Tom Franklin is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which was nominated for nine awards and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award. His previous works include the Edgar-winning story, Poachers, from the collection under the same title, as well as The Tilted World, which he co-authored with Beth Ann Fennelly, Hell at the Breech, and Smonk. Winner of a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship, he teaches in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.
Jimmie is a legal and political writer as well as columnist for The Clarion-Ledger. He has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist covering the people, places and things that make Mississippi special.
Jimmie has won numerous awards, including the Sigma Delta Chi award, the Best of Gannett, the Mississippi Press Association reporting award and the National Association of Black Journalists award. Jimmie is a member of the regional Hall of Fame of the National Association of Black Journalists.
He has appeared on True Crime national shows, including TV One’s “Fatal Attraction” and “For My Man,” “Snapped, and Redrum,” which is murder spelled backward. Jimmie also served as a researcher and consultant for the former live television show CourtTV.
A graduate of Jackson State University, Jimmie and his wife Pattie are the proud parents of one daughter, April.
Tim Gautreaux is the author of three novels and two earlier short story collections. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and GQ. After teaching for thirty years at Southeastern Louisiana University, he now lives, with his wife, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Peter Geye was born and raised in Minneapolis, where he continues to live. His previous novels are Safe from the Sea and The Lighthouse Road. Wintering also recently won the Minnesota Book Award.
Ellen Gilchrist, Fayetteville, Arkansas, teaches creative writing at the University of Arkansas. She is the author of several collections of short stories and novellas including The Cabal and Other Stories, Flights of Angels, The Age of Miracles, The Courts of Love, In the Land of Dreamy Dreams, Victory Over Japan (winner of the National Book Award in 1984), Drunk with Love, I Cannot Get You Close Enough, and most recently, Acts of God. Her novels include The Anna Papers; The Annunciation; Net of Jewels; Starcarbon; Sarah Conley; Anabasis: A Journey to the Interior; and I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy. She is the author of two collections of essays, Falling through Space and The Writing Life, both published by University Press of Mississippi.
Craig W. Gill is the Director of the University Press of Mississippi. He has worked at the press for almost twenty years rising from Senior Editor to Editor-in-Chief to Director. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin he has worked in scholarly publishing for twenty-seven years at Northwestern University Press, the University of Chicago Press, the University Press of Kentucky, and the University Press of Mississippi. Over the course of his career he has acquired and published more than six hundred books.
Richard Grant is an author, journalist and television host. He grew up in London, England, and now lives in Jackson, Mississippi. His last book, Dispatches From Pluto: Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta, was a New York Times bestseller and the best-selling book in Mississippi for the past two years. He is currently writing journalism for Smithsonian magazine and working on his fifth book of non-fiction.
Kristin L. Gray drinks coffee (cream, no sugar) and writes books (funny, not sad) from her home in northwest Arkansas. She loves to read, walk her dogs, and eat cake for breakfast. Kristin’s fourth-grade self would never believe she has five children, two dogs, one fish, a bearded dragon, and a shy gecko. Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge is her first novel. To learn more about Kristin, or to send her a cake, visit her online at KristinLGray.com.
Ms. Miriam Gray currently serves as an English II Instructor at Lanier High School. Ms. Gray recently completed her seventh year as an educator.
Gray received her Bachelor of Arts in English and Literature from Millsaps College and her Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education from Belhaven University.
Gray’s best moments as an educator thus far, include witnessing her students bring Antigone to life; assisting them in writing and editing pieces for Art, Poetry and Justice publications to address social justice issues; and having circle talks in class.
Chandler Griffin is Mississippi native, documentary filmmaker, educator and the Founder of Barefoot Workshops, with sixteen years of experience leading over one hundred and twenty media-based workshops across twenty-four countries. Chandler and his wife, Alison Fast, are continuously creating Mississippi-based documentaries through their production company, Blue Magnolia Films, and constantly working to develop and pioneer new media-based programs that empower individuals and grassroots organizations to make change in their communities across the globe. For Mississippi’s bicentennial, Chandler & Alison are leading a statewide storytelling project to produce one-hundred community-based new media stories that will also be published in a photo book, Mississippi Bright Spots. They live between Los Angeles, the Mississippi Delta and Cape Town, South Africa. Chandler holds a BFA in Photography and a BFA in Video/Film from the Savannah College of Art & Design.
Matthew Guinn’s first novel, The Resurrectionist, was a finalist for the Edgar Award. A native Atlantan, he now lives with his family in Jackson, Mississippi.
Phil Hardwick loves a good mystery. Early in his career, he solved real ones as a police officer and state investigator. These days he’s an economic developer and college instructor who spends his spare time writing mysteries.
He is the author of The Mississippi Mystery Series, a 10-book collection of short novels featuring Jack Boulder, Mississippi’s premier (fictional) private eye, including the latest volume, Letters from Lexington. His award-winning column on leadership and economic/community development appears bi-weekly in the Mississippi Business Journal.
He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and is also a member of the Authors Guild.
In November of 2016, Congressman Gregg Harper was elected to serve his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives after having been first elected to Congress in November of 2008.
Gregg represents Mississippi’s Third Congressional District, which stretches from Wilkinson County in southwest Mississippi to Oktibbeha County and includes the northeast corner of the state capital Jackson and the I-20 corridor into east central Mississippi.
Family and Community
Congressman Harper has lived in the Third Congressional District since 1972 and currently resides in Pearl, Mississippi with his wife of thirty-seven years, Sidney. They have a son, Livingston, and a daughter and son in law, Maggie and Brett. The Harpers are active members of Crossgates Baptist Church in Brandon where he served for many years as a Sunday school teacher for high school and college students.
The son of a former petroleum engineer and a mom who worked two days a week until she was 88 years old, Gregg learned at a young age the value of hard work and the importance of a quality education. Gregg and Sidney are both graduates of Mississippi College where he majored in Chemistry. He then earned his law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Gregg practiced law for twenty-seven years, including serving as the prosecuting attorney for the cities of Brandon and Richland, Mississippi. He also served on the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board and remains active in his community as a member of both the Pearl and Rankin County Chambers of Commerce. Additionally, Gregg was honored to serve as the board attorney for the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village until his election to Congress in 2008.
In the 115th Congress, Gregg was selected by the Speaker of the House to serve as Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, a standing committee with vast oversight and administrative responsibilities in the House of Representatives and additional institutions. Chairman Harper also serves on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, where he is a member of three subcommittees: Energy; Environment; and the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee, where he serves as the Vice-Chairman. Additionally, Congressman Harper serves on the Joint Committees on Printing and the Library of Congress, where he serves as Chairman.
A longtime advocate for American-made energy, Gregg Harper believes that Congress must advance ideas that stabilize fuel prices and build a steady supply of American energy. On a more personal note, the Congressman and his wife, Sidney, are also committed to supporting families raising children with special needs. As a member of Congress, Gregg founded the Congressional Internship Program for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. He has also worked to streamline federal programs and services intended to be a support to youth with significant disabilities in transition from adolescence to adulthood. In 2014, Gregg Harper authored the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act that was passed into law, ended taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns and conventions, and redirected that funding to pediatric medical research.
A strong advocate for our Second Amendment rights, Gregg is a Life Member of the National Rifle Association. Congressman Harper has also championed laws removing burdensome and unneeded federal mandates, promoting innovative drug developments for neurodevelopmental disorders, and advancing telemedicine. He looks forward to his work in the U.S. House of Representatives to advocate conservative values in the important tasks and challenges facing America.
Derrick Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s worked as assistant poetry editor for Third World Press and The Cream City Review and has taught community writing workshops for individuals of all ages, including senior citizens. A two-time Pushcart Nominee, Harriell’s poems have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. Cotton is his first collection of poems.
Derrick Harriell is the director of the Master of Fine Arts-Creative Writing Program and assistant professor of English and African-American Studies at the University of Mississippi. He’s the author of three collections of poetry: Cotton (Aquarius Press-Willow Books, 2010), Ropes, (Aquarius Press-Willow Books, 2013), and Stripper in Wonderland (Louisiana State University Press, 2017). His essays and book reviews have been published widely.
Jessica B. Harris is one of a handful of African Americans who have achieved prominence in the culinary world. She holds a PhD from NYU, teaches English at Queens College, and lectures internationally. The author of the memoir My Soul Looks Back as well as twelve cookbooks, her articles have appeared in Vogue, Food & Wine, Essence, and The New Yorker, among other publications; she has made numerous television and radio appearances and has been profiled in The New York Times. Considered one of the preeminent scholars of the food of the African Diaspora, Harris has been inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who in Food and Beverage in America, received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University, holds awards from sources too numerous to note, and recently helped the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture to conceptualize its cafeteria.
Jamie Harrison has lived in Montana with her family for almost thirty years. She has worked as a caterer, writer, and as a technical editor for archaeological, botanical, and biological reports. She is the daughter of Jim Harrison.
