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Ann J. Abadie is former associate director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi and coeditor of numerous scholarly collections from the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference. Among those many volumes, Fifty Years after Faulkner was released in paperback in July 2020.
Kristen Arnett is the author of the New York Times-bestselling novel Mostly Dead Things and the story collection Felt in the Jaw. A queer writer based in Florida, she has written for The New York Times, Guernica, BuzzFeed, McSweeney’s, The Guardian, Salon, and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and a winner of the Ninth Letter Literary Award in Fiction and the Coil Book Award.
Mateo Askaripour’s work aims to empower people of color to seize opportunities for advancement, no matter the obstacle. He was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. His debut novel Black Buck was an instant New York Times bestseller and a Read With Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick. He lives in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @AskMateo.
Jim Barksdale is Chairman of the Board and President of Barksdale Management Corporation, a private company that manages his investments and philanthropic activities. He has over 35 years of operational experience and served as President and CEO of Netscape Communications Corp. from January 1995 until the company merged with America Online in March of 1999. Following the merger, Barksdale joined the Time Warner Board of Directors. He sits on the boards of several other companies and foundations.
Barksdale has held other management positions, including CEO at AT&T Wireless Services (formerly McCaw Cellular Communication), President and COO of McCaw Cellular Communications, and Executive Vice President and COO of Federal Express Corporation. He has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including the “Executive of the Year” award at the 1997 ETRE Budapest Conference; the BEAR Award from Brown University, as well as the induction into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Business Hall of Fame.
Barksdale has a passion for education and through the Barksdale Foundation established the Barksdale Honors College at the University of Mississippi in 1997 and the Barksdale Reading Institute in 2001. He and his wife, Donna, through the University of Mississippi, recently funded the creation of the Mississippi Principal Corps to help change the way school principals are trained.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Barksdale was appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour as chairman of the Governor’s Commission on the Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal of Mississippi. Most recently, he was asked by Gov. Barbour to chair the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition. He was awarded the 2011 Mississippi Medal of Service in recognition of his service to the state in education and Katrina Recovery.
Barksdale is a native of Jackson and a graduate of Murrah High School. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Mississippi. Jim and Donna Barksdale live in Jackson.
Cynthia Barnett is the author of three previous books, including Rain, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and named a finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Award for Literary Science Writing. She lives with her family in Gainesville, Florida, where she is also Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida. http://cynthiabarnett.net
Born in Saigon and raised on Boston’s north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such publications as Ms. and The New Yorker. Barry lives in Wisconsin.
Jennifer is a native of Milton, Florida but has lived in Jackson for 25 years. She attended Northland Baptist Bible College and later received her master’s degree in history from Florida State University. As an architectural historian with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jennifer has surveyed over 800 historic Mississippi schools, conducted building-by-building damage assessments in fourteen historic districts on the Coast after Hurricane Katrina, and more recently has documented scores of antebellum outbuildings in and around Natchez. In addition to publishing several scholarly articles about school architecture and segregation, she has written numerous National Register nominations for historic schools around Mississippi. In 2016, she authored the National Historic Landmark nomination for the Medgar and Myrlie Evers House in Jackson. As Chief Architectural Historian, she oversees the National Register of Historic Places and the Survey and Inventory programs and serves on the Review Committee for the Mississippi Landmark program.
Sandra Beasley is the author of four poetry collections-Made to Explode, Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, which won the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling-as well as Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir and cultural history of food allergies. She served as the editor for Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Honors for her work include the 2019 Munster Literature Centre’s John Montague International Poetry Fellowship, a 2015 NEA fellowship, and five DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities fellowships. She lives in Washington, D.C.
A former teacher and journalist, Johnnie Bernhard is passionate about 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, the international Word Among Us, Southern Writers Magazine, The Texas Review, Southern Literary Review, and the Cowbird-NPR production on small town America essays.
A Good Girl (2017) was shortlisted in the 2015 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Writing Competition, as well as featured novel for panel discussion at the 2017 Mississippi and Louisiana Book Festivals. The novel was shortlisted in the 2017 Kindle Book Award for Literary Fiction, a nominee for the 2018 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, shortlisted by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction of the Year Award, and placed in the permanent collection of the Texas State Library and Archive Commission,Texas Center for the Book.
Johnnie’s second novel, How We Came to Be (2018) was a finalist in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition. Named a “Must Read” by Southern Writers Magazine, the novel was featured for panel discussion for the 2018 Louisiana Book Festival and Mississippi Book Festival. It was selected for the 2019 Deep South Magazine recommended reading list and shortlisted by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for 2019 Fiction of the Year. It is the recipient of the Summerlee Book Prize, HM by the Center for History and Culture at Lamar University.
Her third novel, Sisters of the Undertow (2020) was chosen for discussion at the 2020 national AWP Conference, the Pat Conroy Literary Center of South Carolina, the Southern Book Festival/Humanities Tennessee, and Words and Music Literary Feast of New Orleans. It was an official selection for the 2020 international Pulpwood Queens Book Club and Deep South Magazine’s recommended reading list for 2020. Named “Best of the University Presses, 100 Books” by the Association of University Presses, Sisters of the Undertow was shortlisted in the Kindle Book Awards for literary fiction. It was placed in the Texas Center for the Book, State Library Collection.
Johnnie was chosen as a selected speaker in the 2020 TEDx Fearless Women Series. She also supports young writers in public schools through the Letters About Literature program with the Texas Center for the Book and with the Write for Mississippi program. In 2021, she was named a teaching artist with Gemini Ink Writing Arts Center.
Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian and journalist. He is the acclaimed author of biographies of John J. McCloy and of McGeorge and William Bundy. He won the Pulitzer Prize for biography for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin). His work includes critical writings on the Vietnam War, Hiroshima, nuclear weapons, the Cold War, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the CIA. He lives in New York City and Washington, D.C., with his wife, Susan Goldmark.
Richard Boada is the author of the poetry collections: We Find Each Other in the Darkness, The Error of Nostalgia, and Archipelago Sinking. He is the recipient of the 2020 Mississippi Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship and has been nominated for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award in 2013, 2015, and 2021. He is a graduate of the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poetry appears in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Urban Voices: 51 Poets / 51 Poems, Rhino, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry East, North American Review, and Third Coast, among others. Currently, he teaches creative writing at the West Virginia Wesleyan College MFA Low Residency Program.
The Huffington Post named Roderick Boyd as one of the 25 most feared financial reporters in America. His book about the near collapse of AIG, Fatal Risk, was long-listed for the 2011 Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. A former staffer of Fortune, in 2012 Boyd founded The Foundation for Financial Journalism, a non-profit newsroom that seeks corporate accountability through the use of investigative reporting.
Boyd’s October 2015 article on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International was the first to reveal the insurance and pharmaceutical regulatory scam that led to Valeant’s near-collapse, as well as to prison sentences for two executives. Netflix’s “Dirty Money” series featured Boyd and his reporting for “The Drug Short,” its January 2018 profile of Valeant. In addition, Boyd’s year-long investigation into Insys Therapeutics broke the news of the management-sanctioned policy of physician bribery that spurred increased prescriptions for its fentanyl formulation. Starting in 2017, federal prosecutors indicted Insys’ founder and chairman, its CEO, and its sales chief, a dozen of the company’s leading prescribers, as well as 10 of its sales executives, for the conduct Boyd’s reporting had raised years prior. PBS’ Frontline used Boyd and his work for “Opioids Inc.,” its 2020 documentary on Insys.
Dr. Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones HipHop Fellow (Hutchins Center, Harvard University, Spring 2016), Associate Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University, and co-host of the critically acclaimed southern hip hop podcast Bottom of the Map with music journalist Christina Lee. Her expertise and research interests include post-Civil Rights African American literature, hip hop culture, race and the contemporary U.S. South, and sound studies.
Dr. Bradley is the author of Chronicling Stankonia: the Rise of the Hip-Hop South. Chronicling Stankonia explores how Atlanta, GA hip hop duo OutKast influences the culture of the Black American South in the long shadow of the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Bradley is also the editor of a collection of essays about OutKast for the University of Georgia Press titled An OutKast Reader.
