2015

Highlights

Best-selling author John Grisham and the Jackson State University “Sonic Boom of the South” marching band launched the Mississippi Book Festival in 2015 as a loud and proud celebration of reading, writing, storytelling and the state’s significant contributions to American literature. Exceeding expectations, more than 3,700 flocked to the grounds of the Mississippi State Capitol and surrounding spots to hobnob with favorite writers and find new ones, making this August debut the hottest draw in more ways than one. Standing-room-only crowds crammed into historic State Capitol rooms and Galloway church to bask in book talk from authors Grisham (Sycamore Row), Greg Iles (The Bone Tree), Ellen Gilchrist (Acts of God) and 100 more, showcased on 20-plus panels. An Authors Alley with dozens of self-published authors, plus booksellers, exhibits, tours, food trucks, live music and kids’ activities made this first and festive literary lawn party one to remember. And repeat.

Video

Slideshow

Panels

Activities

Panel

Comics & Cartoons in Mississippi

  • Brannon Costello, Comics and the U.S. South, Moderator
  • Marshall Ramsey, Banjo’s Dream
  • Mike McCarthy, Kid Anarchy
  • Mary Katherine Spencer, as Horseradish Hen, You Have Permission; 12 Dreams for the One Who Tends Lavender
  • Tim Fielder, Matty’s Rocket
Vimeo
Panel

Harper Lee Considered

Presented by

Sarah McCullough

  • Amanda Nelson, Managing Editor Book Riot, Moderator
  • Kerry Madden, Up Close: Harper Lee
  • Sterling Plumpp, Home/Bass: Poems
  • W. Ralph Eubanks, The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South
  • Beth Ann Fennelly, Open House: Poems, Unmentionables: Poems, and The Titled World: A Novel
C-SPAN
Panel

African American History

Presented by

The Mississippi Arts Commission

  • Diane Williams, Mississippi Folk and the Tales They Tell: Myths, Legends and Bald-Faced Lies, Moderator
  • Alysia Burton Steele, Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom
  • Stephen A. Berrey, The Jim Crow Routine: Everyday Performances of Race, Civil Rights, and Segregation in Mississippi
  • George Worlasi Kwasi Dor, West African Drumming and Dance in North American Universities
  • Michael Vinson Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr
Vimeo
Panel

Southern Fiction Today

Presented by

The Mississippi Arts Commission and Cornerstone Consulting Group

  • Matthew Guinn, The Scribe, Moderator
  • Mary Miller, The Last Days of California
  • Deborah Johnson, The Secret of Magic
  • MO Walsh, My Sunshine Away
  • Steve Yarbrough, The Realm of Last Chances
Vimeo
PANEL

Children’s Illustrated Books

Presented by

First Commercial Bank and the Friends of University Libraries / University of Southern Mississippi

  • Ellen Ruffin, Curator de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, University of Southern Mississippi, Moderator
  • Sarah Campbell, Wolfsnail, Growing Patterns, Mysterious Patterns
  • Sarah Frances Hardy, Dress Me!
  • Susan Eaddy, Poppy’s Best Paper
  • Hester Bass, The Secret World of Walter Anderson, Seeds of Freedom
  • Lori Nichols, Maple & Willow Apart
  • Chris Barton, The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch
Vimeo
panel

Mississippi Entrepreneurs

Presented by

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP.

  • Polly Dement, Mississippi Entrepreneurs, Moderator
  • Joel Bomgar
  • Toni Cooley
  • Monica Sethi Harrigill
  • John Palmer
Vimeo
panel

Short Stories

Presented by

C.R. “Bob” Montgomery

  • Michael Kardos, Before He Finds Her, Moderator
  • Andrew Malan Milward, I Was a Revolutionary
  • Margaret McMullan, The Aftermath Lounge
  • William Boyle, Death Don’t Have No Mercy
Vimeo
panel

Eudora Welty: Letters, Flowers, Loves, and the Latest Scholarship

Presented by

The Mississippi Arts Commission

  • Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Humanities Scholar in Residence, Millsaps College, Composing Selves: Southern Women and Autobiography, Moderator
  • Suzanne Marrs and Tom Nolan, Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald
  • Julia Eichelberger, Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters
  • Sally Wolff, A Dark Rose: Love in Eudora Welty’s Stories and Novels
C-SPAN
PANEL

Historical Fiction

  • Howard Bahr, Visiting Writer, Belhaven University, Black Flower, The Year of Jubilo, The Judas Field, Pelican Road, Moderator
  • Matthew Guinn, The Scribe
  • Steve Yates, The Teeth of the Souls
  • Katy Simpson Smith, The Story of Land and Sea
  • Jeffrey Stayton, This Side of the River
Vimeo
PANEL

Romance

  • Mary Emrick, Turning Pages Books & More, Moderator
  • Aaron McCarver and Diane Ashley, Song of the River
  • Pam Hillman, Stealing Jake, Claiming Mariah
  • Beth White, The Creole Princess and The Pelican Bride
Vimeo
PANEL