She has previously published the Blue Deer series (Edge of Crazies, Going Local, An Unfortunate Prairie Occurrence, Blue Deer Thaw).
Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13.
Prior to her latest post she served, since 1993, as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Maryland. Hayden was nominated by President Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Prior to joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993. She was an assistant professor for Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1991. Hayden was library services coordinator for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago from 1982 to 1987. She began her career with the Chicago Public Library as the young adult services coordinator from 1979 to 1982 and as a library associate and children’s librarian from 1973 to 1979.
Hayden was president of the American Library Association from 2003 to 2004. In 1995, she was the first African American to receive Library Journal’s Librarian of the Year Award in recognition of her outreach services at the Pratt Library, which included an after-school center for Baltimore teens offering homework assistance and college and career counseling. Hayden received a B.A. from Roosevelt University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School of the University of Chicago.
Toni Hetzel has been a lifelong avid reader. She has been a road warrior for Random House books for more than 17 years, and worked in a bookstore for many years prior. She lives in Decatur, GA, with her family.
Twenty three years ago Kimberly Willis Holt stopped talking about wanting to be a writer and started to pursue her dream. Because of her family’s Louisiana roots she considers herself a southerner, but her father’s military career took her to places beyond the South, including Paris and Guam.
She’s the author of several books for a wide range of ages, many of which have won awards and honors. Her third novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She writes and gardens in Texas.
Dr. Leslie Hossfeld is Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology at Mississippi State University. She is trained in Rural Sociology from North Carolina State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Hossfeld has extensive experience examining rural poverty and economic restructuring and has made two presentations to the United States Congress and one to the North Carolina Legislature on job loss and rural economic decline. Dr. Hossfeld has served as Co-Chair of the American Sociological Association Task Force on Public Sociology, Vice President of Sociologists for Women in Society, President of the Southern Sociological Society, President Elect of the Alabama and Missisisppi Sociological Association, and appointed to the USDA Rural Growth and Opportunity Board of Advisors. She is co-founder and President of the Southeastern North Carolina Food Systems Program, Feast Down East. In 2015 she founded and directs The Mississippi Food Insecurity Project (MFIP) (www.mfip.msstate.edu), that examines food access and food insecurity in Mississippi. Dr. Hossfeld is also the Associate Director for Local Food Systems, Food Insecurity and Economic Development of the Myrlie Evers Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
Judy Hottensen is the Associate Publisher at Grove Atlantic. She worked with, travelled with, ate and drank with—and adored—Jim Harrison. Previously she was Publisher of Weinstein Books, an imprint associated with the film company, and worked at Pantheon Books, Simon and Schuster, and The Village Voice among others.
Born in Deep Run, NC to a farming household, Vivian Howard learned early on to appreciate the ebb and flow of eating with the seasons. After graduating from North Carolina State University, Vivian moved to New York and began training under Voyage chef Scott Barton. She later went on to learn from creative, cutting-edge chefs Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason at WD50 and then joined the opening team at Jean Georges Vongerichten’s critically-acclaimed Spice Market.
In 2005 Vivian and her husband Ben Knight returned to Vivian’s roots to open Chef & the Farmer, a “farm to fork” restaurant in the small town of Kinston, NC. She also owns and operates a second restaurant right across the street from Chef & the Farmer – The Boiler Room.
Vivian stars in and produces the Emmy- and Peabody-award winning show, “A Chef’s Life,” a PBS series that celebrates family, work and food in North Carolina. In 2016, she won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for “Outstanding Personality/Host.” Simultaneously, that year, Vivian released her first ever cookbook – Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South. The cookbook was also nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award and was named ‘Cookbook of the Year’ by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
In fall 2017, Vivian will open her first restaurant outside of Kinston, Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC. In early 2018, Vivian will also open Handy & Hot, a bakery in Kinston located on the same block as her two existing restaurants.
Jeffery B. Howell, a native of Durant, Mississippi, is an Associate Professor of History at East Georgia State College in Statesboro, Georgia. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in History from Mississippi State University. He earned a M.Div. from Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee. He has a B.A. in History from the University of Mississippi. He is the author of Hazel Brannon Smith: The Female Crusading Scalawag, and a co-author in two textbooks: The American Road: Crossing the American Landscape in the Modern Era U.S. History series, and the upcoming work, Our Western World.
Richard Howorth is founder & owner of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, where he served two terms as the city’s mayor.
Ladee Hubbard is a winner of the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and the William Faulkner—William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She holds a BA from Princeton University, an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, and a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles. She lives in New Orleans, where she is on the adjunct faculty in the Africana Studies Program at Tulane University. The Talented Ribkinsis her first novel.
Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.
Born and raised in the Mississippi Delta town of Rosedale, Linda Williams Jackson likes to spin stories about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Her debut middle grade historical novel, Midnight Without a Moon, is about an ordinary thirteen-year-old African-American girl, Rose Lee Carter, who must make an extraordinary decision after the 1955 murder of Emmett Till. Deemed “a powerful novel” by many reviewers, Midnight Without a Moon appears on recommended reading lists at multiple libraries, including the New York Public Library and the San Francisco Public Library. A Sky Full of Stars, the second book in The Rose Lee Carter Series, will be published on January 2, 2018.
Motivational speaker and historian, Pamela D.C. Junior is the newly appointed director of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum located in Jackson, Mississippi. As director over the first state sponsored civil rights museum in the country, Ms. Junior realizes the importance in telling the absolute “Truth” when interpreting the history of the many persons who fought and died for change in the South.
As former manager of Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, Pamela pasionately and tirelessly fought to make this Museum a first-class place of interpretation. Her many awards and accolades include: January of 2014, Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center was named, “50 States, 50 Spots” by CNN. Pamela was named 2014 Hometown Hero by the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also in 2014 the City of Jackson’s administration gave the highest award of naming a day in honor of Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center. January of 2015, Pamela received the “For My People Award” for her artistic and academic commitment to the black community. January, 2015 she received a proclamation from the City of Jackson, Mississippi for her professionalism, diligence, and dedication to service in making a positive impact in this community. And most recently, February 2017, Pamela was honored by city council and the mayor of the City of Jackson for 26 years of dedicated service to the City of Jackson.
Pamela is a board member of the MS Children’s Museum; advisory board of director for the Mississippi Book Festival and, board of director of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area; Pamela is also co-founder of the Mississippi Black Theater Festival.
Michael Kardos is the author of the novels Before He Finds Her and The Three-Day Affair, an Esquire best book of the year, as well as the story collection One Last Good Time, and the textbook The Art and Craft of Fiction: A Writer’s Guide. His short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, and elsewhere. Awards include the Pushcart Prize and the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award for fiction. Michael grew up on the Jersey Shore, received a degree in music from Princeton University, and played the drums professionally for a number of years. He now lives in Starkville, Mississippi, where he co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State University. His new novel, Bluff, about a magician and a cardsharp, is forthcoming in 2018.
Taylor Kitchings is the 2016 recipient of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction for his novel YARD WAR, published by Wendy Lamb/Penguin Random House. YARD WAR is also a Junior Library Guild Selection, a Southern Independent Booksellers “OKRA Pick,” a Scholastic Book Fairs selection, and a finalist for the SIBA/2016 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. A sequel, THE TIDINGS TREE, is slated for release spring of 2018.
Michael Knight is the author of the novels The Typist and Divining Rod; the short-story collections Dogfight and Other Stories and Goodnight, Nobody; and the novella The Holiday Season. He teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee and lives in Knoxville with his family.
Jeffrey Lent was born in Vermont and grew up there and in western New York State. He studied literature and psychology at Franconia College in New Hampshire and SUNY Purchase. His first novel, In the Fall, was a national bestseller. His other novels are Lost Nation, A Peculiar Grace, After You’ve Gone, and A Slant of Light, which was a finalist for the New England Book Award and a Washington Post Best Book of 2015. Lent lives with his wife and two daughters in central Vermont.
Phillip Lewis is a writer from North Carolina. The Barrowfields is his first novel.
Odie Lindsey’s fiction appears in Best American Short Stories, Iowa Review, Guernica, Electric Literature, Fourteen Hills and elsewhere. He is a combat veteran, and his related story collection, We Come To Our Senses (W.W. Norton), was included on Best of 2016 lists at Electric Literature and Military Times. The New York Times Book Review noted that it “captures our culture now.” Lindsey is an associate editor of the Mississippi Encyclopedia. His novel is forthcoming from W.W. Norton.
Bill Loehfelm is the author of the critically acclaimed Devil series about New Orleans Police Department rookie Maureen Coughlin, featuring the novels, Let the Devil Out, Doing the Devil’s Work, The Devil in Her Way, and The Devil She Knows. He is also the author of the stand-alone novels, Fresh Kills and Bloodroot, set in his hometown of Staten Island. His short fiction and non-fiction have appeared in several anthologies. He lives in New Orleans with his wife, AC Lambeth, a writer and yoga instructor, and their dog. He plays drums in a rock-’n-’roll band. The fifth Maureen Coughlin novel, The Devil’s Muse, will be published in July, 2017.