A prominent public voice and leading scholar on southern hip hop culture, Dr. Bradley’s work has been featured on a range of news media outlets including Washington Post, NPR, and Atlanta Journal Constitution. Additionally, In May, 2017 Dr. Bradley delivered a TEDx talk, “The Mountaintop Ain’t Flat,” about the significance of hip hop in bridging the American Black South to the present and future.
Dr. Bradley can be reached via Twitter (@redclayscholar) or through her website, www.redclayscholar.com.
H. W. (Henry William) Brands was born in Oregon, went to college in California, sold cutlery across the American West and earned graduate degrees in mathematics and history in Oregon and Texas. ~ He taught at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before joining the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Jack S. Blanton Sr. Chair in History. He teaches history and writing to graduate students and undergraduates. ~ He writes on American history and politics, with books including The Zealot and the Emancipator, Dreams of El Dorado, Heirs of the Founders, The General vs. the President and Reagan. Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, Traitor to His Class and The First American, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. ~ He publishes historical poetry on Twitter @hwbrands and “A User’s Guide to History” on Substack.
Jennifer Brannock is the Curator of Rare Books and Mississippiana at the University of Southern Mississippi. She has a BA in Art History and a MSLS from the University of Kentucky.
Elizabeth Miki Brina is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Bread Loaf Scholarship and a New York State Summer Writers Institute Scholarship. She currently lives and teaches in New Orleans.
Brian Broome is an award-winning writer, poet, and screenwriter, and K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing an MFA. He has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Writing Awards. He lives in Pittsburgh.
Carolyn J. Brown is a writer, editor, and independent scholar from Jackson, Mississippi. She is author of The Artist’s Sketch: A Biography of Painter Kate Freeman Clark (2017) and the award-winning biographies A Daring Life: A Biography of Eudora Welty (2012) and Song of My Life: A Biography of Margaret Walker (2014). Her most recent book is A De Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children’s Literature Collection. All her books are published by University Press of Mississippi. Find Carolyn at www.carolynjbrown.net.
Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition (2019), which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Time, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and the Director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.
“Julie K. Brown’s important book offers not just a definitive account of the Epstein case, but a compelling window into her own experiences as a dogged reporter at a regional newspaper, facing off against both powerful interests set against her reporting.” - Ronan Farrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Catch and Kill.
Dauntless journalist Julie K. Brown recounts her uncompromising and risky investigation of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex trafficking operation, and the explosive reporting for the Miami Herald that finally brought him to justice while exposing the powerful people and broken system that protected him.
Historian, author, curator, and educator, Lonnie G. Bunch, III is the 14th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum, education and research complex, who was appointed in June 2019.
Prior to assuming this position, Bunch was the founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). In this position he provided strategic leadership in areas of scholarship, collections, fundraising and academic and cultural partnerships.
As a public historian, a scholar who brings history to the people, Bunch has spent nearly 30 years in the museum field and is one of the nation’s leading figures in the historical and museum community.
Prior to his July 2005 appointment as director of NMAAHC, Bunch served as the president of the Chicago Historical Society, one of the nation’s oldest museums of history.
Bunch has held several positions at the Smithsonian, and spent a number of years at both the National Museum of American History and the National Air and Space Museum.
A prolific and widely published author, Bunch has written on topics ranging from slavery, the black military experience, the American presidency, and all black towns in the American west to diversity in museum management and the impact of funding and politics on American museums.
In service to the historical and cultural community, Bunch has served on the advisory boards of several professional organizations. Among his many awards, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to the Commission for the Preservation of the White House in 2002 and reappointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Bunch has received honorary doctorates from an array of Universities including: Harvard University, Princeton University, Brown University, Dominican University, Roosevelt University, Rutgers University, Northwestern University, and Georgetown University.
Born in the Newark, N.J. area, Bunch has held numerous teaching positions across the country including American University; the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; and The George Washington University. He received undergraduate and graduate degrees from American University in African American and American history.
He is married to Maria Marable Bunch, a museum educator. They have two daughters, Sarah and Katie.
Mike Bunn is a historian and author who has worked with several cultural heritage organizations in the Southeast. He currently serves as Director of Historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama. He is author or co-author of several books, including Fourteenth Colony: The Forgotten Story of the Gulf South During America’s Revolutionary Era; The Assault on Fort Blakeley: “The Thunder and Lightning of Battle (forthcoming in 2021); Early Alabama: An Illustrated Guide to the Formative Years, 1798-1826; Alabama From Territory to Statehood: An Alabama Heritage Bicentennial Collection; Well Worth Stopping to See: Antebellum Columbus, Georgia Through the Eyes of Travelers; Civil War Eufaula; Battle for the Southern Frontier: The Creek War and the War of 1812; and Images of America: The Lower Chattahoochee River. Mike is editor of Muscogiana, the journal of the Muscogee County (Georgia) Genealogical Society. He is also Chair of the Baldwin County Historic Development Commission. Mike earned his undergraduate degree at Faulkner University and two masters degrees at the University of Alabama. Mike and his wife Tonya live in Daphne, Alabama with their daughter Zoey. www.mikebunn.net
Linda Burgess is an artist and writer whose work inhabits that elusive place where memory and reality overlap, capturing moments in time that hint at an underlying narrative. Her art is in the collections of The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Zimmerli Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Art, and The Polaroid International Collection among others. She is the author of Mount Vernon’s Magnificent Menagerie and the Very Mysterious Guest, a children’s book about George Washington’s animals illustrated by her daughter and artist, Maggie Dunlap. For more information visit lindaburgess.com.
Tori Bush is a writer, teacher and PhD candidate in the English department at Louisiana State University with an interest in the environmental humanities, postcolonial theory, and critical race studies. She is co-editor of the anthology, The Gulf South: An Anthology of Environmental Writing published by University Press of Florida in 2021. She also has an MFA in creative nonfiction and has forthcoming works in Southern Quarterly and ISLE.
Brian Castner is a nonfiction writer, former Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer, and veteran of the Iraq War. His most recent book is “Stampede,” a new history of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. He is also the bestselling author of “Disappointment River,” “All the Ways We Kill and Die,” and the war memoir “The Long Walk,” which was adapted into an opera and named a New York Times Editor’s Pick and Amazon Best Book of the Year. His journalism and essays have appeared in the New York Times, WIRED, Esquire, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, and on National Public Radio. He is the co-editor of “The Road Ahead,” a collection of short stories featuring veteran writers, and has twice received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, to cover the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, and to paddle the 1200 mile Mackenzie River to the Arctic Ocean in 2016.
Adam Clay was born and raised in Mississippi. He is the author of four book of poems. His most recent collection, To Make Room for the Sea, was published by Milkweed Editions in 2020. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Denver Quarterly, Tin House, Bennington Review, Georgia Review, Boston Review, Iowa Review, and elsewhere. He is a recipient of a fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission. He directs the Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi, where he teaches creative writing and edits Mississippi Review.
Leroy Clemons is an alderman at large in the city of Philadelphia, Mississippi and executive director at the Neshoba Youth Coalition. In 2004, he co-founded and became president of the Philadelphia Coalition, a multiracial task force that successfully pushed for the successful prosecution of the Ku Klux Klan’s 1964 murders of three young civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andy Goodman and Mickey Schwerner.
Kate Cochran is Editor of The Southern Quarterly: A Journal of Arts & Letters in the South and an Associate Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she teaches courses on southern literature, American literature, and English education.
Courtney E. Cockrell is currently an attorney with a state agency in Mississippi focusing on employment law matters. She is also on the legal staff of MarchOn Voter Protection Corps, a national organization concentrating on voter protection and voter education.
Prior to handling employment matters, Ms. Cockrell worked for a large plaintiff’s firm where she focused on securing social security disability benefits for her clients. She also played an active role in ensuring a positive and credible process for thousands of African American farmers throughout the country with her work with the Black Farmers Settlement Litigation.
In the community, Ms. Cockrell often speaks with students in an effort to encourage them to strive to meet their full potential in life. She also volunteers her time and legal services to the Mississippi Volunteer Lawyers Project where she currently serves as the chairperson of the board of directors. Ms. Cockrell has also been a coach for the Magnolia Bar Association’s High School Mock Trial competition.
In addition to her professional and civic responsibilities, Ms. Cockrell is a proud member of the Evers family. As the granddaughter of James Charles Evers and the great-niece of Medgar Wiley Evers, she had the honor of being featured in two editions of the UM Lawyer, a publication distributed to alumni and friends of the University of Mississippi School of Law, as well as Glamour Magazine, and online publication Air Mail. Ms. Cockrell was also featured in President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Special with Katie Couric on CBS.
