Meet more than 70 authors and artists selling their most recent works along Mississippi Street.
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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.
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.
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.
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 in October 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Greg Iles spent his youth in Natchez, Mississippi and graduated from the University of Mississippi. He has written 13 New York Times bestselling novels, including Spandau Phoenix, Third Degree, True Evil and Blood Memory. 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, translated into more than 20 languages, and published in more than 35 countries worldwide. Iles was also a member of the legendary lit-rock group “The Rock Bottom Remainders” with Stephen King. He lives in Natchez, Mississippi, with his two teenaged children.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.