Robby Luckett received his BA in political science from Yale University and his PhD from the University of Georgia with a focus on modern civil rights movement history. A native Mississippian, he returned home, where he is a tenured Associate Professor of History and Director of the Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African American Experience at Jackson State University. His book, Joe T. Patterson and the Dilemma of the White South: Evolving Resistance to Black Advancement, was published by the University Press of Mississippi (2015). Along with several publications and presentations at numerous academic conferences, he has appeared in documentaries, including the Independent Lens film Spies of Mississippi as well as An Ordinary Hero about the life of Joan Trumpauer Mulhollhand. He is an Advisory Board member for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and serves as Immediate Past-Chair of the Board of Trustees of Leadership Greater Jackson, and he is on the Board of Directors of Common Cause Mississippi and the Association of African American Museums. He has three children: Silas, Hazel, and Flip.
Ebony Lumumba is currently an assistant professor of English at Tougaloo College where she teaches courses in global and American literature and chairs the department of English and Modern Languages. She is also a doctoral candidate in the department of English at the University of Mississippi. Ebony received her Master of Arts degree in English at Georgia State University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts in English.
She was named the 2013 Eudora Welty Research Fellow by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Eudora Welty Foundation and Tougaloo College’s Humanities Teacher of the Year in 2014. Her publications include a chapter in the recently published From Uncle Tom’s Cabin to The Help: Critical Perspectives on White-Authored Texts of Black Lifeentitled “Must the Novelist Ask Permission?: Authority and Authenticity of the Black Voice in the works of Eudora Welty and Kathryn Stockett’s The Help” and an article in the Eudora Welty Review titled “‘Caught in the act of living’”: Welty as a voyeur and witness of black life.” Her forthcoming publication “The Matter of Black Lives in American Literature” is scheduled for release this year. She is a member of Free Christian Ministries and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ebony is happily married to Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and the couple has one daughter, Alaké Maryama.
Born in 1977, Carter Dalton Lyon grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, where he attended public schools and graduated from Henry Clay High School in 1995. He went to college at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, majoring in history and completing an honor’s thesis on the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico. After working on Capitol Hill for two years following graduation, Dalton moved to Raleigh, North Carolina, and taught British and United States history at St. Timothy’s-Hale School (now called St. David’s School). Desiring a graduate degree in history and wanting to further pursue his interests in examining the civil rights movement, he entered the Graduate School at the University of Mississippi in 2004. He completed a Master’s thesis that chronicled the early months of the Jackson church visit campaign and expanded upon it for his PhD dissertation, “ Lifting the Color Bar from the House of God: The 1963-1964 Church Visit Campaign to Challenge Segregated Sanctuaries in Jackson, Mississippi,” which he completed and defended in 2010. This dissertation formed the basis of his book, Sanctuaries of Segregation: The Story of the Jackson Church Visit Campaign, which was published by the University Press of Mississippi in 2017. For the last six years, Dalton has been teaching U.S. history and chairing the history department at St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, Tennessee. He is married to Sally Cassady of Gulfport, Mississippi, and has two young daughters, Lucy Rose and Ann Carter.
Professor Emerita of English at Millsaps College where she taught for twenty-seven years, Suzanne Marrs received the 1998 Phoenix Award for Outstanding Welty Scholarship from the Eudora Welty Society, and she was Mississippi’s Humanities Scholar of the Year in 2009. She is currently Welty Foundation Scholar-in-Residence at the Eudora Welty House. Marrs is the author of Eudora Welty, A Biography, and of One Writer’s Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty as well as being the editor of What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell. Marrs’s most recent publication is Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald (July 2015), which she co-edited with Tom Nolan and which has just been released in a paperback edition.
John Marzalek is graduate of Canisiu College, 1961, where he received his masters and Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame, 1963, 1968. He participated in ROTC at Canisius and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Intelligence branch upon graduation. He was on active duty from 1965-1967, serving at Fort Benning, Fort Holabird, and in a psychological operations battalion in Viet Nam.
From 2008 to the present he has been the executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association’s Grant Presidential Library at Mississippi State University. From 1998-2012, he was the Director and Mentor of Distinguished (Undergraduate) Scholars, He is co-editor (with Timothy B. Smith) of The World of Ulysses S. Grant book series at Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 to present.
He is the author or editor of fifteen books and over three hundred articles and book reviews. Sherman, A Soldier’s Passion for Order was a finalist for the 1993 Lincoln Prize and won non-fiction awards from the Mississippi Library Association and the Ohioiana Library Association. His first book Court Martial, A Black Man in America was made into a Showtime motion picture and reissued as a paperback under the new title Assault at West Point. President Bill Clinton presented the family of the wronged black West Point cadet a posthumous U.S. Army commission during a White House ceremony. Along with Charles D. Lowery, he edited The Encyclopedia of African American Civil Rights, which the Library Journal named one of the best reference books of 1992. Three of his books (Sherman, A Soldier’s Passion for Order, The Petticoat Affair: Manners, Mutiny, and Sex in Andrew Jackson’s White House, and Commander of All Lincoln’s Armies, A Life of General Henry W. Halleck) have been History Book Club Selections. His latest books are The Best Writings of Ulysses S. Grant (2015) which won a writing award from the U.S. Army Foundation, Lincoln and the Military (2014) and A Black Congressman in the Age of Jim Crow, South Carolina’s George Washington Murray (2006). He continues to lecture widely throughout the nation and has appeared on the major television networks. He serves on the board of advisors of the Lincoln Forum and the Lincoln Prize. Canisius College named him a distinguished alumnus; he received the Richard Wright Literary Award for life time achievement by a Mississippi author, and the Mississippi Historical Society presented him its highest award, the B.L.C. Wailes Award for national distinction in history. His graduate students published a book in his honor entitled Of Times and Race: Essays Inspired by John F. Marszalek, 2013.
He and his wife, Jeanne, have established Library Fund Endowments at Mississippi State University, Canisius College in Buffalo NY and St. Mary’s College in South Bend Indiana. Presently, along with David Nolen and Louie Gallo of the U.S. Grant Association, he is completing the first completely annotated edition of the Memoirs of U.S. Grant, which will be published by Harvard University Press in 2017.
Since 2016, Clara Martin is the curator and owner of Twenty by Jenny (www.twentybyjenny.com), a children’s book review site started by Jennifer Brown, now VP Publisher of Knopf Books for Young Readers.
Clara grew up in Jackson, MS, home to Eudora Welty, Willie Morris, and William Faulkner. She has always been surrounded by stories. She began her journey at Lemuria Bookstore, working there in the summers during high school.
After graduating from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN with a B.A. in both English and Art History, Clara returned to Mississippi, where she currently works at Lemuria Bookstore as the Children’s Books Buyer in Oz. She also writes a weekly newspaper column in The Clarion Ledger on children’s books. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, VT.
Jimmi Mayes was born in Jackson, MS. During his high school years he performed in Mississippi Juke Joints with touring groups and after graduating from high school he left to pursue his career as a musician. Before he was twenty-one he was performing and touring with musicians who were legends in the business. Jimmi Mayes became a highly sought after drummer and an expert with the shuffle.
Jimmi Mayes played and toured with Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Robert Junior Lockwood, and more over the course of his career. He backed Marvin Gaye and later became the bandleader for Joey Dee & the Starliters who had a monster hit the “Peppermint Twist” during the time Jimmi was with them. He became good friends with Jimi Hendrix and eventually he was asked by Jimi Hendrix to record with him. Mayes is on four of Hendrix’s albums.
Mayes formed a band called the Mill Street Depo which became the toast of the town in Mexico City. During this time he cut tracts for a movie sound-tract and a compilation album on CBS Records. After the Mexico work he returned to Chicago and was hired to back Jimmy Reed for several shows.
Jimmi Mayes performed in Las Vegas in 2015 as a member of the Original Legends of the Blues band. The Original Legends of the Blues band also released a CD which includes three tracts by Jimmi Mayes.
Previous to the work with the Original Legends of the Blues band Jimmi Mayes released his book The Amazing Jimmi Mayes “Sideman to the Stars” published by the University Press of Mississippi. Jimmi Mayes is also featured in a recently released and highly acclaimed documentary America’s Blues which premiered during the International Blues Challenge in 2016.
Jimmi Mayes was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame October 16, 2016 at Buddy Guy’s Legends Chicago; and was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Central Mississippi Blues Society in 2016. He is a member of the Mississippi Artist Roster.
His latest album will be released in 2017 by Mississippi Delta Records. My Whole Life’s A Shuffle is being recorded at the B.B. King recording studio located on the MVSU campus. The album features Jimmi Mayes on drums and vocals. The CD includes new original music with dynamite sounds, along with Jimmi’s core band the album features national and international artists on horns, harp, guitar, keys, and bass. Jimmi Mayes is represented by Mississippi Delta Blues, Inc.