She holds a Juris Doctorate from the University Of Mississippi School Of Law, where she served as a member of the Moot Court Board. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mississippi and a Bachelor of Science from Tennessee State University.
M Shelly Conner is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Central Arkansas. She and her wife live on their central Arkansas homestead with their dog Whiskey where she writes about DIY, black queer womanhood, self-sustainable living and their interesting intersections. Her debut novel everyman (Blackstone Publishing) is available for pre-order from all retailers and will be released July 20, 2021.
Karen L. Cox is an award-winning historian, Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, and professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A successful public intellectual, she has written opeds for the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, TIME, and more.
Dr. Cox regularly gives media interviews on the subject of southern history and culture and is the author of four books, including No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice (April 2021), Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture, and Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South.
Jim Crockett is Professor Emeritus of Accountancy at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), and an Adjunct Professor of Accountancy at The University of Mississippi. He earned the BBA and MBA degrees from the University of Mississippi and the DBA from Mississippi State University. Dr. Crockett has served on the faculty of the University of West Florida and as Chairman of the its Department of Finance and Accounting. He also served as Professor and Director of the School of Professional Accountancy at USM. In 2012 he served as Visiting Professor of Accountancy at Western Kentucky University (WKU. Crockett has been an active member of the Mississippi Society of CPAs (MSCPA), the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Institute of Management Accounting (IMA), and the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA). He was the MSCPA’s Educator of the Year in 2005 and Treasurer of the MSCPA in 2006-2007. Crockett has presented many continuing professional education programs on a national basis. He has published three books with the University Press of Mississippi (Operation Pretense, Hands in the Till, and Power Greed Hubris), two monographs, and numerous articles in professional and academic journals. Crockett retired as a Lt. Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Reserve. He is married to the former Dorothy Douglas and they have two grown sons and four grandchildren. Jim is a life-long sports fan.
Susan Cushman was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and came of age in the 1960s Jim Crow South. She pledged Tri Delt sorority at Ole Miss in 1969. (“Mary Margaret” in her novel was also a Tri Delt at Ole Miss in the 1960s.) Her previously published books include Friends of the Library (short stores), Cherry Bomb (a novel), Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s (a memoir), and three anthologies she edited, including Southern Writers On Writing. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Susan writes with deep insight into the South’s storied past, bringing elements of hope and healing to her short stories, memoir, and novels, honoring the heart, soul, and history of the South. John and Mary Margaret is her seventh book.
Dennis Dahmer is a Civil Rights Activist and educator and the son of slain Forrest County NAACP President Vernon Dahmer, Sr.
Patrick Dean writes on the outdoors, outdoor athletes, and the environment. He has worked as a teacher, a political media director, and is presently the executive director of a rail-trail nonprofit. An avid trail-runner, paddler, and mountain-biker, he lives with his wife and dogs on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee.
A native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, Roy is the Executive Director and one of the founders of the Hill Country Project . He was active as a high school student in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and then as a general organizer. Roy earned his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Brandeis University in 1970. Continuing his education at Brandeis, he went on to earn a Masters and later a Doctorate in Political Science in 1978. He has also pursued additional studies at Jackson State, Duke, Carnegie-Mellon, Michigan and Harvard Universities.
Active in many community, civic and professional organization, Roy has received numerous awards and has been cited for outstanding achievements and contributions, including National Alumni of the Year Award from Brandeis. Roy retired 2008 as Vice President for Jackson State University. During his ten year tenure at Jackson State, he also served as Executive Vice President.
He has a wife, Rubye and one daughter, Aisha Isoke.
Kerry Dicks is an archaeologist and writer from Natchez, Mississippi. Her work, whether digging up ancient artifacts or writing about Louisiana surfers, has taken her on assignment as far away from home as the Italian countryside and as close to her own childhood as the backwoods of Mississippi. Either way, tall tales and bones are usually involved.
Alda P. Dobbs is the author of the upcoming novel Barefoot Dreams of Petra Luna. She was born in a small town in northern Mexico but moved to San Antonio, Texas as a child. Alda studied physics and worked as an engineer before pursuing her love of storytelling. She’s as passionate about connecting children to their past, their communities, different cultures and nature as she is about writing. Alda lives with her husband and two children outside Houston, Texas.
Deborah D. Douglas is the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project, leading thought leadership fellowships and programs that include the University of Texas at Austin, Yale University, Dartmouth College, Columbia University, Urgent Action Fund in South Africa and Kenya, and the McCormick Foundation-supported Youth Narrating Our World (YNOW). While teaching at her alma mater, Northwestern University’s Medill School, she spearheaded a graduate investigative journalism capstone on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and taught best practices in Karachi, Pakistan. She is an award-winning journalist, including the 2019 Studs Terkel award, and founding managing editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. Douglas is author of “Moon U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events That Made the Movement” (Moon Travel, 2021) and is among 90 contributors to “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019,” edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain (Random House/One World).
Timothy Duffy is a renowned photographer and founder of the Music Maker Foundation, which assists traditional musicians in need. Timothy has been recording and photographing traditional artists in the South for forty years. Duffy builds years-long relationships with artists in order to produce evocative, spiritual portraits and haunting landscapes.
Duffy captures both environments and people with “the ability to meld past and present into a joyful, singular moment of timelessness,” in the words of renowned Southern photographer Sally Mann. His work is held in the permanent collections of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Beineke Library, Ogden Museum of Art, the Morris Museum of Art, among other museums and institutions. His extensive musical recordings are held in the Southern Folklife Collection in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina. He lives with his wife, Denise, the co-founder of Music Maker, in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Kitty Dumas is a writer and native of Eupora, MS. She is (still) completing a memoir.
Allegory is ever-present in the work of William Dunlap, an artist and writer who refers to what he does as “hypothetical realism.” “The places I paint and the people I write about aren’t real… but they could be.” He is the recipient of international fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation and Lila Wallace Foundation, and his art is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art, Mississippi Museum of Art, and United States Embassies throughout the world. Short Mean Fiction: Words and Pictures (2016), his initial foray into literary fiction, is followed by his most recent collection of short stories, Lying and Making a Living: Fiction with Footnotes (2021). He is author of Pappy Kitchens and the Saga of Red Eye the Rooster (2019) about the magnum opus by Mississippi folk artist, O. W. “Pappy” Kitchens, and the subject of DUNLAP (2006) published by the University Press of Mississippi with essay by J. Richard Gruber and foreword by Julia Reed. William Dunlap maintains studios in Mississippi and South Florida, and is married to the artist/writer Linda Burgess. They have one daughter, Maggie, also an artist and writer who lives in London. For more information visit williamdunlap.com
Lee Durkee is a graduate of the Mississippi public school system and was bussed to various schools throughout the Hattiesburg area. He later attended Pearl River Junior College, the University of Southern Mississippi, the University of Arkansas, and Syracuse University. He is the author of the novels Rides of the Midway (WW Norton, 2000) and The Last Taxi Driver (Tin House Books, 2020). His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Sun, The Best of the Oxford American, Zoetrope: All Story, Tin House, and Mississippi Noir. In 2022 Scribner will publish Stalking Shakespeare, a memoir about his obsession with trying to find a lost portrait of William Shakespeare. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Helen Ellis is the author of Southern Lady Code, American Housewife and Eating the Cheshire Cat. Raised in Alabama, she lives with her husband in New York City. You can find her on Twitter @WhatIDoAllDay and Instagram @American Housewife.
Photo by Lara Magzan Photography
Anjali Enjeti is a former attorney, award-winning journalist, and activist. She writes a political column for ZORA magazine and teaches creative writing in the MFA program at Reinhardt University. Her recent essays and articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Newsday, The Nation, Longreads, The Georgia Review, Guernica, Al Jazeera, and The Paris Review. She lives with her family near Atlanta.
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of A Place Like Mississippi: A Journey Through A Real and Imagined Literary Landscape (Timber Press, March 2021). A native of Mount Olive, Mississippi, he is the author of two other books: 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 have been published in the Hedgehog Review, Vanity Fair, The American Scholar, The Georgia Review, and The New Yorker. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, he is currently a visiting professor of English and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. He divides his time between Oxford, Mississippi, and Washington, DC.