Civil Rights History

Presented by

the Mississippi Humanities Council and the Mississippi Arts Commission

  • Robby Luckett, Director Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience, Jackson State University, Joe T. Patterson and the White South’s Dilemma, Moderator
  • Tiyi Morris, Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi
  • Jon Hale, To Write in the Light of Freedom
  • Aram Goudsouzian, Down to the Crossroads
  • Devery Anderson, Emmit Till: The Murder That Shocked the World and Propelled the Civil Rights Movement
C-SPAN
PANEL

Books for Young Readers

  • Margaret McMullan, The Aftermath Lounge, Moderator
  • Kimberly Willis Holt, Dear Hank Williams
  • Deborah Wiles, Revolution
  • Taylor Kitchings, Yard War
  • Greg Leitich Smith, Little Green Men at the Mercury Inn
  • Cassie Beasley, Circus Mirandus
  • Carolyn Brown, Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker
Vimeo
PANEL

Cooking and Foodways

Presented by

Beard + Riser Architects

  • Robert St. John, Mississippi Restaurateur, Author, and Food Columnist, Moderator
  • Martha Hall Foose, A Southerly Course
  • John Currence, Mississippi Restauranteur and Author Pickles, Pigs, and Whiskey: Recipes from My Three Favorite Food Groups and Then Some
  • Deborah Hunter, Host of MPB’s Deep South Dining
  • Dixie Grimes, The B.T.C. Old Fashioned Grocery Cookbook
Vimeo
PANEL

Crossing Borders: Across Literary Boundaries

Presented by

the Mississippi Humanities Council

  • Michael Farris Smith, Rivers, Moderator
  • Jamie Kornegay, Soil
  • Michael Kardos, Before He Finds Her
  • R. B. Chesterton, The Darkling
  • Lisa Howorth, Flying Shoes
Vimeo
PANEL

Poetry

  • Beth Ann Fennelly, Director MFA Program, University of Mississippi, Open House: Poems, Unmentionables: Poems, and The Tilted World: A Novel, Moderator
  • Derrick Harriell, Cotton
  • Catherine Pierce, The Girls of Peculiar
  • Richard Boada, The Error of Nostalgia
Vimeo
PANEL

History and Biography

Presented by

the Mississippi Humanities Council and Nautilus Publishing

  • Curtis Wilkie, Fellow at Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, University of Mississippi, Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest, Moderator
  • Haley Barbour, America’s Great Storm
  • Don Thompson, Stennis: Ploughing a Straight Furrow
  • Stuart Stevens, The Last Season: A Father, A Son, and a Lifetime of College Football
  • Dennis Mitchell, A New History of Mississippi
  • Minion K.C. Morrison, Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator
C-SPAN
PANEL

What Reading Means for Our Culture: Reading, Writing and Journalism’s Influence in Mississippi

  • John Grisham
  • Jerry Mitchell, MacArthur Fellow
  • William Ferris, University of North Carolina
Vimeo
PANEL

Civil War

Presented by

the Mississippi Humanities Council

  • Tim Isbell, Vicksburg: Sentinels of Stone, Shiloh: Sentinels of Stone, Moderator
  • Michael Ballard, The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles
  • Timothy Smith, Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front
  • Thomas (Tom) Parson, Work for Giants: The Campaign and Battles of Tupelo/Harrisburg
  • Justin S. Solonick, Engineering Victory: The Union Siege of Vicksburg
C-SPAN
PANEL

Southern Popular Fiction

Presented by

the Mississippi Arts Commission

  • Emily Gatlin, Book Riot Contributing Writer, Moderator
  • Julie Cantrell, The Feathered Bone
  • Patti Callahan Henry, The Idea of Love
  • Mary Kay Andrews, Beach Town
  • Joshilyn Jackson, Someone Else’s Love Story
  • Sara Gruen, At the Water’s Edge
Vimeo
PANEL

Sports and Outdoors

PRESENTED BY

Henry Barbour

  • Rick Cleveland
  • Billy Watkins
  • Mike Christensen
  • Don Jackson
  • Sid Salter
Vimeo
PANEL

Margaret Walker Alexander, Eudora Welty and the Making of Literary Jackson

Presented by

the Mississippi Humanities Council

  • Robby Luckett, Director Margaret Walker Center for the Study of the African-American Experience, Jackson State University, Joe T. Patterson and the White South’s Dilemma, Moderator
  • Carolyn Brown, Song of My Life:A Biography of Margaret Walker
  • Suzanne Marrs, Meanwhile There Are Letters: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and Ross Macdonald
  • Julia Eichelberger, Tell About Night Flowers: Eudora Welty’s Gardening Letters
  • Alferdteen Harrison, Black Exodus: The Great Migration from the American South
Vimeo
PANEL

The Last Chapter

Presented by

China Grove Press

  • William Ferris, Moderator
  • Ellen Gilchrist
  • Greg Iles
  • Julia Reed
  • Steve Yarbrough
Vimeo