Panny Flautt Mayfield, a lifelong resident of the Mississippi Delta, is an award-winning journalist who has been photographing blues and gospel musicians at festivals, clubs, churches, and juke joints for decades. Her collections have been exhibited in museums across the United States and Europe and have earned critical acclaim from Aperture magazine. She has been recognized with more than thirty awards of excellence from the Mississippi Press Association, the Associated Press, the Mississippi Film Commission, and the College Public Relations Association of Mississippi.
Charline R. McCord, a resident of Clinton, Mississippi, was born in Hattiesburg and grew up in Laurel, Mississippi, and Jackson, Tennessee. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Southern Mississippi and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Mississippi College, where she won the Bellamann Award for Creative Writing, edited the literary magazine, and was named 2009 Distinguished Alumna by the Mississippi College Department of English. She has co-edited a series of books with Judy H. Tucker: A Year in Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi, 2017), Coming Home to Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi, 2013), Christmas Memories from Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi, 2010), Christmas Stories from the South’s Best Writers (Pelican, 2008), Growing Up in Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi, 2008), A Dixie Christmas (Algonquin, 2005), Christmas in the South (Algonquin, 2004), A Very Southern Christmas (Algonquin, 2003), and Christmas Stories from Mississippi (University Press of Mississippi, 2001).
Alison McGhee is the New York Times bestselling author of Someday, as well as Maybe a Fox, Firefly Hollow, Little Boy, So Many Days, Star Bright, A Very Brave Witch, and the Bink and Gollie books. Her other children’s books include All Rivers Flow to the Sea, Countdown to Kindergarten, and Snap. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Laguna Beach, California. You can visit her at AlisonMcGhee.com.
Moriah McStay received a BA at Northwestern University, and two master’s degrees at University of Chicago. None of her degrees have anything to do with writing. Before her current life as a writer, she worked in finance and non-profit program management.
Her first novel is Everything That Makes You (Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins.) She now writes full-time and is hard at work on the next one. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her husband and three daughters.
Mary Miller is from Jackson, Mississippi. She is the author of two collections of stories, Big World (SF/LD Books, 2009), and Always Happy Hour (Liveright, 2017), as well as a novel, The Last Days of California (Liveright, 2014), which has been optioned for film by Amazon Studios. Her stories have appeared in the Oxford American, McSweeney’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, and Mississippi Review, and have been anthologized in New Stories from the South, Mississippi Noir, and The Seagull Reader. She is a former James A. Michener Fellow at the University of Texas and John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss.
The stories of Clarion-Ledger investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a suspected serial killer behind bars. His stories have also exposed injustices and corruption, helping lead to investigations, exonerations, firings and reforms of state agencies. A winner of a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant and more than 30 other national awards, he is writing a memoir about his pursuit of civil rights cold cases, Race Against Time, for Simon & Schuster. His previous work includes The Preacher and the Klansman, a real-life story of hate and racial reconciliation, and Gone, an expose that led to the arrest and conviction in the oldest suspected serial killer case in U.S. history.
The son of a cattleman and grandson of a butcher, Matt Moore is the quintessential Southern cook. Author of A Southern Gentleman’s Kitchen, his food writing has garnered critical acclaim from publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times. His Southern charm has landed him on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, and WGN. Matt resides in Nashville with his family and is also a musician, pilot, adventure seeker, entrepreneur, Moonshine cologne creator, avid fisherman and a cast iron and wild game enthusiast.
A lifelong Mississippian, Morris is retired from the University Press of Mississippi, where she was executive editor for many years living in Jackson. She is the widow of the writer Willie Morris.
The investigative work of Concordia Sentinel editor Stanley Nelson made him a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting and has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and on CNN and NPR. Winner of the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, among many other honors, Nelson was one of seven reporters featured in theColumbia Journalism Review’s 50th anniversary issue, “The Art of Great Reporting.”
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Oceanic (Copper Canyon, 2018). Her collection of nature essays is forthcoming from Milkweed. Honors include a Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is poetry editor of Orion magazine and has new poems in Tin House, Poetry, and The Georgia Review. In 2016-17, she was the John and Renée Grisham Writer-In-Residence and is now professor of English in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.
Jill O’Connor is a pastry chef, food writer and author of seven cookbooks. She trained at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London, England and studied with the late pastry chef Albert Kumin at The International Pastry Arts Center in Elmsford, New York. She holds a BA in English from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA.
Jill’s cookbook, Sticky, Chewy, Messy Gooey Treats for Kids was published by Chronicle Book in October, 2009. It is a sequel to her popular cookbook, Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth (Chronicle Books 2007) which is currently in its 8th printing and was named one of the top 25 cookbooks of the year by Food & Wine Magazine. Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey was also featured in the book Best of the Best, Food & Wine’s compilation of recipes from their favorite 25 cookbooks of the year. Her latest cookbook with Chronicle Books, Cake, I Love You, was just released in May, 2017.
Jill is the former pastry chef of the famous Golden Door Spa in Escondido, CA. She created new recipes as well as reworking classic European desserts into low-fat, low-calories treats. This work inspired her first cookbook, Sweet Nothings, (Chronicle Books.) Her other books include Phyllo, Easter Treats, and Simple French Desserts (all published by Chronicle Books.)
Along with her books, Jill has developed recipes for Southern Living, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking magazines. Currently, she is a writer for the San Diego Union Tribune food section developing recipes and working with staff photographers as the food and prop stylist for her stories.
Jill is a member of IACP (International Association of Cooking Professionals) and attended the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers where she won the prestigious Greenbrier Award for excellence in food writing in 2007. She lives in Coronado, CA with her husband and two daughters.
Gregg Orr, director for Ericsson, is a vice president with Westower Communications and has assembled the most complete private collection of Jim Harrison’s published material known to exist. He assisted in the preparation of the Rothschild bibliographical catalog of William Somerset Maugham.
Joanne O’Sullivan is a journalist for the Asheville Citizen-Times. She lived in New Orleans for several years and returns to southern Louisiana frequently. Between Two Skies is her debut novel. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and children.
Ted Ownby teaches History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, where he is director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is coeditor, with Charles Reagan Wilson and associate editors Ann Abadie, Odie Lindsey and James G. Thomas of The Mississippi Encyclopedia, published in May 2017 by the University Press of Mississippi. He is the author of two books, Subduing Satan: Recreation, Religion, and Manhood in the Rural South, 1865-1920, and American Dreams in Mississippi: Consumers, Poverty, & Culture, 1830-1998, and editor or coeditor of seven others.
Dr. Robert Wesley Pearigen is the eleventh president of Millsaps College in Jackson, MS.
A native of Memphis, Tenn., Dr. Pearigen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he earned a bachelor of arts in political science. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Duke University. His post-graduate study included constitutional law, judicial process and political theory, particularly the work of Plato and Aristotle. His academic fields of interest include public law, political theory and American government.
Over his career, Dr. Pearigen has served as a secondary school teacher and trustee and in higher education as a professor, dean of students and vice president for university relations. As Millsaps’ president, Dr. Pearigen has launched a comprehensive college-wide strategic plan entitled “Across the Street and Around the Globe: Partnerships and Influence at Millsaps College.” Rooted in the college’s values, mission and purpose, the strategic plan has been animated by a growing awareness of the need to make the most of Millsaps’ distinctive strengths, including its location in the capital city of Mississippi, its international programs and partnerships (including a 4,500 acre bicultural reserve in the Yucatan), and the unique combination of a liberal arts college with a business school accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
As a faculty member at Millsaps, Dr. Pearigen teaches courses in constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, jurisprudence and political theory. He is an advocate for, and believer in, liberal arts education as intrinsically meaningful for individuals as well as the very best preparation for a good and worthy life of learning, leadership and service.
Jessica Pearson lives in Nashville, TN and feels lucky to spend her days traveling around the Southeast talking to independent bookstores about Penguin Random House’s amazing books. This truly is the perfect job for a kid who could never see over her summer reading stack of library books. Jessica started her career as a bookseller for an indie bookstore in the Blue Ridge Mountains, worked as a buyer/manager for a bookstore in New York City, and joined Random House as a sales assistant in the New York office in 2009. After a brief hiatus, Jessica rejoined PRH as a sales manager for the Southeast in 2015 and is thrilled to be back working with the best publisher and the best indie bookstores in the country!
Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, and founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which now publishes original books as an imprint at Grove/Atlantic in the United States and Head of Zeus in the U.K., as well as classic crime fiction through MysteriousPress.com. Among the sixty anthologies he’s edited are The Big Book of Jack the Ripper, The Big Book of Sherlock Holmes Stories, The Best American Noir of the Century, The Best American Mystery Stories of the 19th Century and The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century. He served as the host for Turner Classic Movies for its “Month of Mysteries” in 2002. Penzler has won two Edgar Awards, for Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1977 and The Lineup in 2010. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven in 2003. He has been given Lifetime Achievement awards by Noircon and The Strand Magazine.