Beth Ann Fennelly, a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, is the former poet laureate of Mississippi and teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi. 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 books of poetry and three of prose, most recently, Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, which was a Goodreaders Favorite and an Atlanta Journal Constitution Best Book. She lives with her husband, Tom Franklin, and their three children In Oxford, MS. www.bethannfennelly.com
Tim Fielder is an Illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, and animator born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He has a lifelong love of Visual Afrofuturism, Pulp entertainment, and action films. He is known for his graphic novel series, Matty’s Rocket, and his TEDx Talk on Afrofuturism. His most recent work is the critically acclaimed graphic novel, Infinitum: An Afrofuturist Tale, published by HarperCollins Amistad.
Martha Hall Foose is an author, culinary educator, and raconteuse from the Mississippi Delta. She has received The Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence, The James Beard Book Award for American Cooking, Southern Independent Booksellers Award, Food 52 Piglett Award, and Gourmand International Book Award.
Gilbert Ford holds a BFA in Illustration from Pratt Institute and an MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author and illustrator of picture books Flying Lessons, The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring, and How the Cookie Crumbled. The Mysterious Messenger marks his middle grade novel debut that he has authored and illustrated.
Monika Gehlawat is Associate Director of the School of Humanities and Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her critical monograph In Defense of Dialogue: Reading Habermas and Postwar American Literature (2020) is a featured title in Routledge’s Press Research in American Literature and Culture Series. She writes and teaches about contemporary literature, visual art, and critical and aesthetic theory, and has published essays in Post45, Contemporary Literature, The James Baldwin Review, and Literary Imaginations, among others. She is the 2021 recipient of USM’s Faculty Research Award and the 2020 recipient of the Faculty Senate Teaching Award. Along with serving as the Series Editor of Literary Conversations, Gehlawat is also Critic for the Center for Writers and Post-Chair of the University Graduate Council. Her next project focuses on twenty-first century ekphrastic novels and reflects her career-long commitment to working in the interdisciplinary mode.
Winner of the 1984 National Book Award for Fiction for her collection of short stories, Victory Over Japan, Ellen Gilchrist has been declared “a national treasure” by the Washington Post for her various works, which at present constitute a collection of twenty-three books. She has received numerous other awards for her work, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in Fiction. A Mississippi native, she currently lives in Fayetteville (Washington County) and was for many years a faculty member at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville.
Phillip “Pip” Gordon was born in Memphis and grew up in West Tennessee. He graduated in 2005 from the University of Tennessee at Martin and holds an MA and PhD from the University of Mississippi where he was awarded the Francis Bell McCool Fellowship for Faulkner Studies. He has published essays on AIDS narratives, on representations of bullying and suicide in LGBTQ+ fiction for Young Adults, and on “EthnoHeteroNationalism” in the age of Trump. He’s also published essays on Harper Lee, Alice Walker, and Hubert Creekmore, in addition to numerous essays on William Faulkner. His first book, Gay Faulkner: Uncovering a Homosexual Presence in Yoknapatawpha and Beyond, was published by the University Press of Mississippi in January 2020. His most recent projects include an essay on the how the 1918 Influenza pandemic influenced Faulkner’s writing in the Fall 2020 issue of the Mississippi Quarterly and forthcoming essay on trans studies approaches to Faulkner’s works in the Faulkner Journal.
He currently lives in Platteville, Wisconsin, where he is an Associate Professor of English and Gay Studies Coordinator for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Michael Gorra is the Mary August Jordan Professor of English, at Smith College, where he has taught since 1985. His books include The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War (2020), described by Drew Gilpin Faust as “rich, complex, and eloquent” and Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece (2012), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A 2007 Guggenheim Fellow, he is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books and other journals, and his travel essays have twice been included in the annual volumes of Best American Travel Writing. Earlier books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels through Germany (2004); After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie (1997); and The English Novel at Mid-Century (1990).
Gorra is the editor of the newly-published Library of America edition of the Mississippi-born writer Elizabeth Spencer (Novels and Stories, 2021) and has also edited Norton Critical Editions of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. Born in New London, Connecticut, Gorra was educated at Amherst College and Stanford University. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with his wife, the art historian Brigitte Buettner. They have one grown daughter.
Richard Grant is an author and journalist currently based in Tucson, Arizona. His 2020 book Dispatches From Pluto was a New York Times bestseller and a winner of the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize. His latest book is The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi, and the second installment of what will be a trilogy about Mississippi.
Jeff Guinn is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Go Down Together, The Last Gunfight, Manson, and The Road to Jonestown. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and is a member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.
Eldridge C [Redge] Hanes was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and educated at Woodberry Forest School in Orange, Virginia, and Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. Following his graduation in 1967 from Duke with a BA in Economics, Redge enlisted in the Army where he graduated from the Combat Engineering Officer Candidate School in Belvoir, Virginia. Redge served three years of active duty the final 14 months of which were in the Republic of Viet Nam where he reviewed the Bronze Star Medal among others.
Redge worked at Hanes Corporation for eight years before starting his own company, Xpres Corporation in 1980. After numerous mergers and acquisitions Redge retired as the chairman of The Russ Companies, an international consumer products company.
In addition to his business interests, Redge served on numerous boards and committees in the arts, environment, and education. He was the chairman of the board of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, board member of the Fuqua Graduate School of Business at Duke University, board member of the North American Wildlife Foundation, vice chairman of the American Arts Alliance, and Vice President of the North Carolina Writers Network, Redge has published two novels, Billy Bowater and Justice by Another Name, and has a third being published in the spring of 2022. He has contributed essays to several books and periodicals.
Dr. Shirley Ann James Hanshaw, Professor Emerita, has taught in colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Mississippi and was instrumental in establishing the first African American Studies Program at Mississippi State University where she became the first African American tenured Full Professor in the English Department. During a six-year hiatus from academia during the 1980s, she became the first African American technical writer/editor at the US Army Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, MS. She has received several awards, including a six-year Danforth Associateship for Outstanding Teaching in the Sciences and Humanities and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Her diverse research interests have led to scholarly presentations across the African Diaspora-including Senegal, Ghana, South Africa, The Virgin Islands, and Hawaii; across Europe- including France, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, and England; and Asia- in Japan. Dr. Hanshaw was appointed to head the MSU-Tougaloo Exchange Program in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, the first partnership between an HBCU and a predominantly white institution in Mississippi and was recently named Diversity Educator of the Year. Her first book, Conversations with Yusef Komunyakaa, was published in 2010. She earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English with a minor in French.
Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 international bestselling author of more than a dozen novels, including The Forest of Vanishing Stars, The Book of Lost Names and The Winemaker’s Wife. Kristin, whose books have been translated into 29 languages, is also the co-founder and co-host of the popular web series and podcast Friends & Fiction. She lives in Orlando with her husband and son. Visit her at www.KristinHarmel.com.
First elected to Congress in 2009, Gregg served five terms representing Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District. During his time in Congress, he served as a member of the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce which has jurisdiction over a broad swath of the economy including healthcare, energy, transportation, and telecommunications. On the Energy and Commerce Committee, Gregg served as Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee and Vice Chairman of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee. In addition, Gregg was selected by Speaker Paul Ryan to serve as the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration for the 115th Congress where he was instrumental in reforming the ways that Congress handles sexual harassment allegations. He was also the Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress and served two terms on the Committee on Ethics.
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 served on the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, remained active in his community as a member of both the Pearl and Rankin County Chambers of Commerce, and served as the board attorney for the Mississippi Baptist Children’s Village.
Artist and model maker based in Oxford, MS. Created small models of old Oxford during the pandemic and with the help of photographer Pableaux Johnson, put the collection together in book form, tiny oxford.
Stephen Harrigan is the author of twelve books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times bestselling novel The Gates of the Alamo and his recent narrative history of Texas, Big Wonderful Thing. His other books include the novels Remember Ben Clayton and A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, as well a career-spanning collection of essays, The Eye of the Mammoth. He is also a screenwriter who has written many movies for television, as well as a journalist whose work has appeared in a wide range of magazines, especially Texas Monthly, for whom he is a writer-at-large. His newest novel, The Leopard Is Loose, will be published in January 2022 by Knopf.
Nathan Harris holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. He is a recipient of the University of Oregon’s Kidd Prize and was a finalist for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize. He lives in Austin, Texas. The Sweetness of Water is his first novel.
Zakiya Dalila Harris spent nearly three years in the editorial department at Knopf Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel, The Other Black Girl. Prior to working in publishing, Harris received her MFA in creative writing from the New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Guernica and the Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn.
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, including Feels Like Falling, The Peachtree Bluff series, and Under the Southern Sky. A Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism, her writing has appeared in numerous online and print publications including Southern Living, Traditional Home, USA Today, Domino, and O. Henry. Kristy is the winner of the Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Her work has been optioned for film and television, and her books have received numerous accolades including Southern Living’s Most Anticipated Beach Reads, Parade’s Big Fiction Reads, and Entertainment Weekly’s Spring Reading Picks. Kristy is the co-creator and co-host of the weekly web show and podcast Friends & Fiction. She blogs with her mom Beth Woodson on Design Chic, and loves connecting with fans on KristyWoodsonHarvey.com. She lives on the North Carolina coast with her husband and son where she is (always!) working on her next novel.
Elizabeth Heiskell is a Mississippi cook and caterer, founder of Debutante Farmer Bloody Mary Mix, regular TODAY show contributor, and author of What Can I Bring?, The Southern Living Party Cookbook, and Come On Over!
Melanie Henry received her BBA from the University of Mississippi and her MBA from Mississippi College. She was the Associate Executive Director of The Mississippi Bar for 32 years. Melanie served as Managing Editor of the Mississippi Lawyer magazine, producing over 175 issues. She organized the annual Convention, Lectures, Forums and Workshops, was the Website Content Manager and Elections Manager. She served as Liaison to the Public Information Committee and the Women in the Profession Committee. In 2007, Melanie was the author of The Mississippi Bar’s 268 page coffee table book, “A Legacy of Service,” celebrating the Bar’s 100th Anniversary. In 2020, she authored her second book, “The First 100 Women Lawyers in Mississippi,” published by the Nautilus Publishing Company. She retired in 2020 and is enjoying life.
Jesse J. Holland is a bestselling non-fiction author, longtime comic book and science-fiction fan, and the writer of the children’s novel Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Finn’s Story, co-author of the late, lamented-by-no-one-except-a-couple-of-diehard-fans collegiate comic strip Hippie and the Black Guy. He is a Race & Ethnicity reporter with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C and currently lives in Bowie, Maryland, with his wife and children.
Lauren Hough was born in Germany and raised in seven countries and West Texas. She’s been an airman in the U.S. Air Force, a green-aproned barista, a bartender, a livery driver, and, for a time, a cable guy. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Wrath-Bearing Tree, The Guardian, and HuffPost. She lives in Austin.
Jeremy Houston is from Natchez, Mississippi. Houston is a veteran of US Marine Corps. After his military service, he moved back to Natchez, to become one of the city’s up and coming historian and tour operator in the area. Houston is the founder of Miss Lou Heritage Group & Tours, located in Natchez, Mississippi. Houston is the father of Ian J. Houston and Keilani P. Houston.
Howard Hunter is a native of New Orleans and a history teacher 38 years. He has published articles on New Orleans and the Civil War for both academic and general audiences. He is past president of the Louisiana Historical Society. Tearing Down the Lost Cause with co-author James Gill is his first book.
Jessica Ingram works with multi-media and archive to explore the ethos of communities, and notions of progress and resistance in American culture. Raised in Tennessee, she received her BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and MFA from California College of the Arts. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Oxford American, Vice, Wired Magazine, NPR, and as an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival. Ingram’s book Road Through Midnight: A Civil Rights Memorial (UNC Press 2020) was shortlisted for the Paris Photo Aperture Foundation Book Prize and was named a New York Times Best Art Book of 2020.
Walter Isaacson, a professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chair of CNN, and editor of Time. He is the author of Leonardo da Vinci; The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made.
Melissa Iwai is a children’s book author and illustrator who incorporates both traditional and digital media into her art. When she’s not working, Melissa cooks and develops her own recipes. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.
Will Jacks is a process artist best known for his photographic work, but also incorporates explorations with land, objects, sound, video, and community engagement into his practice. His research examines the blurred areas between art and journalism, individual and collective, and the impact of each on the other.
Will’s first monograph documents the juke-joint Po’ Monkey’s Lounge which serves as a prism for examining cultural tourism and preservation and the complexities prevalent in both. It was published by University Press of Mississippi in October of 2019, and for this work Jacks was recognized by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for outstanding achievement in photography. In 2020 he completed an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the Maine College of Art, and in 2021 he competed his MA in Journalism from the University of Mississippi.
Currently Will makes his home in the Mississippi Delta where he works and teaches at Delta State University. In addition, he works with other artists in creating the non-profit Jacks Farms Artist Residencies. He can often be found on rural backroads somewhere in the South exploring people, culture, history, geography, pattern, and the entanglement of where those worlds collide.
Theodore R. Johnson is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, where he undertakes research on race, politics, and American identity. Prior to joining the Brennan Center, he was a National Fellow at New America and a Commander in the United States Navy, serving for twenty years in a variety of positions, including as a White House Fellow in the first Obama administration and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His work on race relations has appeared in prominent national publications across the political spectrum, including the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and National Review, among others.
Robert Jones, Jr. is a writer from New York City. He received his B.F.A. in creative writing, and M.F.A. in fiction from Brooklyn College. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Essence, and The Paris Review. He is the creator and curator of the social-justice, social-media community Son of Baldwin, which has over 275,000 members across platforms. The Prophets is his debut novel.
Sheree Rose Kelley is a keeper of family recipes and lore. From her Pulaski, Tennessee, birthplace to her current post as CEO of Belle Meade Winery, Sheree chronicles stories of loved ones and their ways in the kitchen.
Sheree was one of the nation’s top salespeople for The Pampered Chef, and she served as a regional tourism director for the State of Tennessee. By 2008 Sheree was known to all in Nashville as “The Belle Meade Cake Lady.”
She has traveled extensively across Europe and Central America cooking and baking with chefs in their homes ranging from thatch roofs to chateaux.
Sheree and her husband, Alton, manage Nashville’s Belle Meade Mansion. Sheree’s culinary classes are attended by thousands. Her first book, Breads & Spreads, garnered national acclaim. Servin’ Up Summer is her second book.
With the yearning to bring people together ever present, Sheree expands the way we look at food, Southern culture, and a good story.
Robert Khayat is Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Mississippi. As a student at Ole Miss, he was a two-time All-SEC baseball player. He was selected as an Academic All American football player and he led the nation in scoring among all college kickers. He played in the National Football League with the Washington Redskins for three seasons and was selected for the Pro Bowl in 1960. While still playing in the NFL, he enrolled in law school and earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1966. He was appointed to the University of Mississippi law faculty in 1969 and earned an LL.M. from Yale University. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NFL and the Distinguished American Award from the National Football Foundation. He was named chancellor of the University of Mississippi in 1995.
His first book, The Education of a Lifetime, was a New York Times bestselling education book. The Mississippi Library Association named him 2013 Author of the Year, and the book earned a national IPPY Award for best memoir.
Marisa Kwiatkowski is an investigative reporter at USA TODAY. She previously worked for media outlets in Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana. Marisa’s work has spurred federal and state investigations, criminal charges, resignations and changes to federal law and state policy. She and her IndyStar colleagues earned national and state awards for their investigation into USA Gymnastics’ handling of child sexual abuse allegations, including those against former doctor Larry Nassar. Marisa has earned more than 50 other journalism awards. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in business administration from Indiana University. Marisa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @byMarisaK.
Anne Geddie Landrum is the wife of Tom Landrum. They were married for sixty-seven years, and they have five children, sixteen grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren. Anne worked with Tom in the Youth Court system, in real estate, and with Primerica Financial Services. Thirty-eight years ago they retired and founded Landrum’s Country - a retail store manufacturing handcrafted pine furniture. A few years later, they established Landrum’s Homestead & Village - a living history museum which attracts visitors from around the country. Today, Anne and her children continue the legacy she and Tom began with the homestead. They encourage others to remember and learn the history of our ancestors, to value family dependence on each other, and to preserve our heritage.