Mary Laura Philpott is an author whose writing is featured regularly in major media, as well as the creator and illustrator of the humor book Penguins with People Problems; the founding editor of MUSING, the online magazine produced by Parnassus Books; and the co-host of the literary interview program A WORD ON WORDS. She lives in Nashville with her family.
Tom Piazza is the author of twelve books of fiction and nonfiction, including the novels A Free State and City Of Refuge, the post-Katrina manifesto Why New Orleans Matters, and the essay collection Devil Sent The Rain. He was a principal writer for the innovative HBO drama series TREME, and the winner of a Grammy Award for his album notes to Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: A Musical Journey. He lives in New Orleans.
Michael Pickard is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Millsaps College. The 2005 Writer-in-Residence at St. Albans School in Washington, DC, he has served on the faculty of the McMullan Young Writers Workshop and directs the Millsaps English Department’s Visiting Writers Series. His poems have appeared, among other places, in 236 and the Academy of American Poets’s Helen Burns Poetry Anthology. His current research focuses on Welty’s understanding of memory as it intersects with the ongoing curation of her legacy.
Catherine Pierce is the author of three books of poems: The Tornado Is the World, winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters poetry prize, The Girls of Peculiar, also a winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters poetry prize, and Famous Last Words, winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, Boston Review, The Southern Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She co-directs the creative writing program at Mississippi State University.
Harriet Pollack’s most recent book is Eudora Welty’s Fiction and Photography: The Body of The Other Woman. (University of Georgia Press). It identifies and explores a pattern in Welty’s work in which a sheltered middle-class daughter is disturbed or delighted by a woman from another class who takes pleasure in “making a spectacle” of her corporeal self.
Her previous books include Eudora Welty, Whiteness, and Race, Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination, Having Our Way: Women Rewriting Tradition in Twentieth-Century America, and with Suzanne Marrs, Eudora Welty and Politics: Did the Writer Crusade?
She has been Southern Literary Journal’s book review editor and will serve as President of the Eudora Welty Society in the years 2018-2020. In 2009 she organized the Welty at 100 Centennial Academic Conference here in Jackson.
Her next two edited book projects further consider 1) the issue of social class in Welty’s work, and 2) Welty and Multimedia, tracing the modernist writer’s interactions with film, advertising, journalism, magazine culture, radio, music, photography, pulp fiction, theater, and television. Her current research concerns Welty’s drafted but never completed stories. Pollack also has recent articles on Welty’s fiction forthcoming in volumes on teaching Welty and on detective fiction, both.
H.C. Porter, a Jackson, Mississippi, native, is an internationally known painter, printmaker and photographer with a signature gallery in Historic Downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi. Her artwork is in private and corporate collections around the globe and has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions for the past 30 years. Most recently, Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C., added one of Porter’s pieces to their collection. In 2015, her Backyards and Beyond painting series became a permanent exhibition in the Ground Zero Hurricane Museum in Waveland, Mississippi. Her work is featured on CD covers, including one featuring the voices of Maya Angelou, Patti LaBelle and Chaka Khan. Porter’s work is also featured on the cover of Beyond Katrina, a book by U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway. Her work hangs in the Mississippi Senate offices in Washington, D.C., and is in the collection of former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Marsha Barbour. In 2009, Porter received the Mississippi Institute for Arts and Letters Visual Arts Award and was included in the 2011 Mississippi Invitational at the Mississippi Museum of Art. She has been the recipient of a Visual Artistic Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission.
Marshall Ramsey is a two-time Pulitzer Finalist (2002 and 2006). His editorial cartoons are nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate and have appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger. He is the author several successful books including three cartoon collections, two short story collections (Fried Chicken and Wine and Chainsaws and Casseroles) and the delightful children’s book Banjo’s Dream. Ramsey’s cartoons, photos, stories and posts are frequently shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. He’s also the host of the weekly statewide radio program, Now You’re Talking with Marshall Ramsey and the television program Conversations on Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
Ramsey’s also a cancer survivor. Diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2001, he has been honored by both the Melanoma Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society for paying his survival forward. He actively promotes skin cancer awareness and sun safety through cartoons, speeches, skin screenings and a 5K race. He even ran the Marine Corps Marathon to raise funds for melanoma research. (He completed the race, raised $13,000 and developed some wicked leg cramps).
Ramsey, his wife Amy, their three sons and precocious dog Pip live in Mississippi, the best state for politics, storytellers, sweet tea and raising a family.
Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestseller Serena and Above the Waterfall, in addition to four prizewinning novels, including The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.
Peter H. Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling children’s book author and illustrator of many books for children, including the Judy Moody series, written by Meghan McDonald; The Dot; Ish; Sky Color; and Allison McGhee’s Someday, selling more than two million books in over 25 languages around the globe. In 1996, he founded FableVision with his twin brother Paul as a social change agency to help move the world to a better place by creating “stories that matter, stories that move.” He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with his family and is the owner of The Blue Bunny Books and Toys independent bookstore. Visit him online at www.peterhreynolds.com.
Mark Richard is the author of national bestseller House of Prayer No. 2 as well as two award-winning short story collections The Ice at the Bottom of the World, and Charity; and a bestselling novel, Fishboy. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, GQ, The Paris Review, The Oxford American, Grand Street, Shenandoah, The Quarterly, Equator, and Antaeus. He is the recipient of the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Whiting Foundation Writer’s Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship, the Mary Francis Hobson Medal for Arts and Letters, and a National Magazine Award for Fiction. His journalism has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, Spin, Esquire, George, Detour, Vogue, and The Oxford American, and he has been a radio correspondent in Europe for the BBC.
Richard also wrote the screenplay for the movie “Stop-Loss” produced by Paramount, and has been a writer/producer for Fox’s “Tyrant,” AMC’s “Hell on Wheels,” CBS’s “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” Showtime’s Emmy-winning series “Huff,” “Chicago Hope” on CBS, and “Party of Five” on Fox. He is currently co-executive producer for “Fear the Walking Dead.”
Richard lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jennifer Allen and their three sons.
Eric Rohmann is the Caldecott Medal–winning illustrator of My Friend Rabbit and received a Caldecott Honor for Time Flies. He has both written and illustrated numerous books for children, including Oh, No! and Bone Dog. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois.
Ellen Hunter Ruffin serves as the curator of the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at The University of Southern Mississippi. In the American Library Association, Ruffin has served on several prestigious committees: The John Newbery Award, The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, the May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture (Chair), the Bechtel Fellowship and Special Collections Committee (Chair), and is currently serving on the American Library Awards Committee. Ruffin is currently serving as the state of Mississippi’s Councilor to the American Library Association.
Ruffin’s love for children’s literature has continued throughout her life as a middle school, high school, and public librarian. Her favorite series as a child was P. L. Travers’ Mary Poppins. Interestingly, Ruffin was the first to play the part of Mary Poppins at Orlando’s Walt Disney World in 1973-74. Her passion for connecting children with books continues as she teaches children’s literature to pre-service educators at Southern Miss as adjunct faculty in the School of Library and Information Science.
R. Kim Rushing, Cleveland, Mississippi, has taught photography at Delta State University for twenty-three years. His photographs have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and Garden and Gun.
Sidney L. “Sid” Salter is Chief Communications Officer and Director of the Office of Public Affairs at Mississippi State University.
In that role, he leads a team of marketing and communications professionals in producing print, broadcast, and new media content designed to advance MSU’s reputation as a nationally prominent research university. Salter is also the university’s spokesman and the administrator of both the University Television Center and campus radio station WMSV-FM.
MSU’s 2004 National Alumnus of the Year, Salter has enjoyed a unique career as an award-winning journalist, political columnist, television commentator, talk radio host, author, educator, and university administrator. He was a John C. Stennis Scholar in Political Science as a student at MSU.
The Washington Post has listed him as “one of the nation’s best state political reporters.” He is a member of the Miss. Press Association’s Hall of Fame. His syndicated political columns have been published continuously in Mississippi and a number of national newspapers since 1983.
He formerly served as MSU’s first journalist-in-residence at the MSU Libraries and was the inaugural holder of the Kelly Gene Cook Chair in Journalism at the University of Mississippi, where he served on the Journalism faculty in the 1990s.
Salter represents MSU on the board of directors of the University Press of Mississippi and serves on the Southeastern Conference Communicators Executive Committee. He also serves as vice president of the Pushmataha Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.
He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and Counselors to Higher Education, a section within PRSA.
In 2011, Salter wrote the highly-successful biography of legendary MSU broadcaster Jack Cristil, which funded MSU’s Jacob S. “Jack” Cristil Endowed Scholarship.
Salter is a member of the board of directors and chairman of the audit committee of Community Bancshares of Mississippi, Inc., a multi-bank holding company operating as Community Bank in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida. He is also a member of the board of directors of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Foundation.
Salter and his wife, Leilani, are the parents of four grown children and have five grandchildren. They are members of Starkville’s First United Methodist Church.
Otis Sanford holds the Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism at the University of Memphis, and is the author of the critically acclaimed new book, “From Boss Crump to King Willie: How Race Changed Memphis Politics.” Sanford also serves as the political commentator for WREG-TV Channel 3 and writes a weekly Viewpoint column for The Commercial Appeal. Before joining the U of M in 2011, Sanford was editor for opinion and editorials at The Commercial Appeal and formerly served as the paper’s managing editor, the first African-American to hold both positions.
A Mississippi native, Sanford is a 1975 graduate of Ole Miss, and has more than 40 years of professional journalism experience, starting in 1975 at The Clarion-Ledger as an entertainment and feature writer. He then joined The Commercial Appeal as a staff reporter in 1977, and moved to The Pittsburgh Press in 1987 as an assistant city editor. In 1992, he was named deputy city editor of the Detroit Free Press, and returned to The Commercial Appeal in 1994 as deputy managing editor.
In his current role at the University of Memphis, Sanford is a full-time faculty member and conducts various lectures and workshops both on and off campus on journalism, politics, the First Amendment and public policy. He also is co-host of “Informed Sources,” a weekly public affairs show on WREG-TV.
Sanford is past president of the Associated Press Media Editors and past board chairman of the Mid-America Press Institute. Known for his longtime advocacy of freedom of the press and public service, Sanford is a nationally-recognized leader in newsroom management, diversity and journalism ethics. He is married to Rev. Dr. Elaine Sanford, founder and executive director of Her Faith Ministries in Memphis, and they have four children.
Augusta Scattergood’s debut novel GLORY BE appeared on numerous state reading lists and received the SCBWI Crystal Kite southeastern region’s medal and the Mississippi Library Association Award. Her second historical fiction book, THE WAY TO STAY IN DESTINY, was an Amazon best book of the month and given a star on Bank Street’s Best Books of the year. MAKING FRIENDS WITH BILLY WONG, her third middle-grade novel, was published by Scholastic press, August 2016, and features an unlikely friendship between a Chinese American boy who works in his family’s grocery and a young Texan named Azalea who’s come to his town to help her ailing grandmother. It was recently listed as a Bank Street Best Book of the Year.
A school librarian for over twenty years, Augusta grew up in Cleveland, MS and now lives with her husband in St. Pete Beach, Florida. For more information, visit her webpage, augustascattergood.com or say hello on Facebook or Twitter at ARScattergood.
Known for chronicling and celebrating American sporting life and culinary culture through her novels, award-winning publisher, editor and author Susan Schadt launched Susan Schadt Press in February 2015.
Before launching her publishing company, Schadt was president and CEO of ArtsMemphis, a 50-year-old non-profit arts funding organization. During her time at ArtsMemphis, she spearheaded the Memphis For The Arts endowment campaign, which raised $27.2 million. In 2005, she partnered with Ducks Unlimited to launch the historic and ongoing Conservation Through Arts initiative, raising $4 million to support wildlife conservation, local arts groups and community events. Under her leadership, ArtsMemphis allocated more than $45 million to arts organizations in Memphis and Shelby County.
While at ArtsMemphis, Schadt founded Wild Abundance Publishing, where she authored and edited First Shooting Light, 2008; Wild Abundance, 2010; A Million Wings, 2012; and MEMPHIS: Sweet, Spicy & a Little Greasy, 2014. The imprint was awarded The Benny – the highest award from The Printing Industry Association Of The South, 2015. Schadt was also awarded the 2013 Silver Medal in the Independent Book Publisher’s Award.
In the Fall of 2016, Susan Schadt Press released The Chubby Vegetarian: 100 Inspired Vegetable Recipes for the Modern Table and Reel Masters: Chefs Casting About With Timing & Grace. The imprint was awarded the 2017 Silver Medal for Reel Masters in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) for Best Regional Non-Fiction in the South. Upcoming releases for Fall 2017 include: Calling The Wild: The History of Arkansas Duck Calls; A Legacy of Craftsmanship and Rich Hunting Tradition and Shelby Farms Park: Elevating A City.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton studied creative writing at Dartmouth and law at UC Berkeley. A recipient of the Lombard fellowship, she spent a year in the Dominican Republic working for a civil rights organization and writing. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her stories have been published or are forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Limestone Journal, and Broad! Magazine. She lives in the Bay Area, California. A Kind of Freedom is her debut novel.
Corabel Shofner (Bel Alexander) is a wife, mother, attorney, and author. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in English Literature and was on Law Review at Vanderbilt University School of Law. She lived in Jackson, Pass Christian, Clarksdale, and her grandmother’s hunting club on an island in the Mississippi River — with summers in the Texas Hill Country. One day she left and traveled for many years before settling down in Nashville, Tennessee.
Carol Ruth Silver practiced law for 50 years in California, then retired and entered onto her next careers: She was appointed in 2015 to the Board of Trustees, Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Mendocino, California. Her book, Freedom Rider Diary: Smuggled Notes from Parchman Prison, was published by University Press of Mississippi, and was the Winner in 2014 of the Eudora Welty Book Award. She continues as a Speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), seeking reform of mass incarceration created by non-violent drug arrests. She is a former Elected Official, having served three terms on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She was the founder of the Chinese American International School (CAIS), San Francisco, and most recently co-founded three educational efforts to bring education to girls and women in Afghanistan, including Wind of Hope: Montessori-Inspired home-based pre-school, in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Carol attended the University of Chicago, BA, JD and was a Fellow at Harvard’s JFK School of Government, Institute of Politics. She was a Freedom Rider, incarcerated in Jackson, Mississippi, 1961.
Elise Smith is Professor of Art History and Sanderson Chair of Arts and Sciences at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. She received her M.A. at Vanderbilt University and her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to numerous articles on art historical topics, she has published three books – The Paintings of Lucas van Leyden (University of Missouri, 1992), Evelyn De Morgan and the Allegorical Body (Fairleigh Dickinson, 2002), and Women, Literature, and the Domesticated Landscape: England’s Disciples of Flora (with Judith Page; Cambridge, 2011). She is currently working with Judith Page on a book about British women’s use of the garden for practical as well as metaphorical purposes during a period of increasing fragmentation from the Boer War to World War II.
Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835, and the novels The Story of Land and Sea and Free Men. Her writing has also appeared in The Oxford American, Granta, Literary Hub, Garden & Gun, and Lenny. She lives in New Orleans.
Lachlan Smith was a Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford and received an MFA from Cornell. He has written four previous books in the Leo Maxwell Mystery series: Bear Is Broken, which won the 2014 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel, Lion Plays Rough, Panther’s Prey, and Fox Is Framed. Smith’s fiction has also appeared in the Best New American Voices series. In addition to writing novels, he is an attorney practicing in the area of civil rights and employment law. He lives in Alabama.
Mandy Robbins Smith holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts where she specialized in realistic contemporary YA. She has been a children’s bookseller at Lemuria Bookstore and has experience teaching creative writing. She lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband, children’s author Matthew Clark Smith, and their young son.
Matthew Clark Smith grew up in Jackson, Mississippi and received an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. The author of two children’s biographies, Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects and Lighter than Air: Sophie Blanchard, the First Woman Pilot, he lives in Jackson with his family.
Michael Farris Smith is the award-winning author of several novels, including Desperation Road (Amazon Best Books, Barnes & Noble Discover pick, Indie Next selection), Rivers (for which he received the 2014 Mississippi Author Award for Fiction), and The Hands of Strangers. He has been awarded the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, the Transatlantic Review Award for Fiction, and the Alabama Arts Council Fellowship Award for Literature. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his essays have appeared in the New York Times, Catfish Alley, Deep South magazine, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and two daughters.
Timothy B. Smith (Ph.D. Mississippi State University, 2001) is a veteran of the National Park Service and currently teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. In addition to numerous articles and essays, he is the author, editor, or co-editor of twenty books, including Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (2004), Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation (2012), which won the Fletcher Pratt Award and the McLemore Prize, Shiloh: Conquer or Perish (2014), which won the Richard B. Harwell Award, the Tennessee History Book Award, and the Douglas Southall Freeman Award, and Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson (2016), which won the Tennessee History book Award and the Douglas Southall Freeman Award. His newest book, Altogether Fitting and Proper: Civil War Battlefield Preservation in History, Memory, and Policy, 1861-2015, came out in April 2017. He is currently writing a book on Grierson’s Raid and is under contract to write a book on the May 19 and 22 Vicksburg assaults.
He lives with his wife Kelly and children Mary Kate and Leah Grace in Adamsville, Tennessee.
Previously published books:
Randy J. Sparks, an associate professor of history at Tulane University, is the author of On Jordan’s Stormy Banks: Evangelical Religion in Mississippi, 1773-1876.