Mike Landrum is one of Tom and Anne Landrum’s sons, and he serves as the Landrum family spokesperson. Mike is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi, and he is also an NFL alumni as he played with the Atlanta Falcons from 19884-1986. Mike and his wife Amy are thirty-one year veterans with the NYSE financial services company Primerica. Mike and his wife Amy have five children and five grandchildren, and they reside in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Ariel Lawhon is a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction. She is the author of The Wife The Maid and The Mistress, Flight of Dreams, I Was Anastasia, and the Code Name Hélène. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, Indie Next, Costco, Amazon Spotlight, and Book of the Month Club selections. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four sons. Ariel splits her time between the grocery store and the baseball field.
Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Kiese Laymon, Ottilie Schillig Professor in English and Creative Writing and the University of Mississippi, is the author of the novel Long Division, the memoir Heavy, and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America.
Robby Luckett received his BA in political science from Yale University and his PhD in history from the University of Georgia. A native Mississippian, he returned home, where he is a tenured Professor of History and Director of the Margaret Walker Center and COFO Civil Rights Education Center at Jackson State University. His books include a collection of essays, Redefining Liberal Arts Education in the 21st Century (University Press of Mississippi, 2021), and a monograph, Joe T. Patterson and the White South’s Dilemma: Evolving Resistance to Black Advancement, (University Press of Mississippi, 2015).
Robby is an Advisory Board member for the Mississippi Book Festival, and he serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Common Cause Mississippi and as Secretary of the Board for the Association of African American Museums. In 2017, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba appointed him to the Board of Trustees of Jackson Public Schools, and, in 2018, he received a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellowship for his work in racial equity. Robby has three children: Silas, Hazel, and Flip.
Chris Mackowski, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emerging Civil War. He is the series editor of the award-winning Emerging Civil War Series, published by Savas Beatie, and the “Engaging the Civil War” Series, published in partnership with Southern Illinois University Press. Chris is a writing professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, NY, where he also serves as associate dean for undergraduate programs. Chris is also historian-in-residence at Stevenson Ridge, a historic property on the Spotsylvania battlefield in central Virginia. He has also worked as a historian for the National Park Service at Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, where he gives tours at four major Civil War battlefields (Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Wilderness, and Spotsylvania), as well as at the building where Stonewall Jackson died. Chris has authored or co-authored a dozen books on the Civil War, and his articles have appeared in all the major Civil War magazines. Chris serves on the board of directors for the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust and the advisory board of the Civil War Roundtable Congress.
John F. Marszalek III is the author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi (2020, University Press of Mississippi), named the 2020 Digital Book World Best Nonfiction Book and Best Book Published by a University Press. He is also a host of the podcast Queer Voices of the South on the New Books Network. John is a National Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor in Mississippi. He has been a counselor educator for over 20 years and is currently clinical faculty of the online clinical mental health counseling program at Southern New Hampshire University. He received his PhD in counselor education at Mississippi State University.
Before moving back to Mississippi, John lived in Buffalo, NY, Washington, DC, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and New Orleans, LA. John lives with his husband in Starkville, Mississippi.
Melissa M. Martin grew up on the Louisiana coast and has lived in New Orleans for 20 years. After graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans, she worked as an adult literacy teacher until she evacuated to Northern California during Hurricane Katrina. While living there, she worked at some of the top Napa Valley vineyards and restaurants, and this is where she honed her self-taught culinary skills to a professional level. Martin returned to New Orleans three years later and opened Satsuma Café, a casual farm-to-table restaurant, and worked at Café Hope, a nonprofit restaurant, teaching at-risk youth to cook seasonal food. In 2014, she opened Mosquito Supper Club, where she serves family-style meals to small groups of guests who reserve a place at her table months in advance. Find her on Instagram @mosquitosupperclub.
Storytelling is the heart and soul of Elizabeth McCain’s life. Originally from Mississippi, she is the author of a compelling memoir, A Lesbian Belle Tells OUTrageous Southern Stories of Family, Loss, and Love, an expansion of her award-winning one-woman play. Elizabeth’s true tales are about her Mississippi roots, coming out in Washington, DC as a lipstick lesbian, experiencing family rejection, and finding love and belonging. Her stories take readers and audiences on a wild ride through a Southern Belle’s life of soul-searching, rule breaking, and truth telling. Filled with heart and humor, as only this belle can tell, her memoir was nominated for Best Lesbian Memoir of 2021 by the Lambda Literary Society and the Golden Crown Society. As a transformational storyteller, story coach, spiritual counselor, and Interfaith minister, Elizabeth’s mission is to inspire people to share their own stories for personal growth, transformation, and community building. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her spouse, Marie, and their two spoiled dogs. Elizabeth will perform her play in October in Provincetown, MA, for Women’s Week. She will also be performing and doing book readings throughout the South soon. www.elizabethmccain.com.
Chris McLaughlin is founder and executive director of the Animal Rescue Front. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts Boston with a BA in earth sciences, she lives in Massachusetts with two cats. This is her first book.
Lisa McNair is the younger sister of Denise McNair, victim of the 16th Street Baptist church bombing. A lifelong resident of Birmingham, Lisa is a professional photographer and national public speaker with a personal memoir due out in 2021.
LaTanya McQueen has an MFA from Emerson College, a PhD from the University of Missouri, and was the 2017-2018 Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer Fellow at Cornell College. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Coe College. She published an essay collection, titled, And It Begins Like This and has been featured in Best American Essays, Carve Magazine, and Bennington Review. When the Reckoning Comes is her first novel.
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 in Mississippi, 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, including being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist, he is finishing his memoir about his pursuit of civil rights cold cases, Race Against Time, for Simon & Schuster.
Jennifer Moffett is the author of the novel Those Who Prey (a 2021 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Youth Literature nominee) and a forthcoming novel (2022) published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. After working in New York for several animated television series, which included Arthur and Disney’s Doug, she received an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Mississippi and wrote for regional publications, including Jackson Free Press. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various literary journals, including New Orleans Review and descant, where she is an Associate Fiction Editor. She won the Gary Wilson Short Story Award and published work in Sundress Publications’ Not Somewhere Else But Here: A Contemporary Anthology of Women and Place. She teaches creative writing at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where she is their 2021 Mississippi Humanities Council Instructor of the Year. Learn more at jbmoffett.com.
Allison Moorer is a singer/songwriter, producer, and author who has released ten critically acclaimed albums. Her first memoir, Blood, was released in October 2019 to high praise and received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist. She has been nominated for Academy, Grammy, Americana Music Association, and Academy of Country Music Awards. Allison holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School; her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, American Songwriter, Guernica, No Depression, Literary Hub, and The Bitter Southerner. She received the Hall-Waters Prize for Excellence in Southern Writing in 2020. Her second memoir will be released in October 2021. She lives in Nashville.
Bill Morris brings passion to whatever he pursues. A lifelong resident of Jackson, Mississippi, Morris is the founder and president of The William Morris Group, an industry-leading insurance consulting and marketing firm. He has won virtually every award in his industry, including inclusion in the Million Dollar Round Table for over 50 consecutive years. His other pursuits include writing, art and book collecting, photography and music. His photographs of his alma mater became a popular coffee table book, Ole Miss at Oxford: A Part of Our Heart and Soul. His love for the Doo wop/R&B music of his youth, coupled with his ability to connect with people and what he credits as divine leading, resulted in deep friendships with four of his musical heroes, three of whom were members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. As he shares in his memoir, This Magic Moment: My Journey of Faith, Friends, and the Father’s Love, Morris lived every fans’ dream with his “brothers from another mother” for three decades joining them at major music events, singing with them on stage and speaking and singing at all of their funerals. Morris and his wife Camille have two grown daughters and five grandchildren.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the New York Times best-selling author of World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, & Other Astonishments, finalist for the Kirkus Prize in non-fiction, and recently named the Barnes and Noble Book of the Year. She is also the author of four books of poetry, and is poetry editor of Sierra, the national magazine of the Sierra Club. Awards for her writing include a fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Council, Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for poetry, National Endowment of the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Her writing has appeared in NYTimes Magazine, ESPN Magazine, and twice in Best American Poetry. She is professor of English and Creative Writing in the University of Mississippi’s MFA program.