Jack Spencer is a fine art photographer whose work is in major private and public collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Berkeley Art Museum; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans; the Brookings Institution, Fairfax, Virginia; the Tennessee State Museum, Nashville; the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson; and the Cleveland Museum of Art. In 2005, he received the Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year in the nature category. His work has been published in the monographs Native Soil, Jack Spencer, and Jack Spencer: Beyond the Surface.
Seetha Srinivasan is director emerita of the University Press of Mississippi. She joined the press in 1979 as its first acquiring editor and advanced to become director in 1998, from which position she retired in 2008. Srinivasan played a major role in putting the press on a firm footing with a well-recognized publishing program.
Throughout her publishing career, Srinivasan was active in the Association of American University Presses serving in a range of capacities, often in leadership positions. She served as president of the association in 2003-2004. In 2002 she received the association’s Constituency Award for her “outstanding service to the university press community.” On the occasion of her retirement, the Mississippi Legislature passed a concurrent resolution commending her career and her contributions to the state.
Srinivasan has lived in Jackson since 1969. She has always been and continues to be involved in a variety of activities in the community. She has headed civic and arts organizations and writes occasional columns for Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger, which is distributed statewide. She served as chair of the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi (2011) and serves on the boards of ProLiteracy (Syracuse, NY), St. Andrew’s School, and Mississippi Today. In 1998 Millsaps College presented her with the Jim Livesay Service Award. Millsaps College awarded Srinivasan an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 2013. That same year Srinivasan was recognized by the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi as one of the state’s ten Women of Vision.
Seetha Srinivasan is married to Asoka Srinivasan, Provost at Tougaloo College. The Srinivasans’ sons, Arjun and Gautam, live with their families in Atlanta and Washington, DC, respectively.
Walter Stahr is the author of Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary; Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man, a biography of one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century; and John Jay: Founding Father, a biography of America’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice. He lives in Newport Beach, California.
Shalanda Stanley grew up in Louisiana and earned her BA in creative writing at Florida State University. She has a Med in special education from the University of Louisiana Monroe and a PhD from Louisiana State University in curriculum and instruction, with a focus in reading and literacy education. She is an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana Monroe in Monroe, Louisiana, where she lives with her family.
Robert St. John has spent more than three decades in the restaurant business. Twenty-eight of those years have been as the owner, CEO and Executive Chef of the Purple Parrot Café, Crescent City Grill, Mahogany Bar, Branch, Tabella, and Ed’s Burger Joint in Hattiesburg, MS. St. John is a restaurateur, chef, columnist, and author. For 15 years he has written a weekly syndicated food column for newspapers.
The Purple Parrot Café was named the best fine dining restaurant in Mississippi and just received its sixth Four-Diamond rating from the AAA Travel Guide. Additionally, in 2011, AAA named Purple Parrot Café the second-best fine-dining restaurant in the South (just behind Commander’s Palace). Furthermore, The Mahogany Bar was named as one of America’s Top 100 Beer Bars of 2014 by Draft magazine, Branch was listed as one of Southern Living magazines “The South’s Top 100 Bars,” and in 2013 Tabella was named “Best Italian Restaurant in Mississippi” by Mississippi magazine.
St. John has been named the state’s top chef three consecutive years and was honored as Mississippi Restaurateur of the Year. He has served on the board of directors of several agencies, organizations and charities. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.
St. John is the author of nine books, including three collaborations with renowned watercolorist Wyatt Waters. One of his newest books, An Italian Palate, released in the fall of 2013, was written in Europe while he, his wife, and his two children traveled through 17 countries on two continents for six months. St. John also released a children’s book in 2014 with collaboration with his mother, artist Dinny St. John.
St. John has been featured in USA TODAY and appeared on The Food Network, The Travel Channel,National Public Radio, Martha Stewart Living, and the Turner South network.
In 2009, St. John founded Extra Table, a non-profit organization that purchases healthy foods and ships them to soup kitchens and mission pantries. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Extra Table.
Grif Stockley is a native of Lake Cormorant, Mississippi where his father owned a cotton plantation. The family moved to Marianna, Arkansas when Grif was two. He graduated from Southwestern at Memphis (now Rhodes College) in 1965. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer on the northern coast of Colombia for two years doing rural community development. In 1967 he was drafted and spent two years in the military. In 1972 he graduated from the University of Arkansas Law School in Fayetteville and was employed as a Legal Services attorney for 30 years, representing indigents in civil cases. Subsequently, he was a staff attorney for the Disability Rights Center and the ACLU of Arkansas. He is the author of the five-book Gideon page lawyer novel series, as well as many other nonfiction books. His most recent book is Black Boys Burning: The 1959 Fire at the Arkansas negro Boys Industrial School.
Roger Stolle is an author, filmmaker, music producer, marketer and entrepreneur. He left a successful advertising career in St. Louis 15 years ago and moved to the Magnolia State with a mission to “organize and promote the blues from within,” founding Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art — a.k.a. Mississippi’s blues store — in Clarksdale. Stolle is author of Hidden History of Mississippi Blues. He is a Blues Music Magazine columnist and co-producer of the blues music films Hard Times, M for Mississippi, We Juke Up in Here and Moonshine & Mojo Hands. He co-founded Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest and Clarksdale Film Festival in addition to his own thrice yearly Cat Head Mini Blues Fest. His Cat Head store was called “one of the 17 coolest record stores in America” by Paste Magazine and is included in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. His quotes on blues and tourism have appeared in The New York Times, The Economist, Travel+Leisure and other publications. He can be found online at www.cathead.biz.
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop.She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. A film is currently in development with Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg attached to star.
James G. Thomas, Jr. is associate director for publications at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy and a master’s degree in Southern Studies, both from the University of Mississippi. In 2003 he began work at the Center as managing editor of the twenty-four-volume New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He edited, with Charles Reagan Wilson, the Science & Medicine volume of the series. He is editor of Conversations with Barry Hannah (University Press of Mississippi), coeditor of Faulkner and the Black Literatures of the Americas and Faulkner and History (both with Jay Watson), and associate editor of The Mississippi Encyclopedia. Before joining the Center staff, Thomas worked as an editor for publications in New York and Oxford, Mississippi.
Daren Wang is the Executive Director of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival, the largest independent book festival in the country. Before launching the festival, he had a 20-year career in public radio, both national and local, with a particular focus on books and authors. Wang has written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Paste, and Five Points, among others.
Hollis Watkins is the Founder and President of Southern Echo, Inc., located in Jackson, MS. Southern Echo is a leadership development, education, training, and technical assistance organization dedicated to empowering local residents throughout Mississippi and the Southern region to make political, economic, educational, and environmental systems accountable to the needs and interests of the African-American community.
Hollis has spent a lifetime in pursuit of racial justice in his home state. In 1961, at the age of 19, he was the first Mississippi student to become involved in the Mississippi Voting Rights Project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Hollis was a core participant in the 1990-1992 successful community-based redistricting efforts in Mississippi, and was the lead plaintiff in the 1991 federal redistricting lawsuit challenging the State of Mississippi to comply with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
To address the leadership needs of the future, Hollis has pioneered an intergenerational model of community organizing that encourages the participation of young people on the same basis as adults, bringing them into positions of responsibility. “When I was much younger, I got my strength from the older folks; and now I’m a little bit older ... and I get my strength from young people” states Hollis.
Hollis has been the recipient of hundreds of awards and honors from educational institutions, labor, churches and community institutions from across the country because of his dedication to community. Most recently in May 2015, Hollis was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree from his alma mater, Tougaloo College
Hollis also played a role in keeping the music of the civil rights movement alive. Having been sustained by music when he was hanging from handcuffs in a cell in Parchman prison in the 60’s, Hollis includes the musical traditions of the civil rights movement into the struggle of today, making it part of his organizing and bringing its message to a new generation of activists.
Currently, Hollis serves as the Chairman of the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, Inc., MS and his first book “Brother Hollis: The Sankofa of a Movement Man” was just recently published.
Lorie Watkins is Associate Professor of English at William Carey University. She received her Ph.D. at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2007. Her research interests include southern literature, African American literature, and American modernism. She is the author of William Faulkner, Gavin Stevens, and the Cavalier Tradition, edits the annual Publications of the Mississippi Philological Association (POMPA), and contributes to the Digital Yoknapatawpha Project.
Norma Watkins grew up in Mississippi, where she studied writing with Eudora Welty. She left in the mid-1960s, during the civil rights struggles. Her 2011 memoir, The Last Resort: Taking the Mississippi Cure tells the story of those years. The book won a gold medal for the best book published in the South by an independent press that year. The sequel, That Woman from Mississippi describes her flight and subsequent exile in Miami.
Watkins has a Ph.D. in English and an MFA in Creative Writing. She is Professor Emerita at Miami Dade College where she held an endowed chair. Presently, she teaches Creative Writing for Mendocino College on the northern coast of California.