Martin Padgett has an MFA from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and received a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellowship. He has written for Oxford American, Gravy, Details, and Business Week. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
Timothy Pakron is a passionate cook, artist, photographer, and creator of the popular blog Mississippi Vegan. Before devoting himself to the culinary arts, he spent time as a fine artist in Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City. While living in NYC, he created the concept of Mississippi Vegan, merging his past and his present while celebrating kindness to animals through delicious food. His cookbook was released in the fall of 2018 with Avery. Pakron currently lives and works in New Orleans.
Torrey Peters is the author of the bestselling novel Detransition, Baby (Random House, 2021), which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize and was a Roxane Gay’s Audacious Book Club Pick. She is also the author of the novellas Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones and The Masker. Peters holds an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth. She splits her time between Brooklyn and an off-grid cabin in Vermont.
Ashleigh Bryant Phillips is from rural Woodland, North Carolina. She’s a graduate of Meredith College and earned an MFA from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Her stories have appeared in The Oxford American, The Paris Review and others. Sleepovers is her first book.
Gin Phillips is the author of six novels, ranging from historical fiction to literary thriller to middle grade. Her work has been sold in 29 countries.
Gin’s debut novel, The Well and the Mine, won the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Her recent novel, Fierce Kingdom, was named one of the Best Crime Novels of 2017 by the New York Times Book Review. GiIt was also was named one of the best books of 2017 by Publishers Weekly, NPR, Amazon, and Kirkus Reviews. A Kirkus starred review called it “poignant and profound,” adding that “this adrenaline-fueled thriller will shatter readers like a bullet through bone.”
Born in Montgomery, Al., Gin graduated from Birmingham-Southern College with a degree in political journalism. After time spent in Ireland, New York, and Washington, D.C., she currently lives with her family (plus a schnoodle and a mini golden mountain doodle) in Birmingham.
Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and a 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church. Deesha is also the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. Her work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Brevity, dead housekeeping, Apogee Journal, Catapult, Harvard Review, ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Baltimore Review, TueNight, Ebony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies. Deesha is a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a past Pushcart Prize nominee for essay writing in Full Grown People.
Charles Pickering started practicing law in 1961. He served as Jones County Prosecuting Attorney From 1964 until 1968 and served in the Mississippi State Senate representing Jones County from 1972 1980. After practicing law for 30 years he served as United States District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi for 13 years before being appointed to the United States 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which sits in New Orleans. Upon retirement from the 5th Circuit Judge Pickering returned to the practice of law with the Baker Donelson law firm in Jackson. He retired from the practice of law in 2019, but he continues to work on his timber farm. Judge Pickering served as President of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, as Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, William Carey University, President of Catfish Farmers of America, and as President of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit conservation organization. He served for some 12 years on the Board of Mission Mississippi which promotes racial reconciliation through Christian Faith, as well as 12 years on the Board of Alliance Defending Freedom which promotes religious liberty. He served on the original Board of Directors of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi. He continues to serve on the Boards of William Carey, Wildlife Mississippi and Magnolia State Bank. After retiring from the Bench Judge Pickering prepared the petition and led the effort that resulted in the exoneration of Clyde Kennard who was convicted of stealing chicken feed to prevent his being the first Black to be enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi He is the author of two books, SUPREME CHAOS and A PRICE TOO HIGH. He was featured in a segment of CBS’s 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace and appeared on numerous national television and radio programs. He and his wife of 62 years, Margaret Ann, have 4 children, Paige Dunkerton, Chip Pickering, former U. S. Congressman, Allison Montgomery and Christi Chapman, with 24 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.
Catherine Pierce is the author of four books of poems: Danger Days (2020), The Tornado Is the World (2016), The Girls of Peculiar (2012), and Famous Last Words (2008), winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. Each of her last three books received the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Prize. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize winner and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Mississippi Arts Commission. Pierce’s work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, American Poetry Review, The Nation, The Southern Review, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series, and elsewhere. She is professor of English and co-director of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University.
Ty Pinkins is truly a “son of the Mississippi Delta.” Born and raised in the small town of Rolling Fork, he is a former Communications Aide to President Barack Obama, and the author of 23 Miles & Running: My American Journey from Chopping Cotton in the Mississippi Delta to Sleeping in the White House. A decorated veteran of the U.S. Army he spent three years in combat, earning the Bronze Star for his actions. Ty is a dedicated public servant. Upon retiring after 21 years in the military, he co-founded The Pyramid Project, a nonprofit organization serving youth from low-income communities by providing career and academic related resources and mentorship opportunities. Ty is a lawyer at the Mississippi Center for Justice where he advocates on behalf of individuals in some of Mississippi’s most underserved communities by helping litigants navigate the justice court system. He earned his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center as well as his LL.M (Master of Laws in National Security Law) from Georgetown Law.
Christian Pinnen is an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Mississippi College. Dr. Pinnen joined MC’s faculty in 2012 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has published articles and book chapters on colonial Mississippi, specifically the Natchez District. His first book, Complexion of Empire in Natchez: Race and Slavery in the Mississippi Borderlands was published by the University of Georgia Press in 2021. His second book, a co-authored volume with Charles Weeks entitled Colonial Mississippi: A Borrowed Land was published my University Press of Mississippi in 2021 as well. He currently teaches U.S. History, History of the Old South, Latin America Survey, the American Revolution, and American Slavery. His research focuses on race and slavery in the Spanish-American borderlands and capitalism in early America. Currently he is researching the history of the Forks of the Road Slave Market in Natchez for the National Park Service with Max Grivno.
Elodie is a retired freelance writer, blogger and editor from Natchez, Mississippi. She is a sixth-generation Natchezian, who left Natchez for California in 1980 and returned home in 2007. She lives in Natchez with her boyfriend, Tommy Polk. Together they run a B&B called Shantybellum and care for one little dog and an ever-changing collection of cats.
Brian A. Pugh currently serves as executive director of the Stennis Center for Public Service and as adjunct professor at Mississippi State University. Prior to working at the Stennis Center, Pugh worked in state government for over a decade for the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration, Governor’s Office, and the Legislative Budget Office.
Nathaniel Rich is the author of Losing Earth: A Recent History, which received awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists and the American Institute of Physicists and was a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award; and the novels King Zeno, Odds Against Tomorrow, and The Mayor’s Tongue. He is a writer at large for The New York Times Magazine and a regular contributor to The Atlantic, Harper’s, and The New York Review of Books. His new book is Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade. Rich lives in New Orleans.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You, which will be published by One World Random House in August 2021. His first book, We Cast a Shadow, was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the PEN America Open Book Prize. It was longlisted for the 2021 DUBLIN Literary Award, the Center for Fiction Prize and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. The novel was also a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Ruffin is the winner of several literary prizes, including the Iowa Review Award in fiction and the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition Award for Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Oxford American, Garden & Gun, Kenyon Review, and Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America. A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.
2x Grammy winning legend, Blues Hall of Famer, six-time Grammy nominee, and 13-time Blues Music Award winner, and autobiography on its way, Bobby Rush has been making records for nearly 70 years and has more than 400 recordings, 75 career releases, and now 27 studio albums to his name. He earned a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album and a Blues Music Award for Album of the Year for his studio recording Porcupine Meat in 2017. In 2019, at age 85, he released Sitting on Top of the Blues with 11 originals, earning him another Blues Music Award and Grammy Award nomination. He had a cameo in the Golden Globe-nominated Netflix original film Dolemite Is My Name, the Rudy Ray Moore biopic featuring Eddie Murphy as Moore. Rush kicked off 2020 with the release of “Dolemite Kid,” a single inspired by his nine years on tour with Moore, his day working with Murphy, and the hit film itself. But Rush, who turned 87 in November, is not done yet. With the release of his 2020 album Rawer Than Raw, an all-acoustic effort that pays tribute to the rich blues history of Mississippi, Rush has cemented his reputation as one of the preeminent bluesmen in the world, one of the last living links to the music’s glorious past, and an inspiration for its future stars. The album just won a Grammy Award.
Gordy Sauer is a native Texan and transplant Missourian. He holds an MFA from Columbia University and an MA from Clemson University. His writing has appeared in Narrative Magazine and Boulevard, among other places, and he received a 2013 artist’s grant for residency at the Vermont Studio Center. A lifelong educator, he has taught snowboarding, fly fishing, middle school math and science, and now works as a speechwriter at Mizzou. This is his first novel.