David Wharton is Director of Documentary Studies at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He has an MFA in photography and a Ph.D in American Studies, both from the University of Texas. He is the author of three books of photographs: The Soul of a Small Texas Town: Photographs, Memories, and History from McDade (2000), Small Town South (2012, and winner of the 2013 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for photography), and The Power of Belief: Spiritual Landscapes from the Rural South (2016, and winner of the 2017 MIAL award for photography). His photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States and in group exhibitions in Europe and Latin America. His research interests include the rural and small-town South (especially the social and cultural landscapes of such places), the region’s many approaches to spirituality, and tourism in the South.
Kayla Rae Whitaker’s work has appeared in Buzzfeed, Literary Hub, Joyland, Split Lip Magazine, Bodega, and others. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and New York University. Her debut novel, The Animators, was a Spring 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a February 2017 Book of the Month Club selection, and a January 2017 Quarterly selection. She was also featured on Publishers Weekly’s Spring 2017 Writers to Watch List. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
Malcolm White has returned to lead the Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) as Executive Director. He previously held the position from 2005 – 2012, after which he became director of the Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division. While there, White developed and implemented plans to create economic growth and opportunities through tourism, the creative economy and promoted the state as a travel destination and film location. Prior to his tenure at MAC, he worked in the hospitality industry, running a popular restaurant and founding special events and festivals throughout the state.
A native of Stone County, Mississippi, White holds a bachelor’s degree in social studies from the University of Southern Mississippi. Throughout his career, he has been a member of and served on the committees of numerous civic organizations. White is involved with South Arts, the Mississippi Blues and Country Music Trails, Downtown Jackson Partners and he is past chairman of the Mississippi Blues Commission. In 2015, he published Little Stories: A Collection of Mississippi Photos, a book of images he created from visits covering the state over several years.
Neil White has been a newspaper editor, magazine publisher, advertising executive and federal prisoner. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, where he operates a small publishing company, writes plays and essays, and teaches memoir writing.
His memoir, In the Sanctuary of Outcasts (Morrow/HarperCollins), about the year he lived with the last victims of leprosy in the continental United States, was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “Brisk, ironic, perceptive . . . White’s introspective memoir puts a magnifying glass to a flawed life, revealing that all of life is to be savored and respected.” Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Olen Butler added, “At once surreal and grittily naturalistic, funny and poignant, White’s tale is fascinating and full of universal resonance.”
In the Sanctuary of Outcasts was a finalist in the 2010 “Books for a Better Life” program, as well as the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance “Book of the Year” award. In 2010, White won the Outstanding Author of the Year from the Southern Library Association. Barnes & Noble honored White as one of the top three emerging nonfiction authors in America through their “Discover Great New Writers” program. Foreign language translations of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts have been published in Germany, Croatia and the Netherlands. Sanctuary has been on the Southern Independent bestseller list for nearly four years.
The book was selected for Baton Rouge’s One Book, One Community program. It was also selected for the common reading experience at Davidson College, Hilbert College, and St. Bonaventure University.
The film rights to In the Sanctuary of Outcasts were optioned in 2015 by Stratton Leopold.
White’s essays have appeared in dozens of literary journals and magazines. He has contributed to The Oxford American, National Geographic and The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He is the founder of Theatre Oxford’s National Ten Minute Play Contest and editor of the anthology, Ten Minute Plays from Oxford. His scripts have received national awards from Chesterfield Film Corporation and the Edward Albee Last Frontier Play Lab.
White serves as editor of the books, The Education of a Lifetime by Robert Khayat, Mississippians and Mississippi’s 100 Greatest Football Players of All Time and The A Game. He is the publisher of Memphians, The Color of Mississippi, Choctaw Gardens, 501 Mississippi Trivia, A Short Ride: Remembering Barry Hannah, Trials of the Earth, Bell on Mississippi Family Law and Samir Husni’s Guide to New Consumer Magazines. He is editor and publisher of the periodicals Life 101, College People, the Going to College series, as well as several textbooks for first-year college students.
White’s clients have included Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, The Yates Companies, University of Princeton Medical Center, Oregon University and The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Kathleen Woodruff Wickham is a professor of journalism in the School of Journalism & New Media at The University of Mississippi. She is the author of four books, including We Believed We Were Immortal: Twelve Reporters Who Covered the 1962 Integration. Dr. Wickham lectured last year at the Sorbonne on media coverage of civil rights. She has also published on the topic in Journalism History and Newspaper Research Journal.
Born in Greenville, Mississippi, Wilkie was educated in public schools of Mississippi and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He served as reporter and editor on the staff of the Clarksdale Press Register 1963-69 in the Mississippi Delta at a time when the civil rights movement was at its height. He received a Congressional Fellowship from the American Political Science Association and worked on Capitol Hill 1969-71 as a legislative aide in the offices of Sen. Walter F. Mondale (D-Minn.) and Rep. John Brademas (D-Ind,). He served as reporter and editor on the staff of the News-Journal papers in Wilmington, Delaware, 1971-74.
Wilkie joined the staff of the Boston Globe in 1975 and served as a national and foreign correspondent for that paper until retirement at the end of the 2000 presidential campaign. He covered eight presidential campaigns (seven for the Globe) and served as White House correspondent 1977-82. He also served as chief of the Globe’s Washington bureau.
In 1984, Wilkie established the Globe’s Middle East bureau and lived in Jerusalem 1984-87. He covered numerous wars and conflicts overseas including 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon; terrorist bombings of US Marines in Beirut as well as siege of Yasser Arafat in Tripoli, Lebanon, in 1983; civil war in Lebanon throughout the 1980s; first Palestinian intifada, 1988-89; Romanian revolution 1989-90; first Gulf War 1991; civil war in Somalia, 1993. In 1993, Wilkie established Globe’s Southern bureau in New Orleans and covered regional and national affairs from there until retirement.
Wilkie has written numerous articles for national magazines such as The Nation, The New Republic, Newsweek, Playboy, George, Washington Journalism Review. Many articles published in the Boston Globe Magazine. He is the co-author, with the late Jim McDougal, of “Arkansas Mischief: Birth of a National Scandal” published by Henry Holt 1998; author of “ Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern South” published by Scribner 2001; co-author, with six others, of “City Adrift: New Orleans Before and After Katrina” published by LSU Press 2007.
He was a journalism professor in residence at Louisiana State University (2003). He was appointed to Kelly G. Cook chair in the department of journalism at the University of Mississippi (2004). Wilkie was given the Special Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction Writing by the Fellowship of Southern Writers (2005).
Wilkie has served as visiting professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi since 2002. He was appointed to become the first Overby Fellow with the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi in 2007.
Wilkie resides in Oxford, Mississippi and has three grown children, Carter, Leighton and Stuart.
Diane is a professional storyteller, published author and mixed media fiber artists. She is the recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston Award from the National Association of Black Storytellers, the Special Chair’s Award from the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Oracle Award for regional leadership and service. She is a past board chair of the National Storytelling Network. Diane is co-author/editor of two anthologies of teacher resources: The Storytelling Classroom - Applications Across the Curriculum and Literacy Development in the Storytelling Classroom, both books won Storytelling World Awards. Her recent book is titled Mississippi Folk and the Tales They Tell. Diane has written for college literary journals, national publications and newsletters, and her writing is included in a number of anthologies. She is the Director of Grants for the Mississippi Arts Commission.
Charles Reagan Wilson is professor emeritus at the University of Mississippi and former director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He is author of Flashes of a Southern Spirit: Meanings of the Spirit in the U.S. South (2007), Judgment and Grace in Dixie: Southern Faiths from Faulkner to Elvis (1995), and Baptized in Blood: The Religion of the Lost Cause, 1865-1920 (1980). He is editor-in-chief of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (2004-2012), coeditor of the Encyclopedia of Southern Culture (1989), and coeditor of the Mississippi Encyclopedia (2017). He taught for three decades at the University of Mississippi, directed over a dozen symposia on the U.S. South, and supervised the doctoral work of twenty-five graduate students. He is currently at work on The Southern Way of Life: The History of a Concept.
Kevin Wilson is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Family Fang, named a best book of the year by Time, People, Salon, and Esquire. His story collection, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, received an Alex Award from the American Library Association as well as the Shirley Jackson Award. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, One Story, and elsewhere. He teaches fiction at the University of the South and helps run the Sewanee Writer’s Conference in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife and two sons.
Barry Wolverton has been writing for children for 20 years, including books, TV shows, and web content for Discovery Networks, National Geographic, the Library of Congress, Scholastic, and Time-Life Books. Neversink was his first novel and was named the Children’s Book of Choice by Literacy Mid-South in 2014. The Vanishing Island and The Dragon’s Gate are the first two volumes of an alternate history adventure trilogy. The third book, The Sea of the Dead, will be published later this year.
Steve Yates is the author of the Knickerbocker Prize-winning Sandy and Wayne: A Novella, the Juniper Prize-winning Some Kinds of Love: Stories, and the novels Morkan’s Quarry and its sequel, The Teeth of the Souls. He is associate director / marketing director at University Press of Mississippi, and lives in Flowood with his wife Tammy.