Carrie is the author of the new acclaimed tween novel HORSE GIRL (Penguin Random House) as well as the bestselling Audible adventure series THE FLYING FLAMINGO SISTERS, which was hailed by the New York Times as a Best Audiobook for Road Trips with Kids.
An alum of The Groundlings comedy theater, she’s served as a staff writer for several Nickelodeon comedy variety specials and has appeared on Inside Amy Schumer, the Today show and the Comedy Central Stage. You can hear her voice in several audiobooks, animated series and commercials - where she’s played everything from an evil robot to a sassy pickle.
As a journalist and essayist, she’s contributed to The New York Times, The Atlantic, Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, McSweeney’s, and the book Mortified: Love is a Battlefield. Her comedic essay, Outsourcing Love - about hiring a virtual assistant to manage her love life - was optioned for a feature film. Carrie grew up writing plays and riding horses with her sister, actress Lindsay Seim, in the windswept plains of Nebraska.
Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She 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, Free Men, and The Everlasting. Her writing has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Paris Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Oxford American, Granta, and Literary Hub. She lives in New Orleans, and recently served as the Eudora Welty Chair for Southern Literature at Millsaps College.
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 award winners Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg (2004), Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation (2012), Shiloh: Conquer or Perish (2014), Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson (2016), and The Real Horse Soldiers: Benjamin Grierson’s Epic 1863 Civil War Raid Through Mississippi (2018). His book on the May 19 and 22 Vicksburg assaults came out in January 2020, and he is currently writing a book on the Vicksburg siege. He lives with his wife Kelly and children Mary Kate and Leah Grace in Adamsville, Tennessee.
Deanne Love Stephens is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. She is author of Plague Among the Magnolias: The 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Mississippi.
Katherine St. John is a native of Mississippi and a graduate of the University of Southern California who spent over a decade in the film industry as an actress, screenwriter, and director before turning to penning novels. When she’s not writing, she can be found hiking or on the beach with a good book. Katherine’s novels are The Lion’s Den and The Siren.
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA, and the only thing she loves more than an adventure is a good story about one. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. Growing up with a wide range of cultures, religions, and backgrounds, Stone strives to bring these diverse voices and stories to her work.
Danielle Bishop Stoulig grew up just outside of Hattiesburg, MS, and received two degrees from Southern Miss. She is a former Assistant Curator at the de Grummond Collection and considers herself very fortunate to have been a member of the staff there for eighteen years. She is currently an Assistant Librarian and Head of Archival Processing at LSU Libraries Special Collections and resides in Gonzales, LA with her husband and fur children.
Heather Marie Stur, Ph.D., is professor of history at USM and senior fellow in the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society. She is the author of Saigon at War: South Vietnam and the Global Sixties (Cambridge 2020), The U.S. Military and Civil Rights Since World War II (ABC-CLIO 2019), and Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era (Cambridge 2011). She is also co-editor of Integrating the U.S. Military: Race, Gender, and Sexuality Since World War II (Johns Hopkins 2017). Dr. Stur’s articles have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, National Interest, Orange County Register, Diplomatic History, and other journals and newspapers. In 2013-14, Dr. Stur was a Fulbright scholar in Vietnam, where she was a visiting professor on the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. She is currently writing a book about the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The biographer Annalyn Swan and her husband and co-author, Mark Stevens, have spent decades in the art and publishing worlds of New York, Mark as a veteran art critic-for Newsweek, The New Republic and New York magazine—and Annalyn as the former arts editor of Newsweek and a former music critic.
Their first book, de Kooning: An American Master, won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2005, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times book award for biography. The New York Times named it one of the 10 best books of 2005. Their second biography, Francis Bacon: Revelations, was published in the U.K. in January of 2021 and in the U.S. in March, 2021. The Observer called it “a magnificent triumph” and The Times “the definitive life of Bacon.”
Swan is a former trustee of Princeton University and a long-time board member of the Works and Process series at the Guggenheim Museum. She taught biographical writing at Princeton University in 2013, and currently teaches in the Biography and Memoir M.A. program at the Graduate Center of the City of New York, as well as at the Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English.
Don Tate is an award-winning author, and the illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. He is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf - a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews—and a one-time member of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature. Don’s books include Carter Reads The Newspaper (Peachtree Publishing, 2019), No Small Potatoes: Junius G. Groves and his Kingdom in Kansas (Knopf, 2018), Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions (Charlesbridge, 2016), The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (Eerdmans, 2015) and many others. He is also the author of Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton (Peachtree,2015); It Jes’ Happened: When Bill Traylor Started To Draw (Lee & Low Books, 2102), both books are Ezra Jack Keats award winners, and recently, Strong As Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became The Strongest Man on Earth (Charlesbridge, 2017), Par-Tay! Dance of the Veggies (and their friends), written by Eloise Greenfield (Alazar, 2018), and Stalebread Charlie and the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band, written by Michael Mahin (Clarion, 2018). Don’s latest titles include William Still and his Freedom Stories: Father of the Underground Railroad (Peachtree Publishing Company, Nov. 2020), and Swish! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, written by Suzanne Slade (Little Brown, Nov. 2020). He lives in Austin, Texas, with his family.
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. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. Angie is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, started as a senior project in college. It was later acquired by the Balzer+Bray imprint of HarperCollins Publishers in a 13-publisher auction and debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, winning the ALA’s William C. Morris Debut Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA), the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize (UK), and the Deutscher Jugendliterapreis (Germany). The Hate U Give was adapted into a critically acclaimed film from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr.
Angie’s second novel, On The Come Up, is a #1 New York Times bestseller as well, and a film is in development with Paramount Pictures with Angie acting as a producer. In 2020, Angie released Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal to Writing Your Truth as a tool to help aspiring writers tell their stories. In 2021, Angie returned to the world of Garden Heights with Concrete Rose, a prequel to The Hate U Give focused on seventeen-year-old Maverick Carter that debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Sally Palmer Thomason was born, raised, and educated in California but has lived in Memphis for over fifty years. She retired as the dean of continuing and corporate education at Rhodes College and has authored several books, including The Power of One: Sister Anne Brooks and the Tutwiler Clinic and Delta Rainbow: The Irrepressible Betty Bobo Pearson, both published by University Press of Mississippi.
Sami Thomason-Fyke (she/her) is a Youth Services Specialist at the Lafayette County and Oxford Public Library. She was formerly a bookseller, events coordinator, and social media coordinator at Square Books in Oxford, MS. You can keep up with her reading recommendations at samisaysread.com. @SamiSaysRead
Wright Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family.
Photo by Thomas McCallum
Eric L. Tribunella is the author of Melancholia and Maturation: The Use of Trauma in American Children’s Literature, the co-author of Reading Children’s Literature: A Critical Introduction, and the editor of Edward Prime-Stevenson’s Left to Themselves. He is a Professor of English at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he teaches children’s and young adult literature.
Heather Truett is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Memphis and serves as the Development Director for The Pinch literary journal. She is #actuallyautistic and passionate about bringing more neurodivergent voices to the publishing table. Heather was born in Kentucky, sharing a hometown with Loretta Lynn, and grew up in South Carolina. She moved from there to Alabama and now resides in Mississippi with her husband, teenage sons, and three cats. She works as a copywriter and as a writing consultant for University students. Kiss and Repeat is her debut novel.
Vincent Venturini is a native of Jackson, having grown up in the southern section of the city. He attended school at St. Therese elementary School and St. Joseph High School. He earned degrees at Mississippi State University (BA) the University of Southern Mississippi (MSW) and the University of Alabama (Ph.D.) Dr. Venturini is the retired Chair of Social Work and Associate Provost at Mississippi Valley State University. He remains busy in his retirement working on local histories of the Jackson area.
A Chicago-born writer based in Pittsburgh, PA, Marisel Vera is the author of The Taste of Sugar and If I Bring You Roses. Through her work, Vera explores the particular burdens that Puerto Ricans carry as colonial subjects of the most powerful country in the world.
M.O. Walsh is the author of the novels My Sunshine Away (a New York Times bestseller), The Big Door Prize, and the story collection The Prospect of Magic. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Southern Review, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, New York Times, The Guardian, and many others. He currently directs the Creative Writing Workshop MFA program at the University of New Orleans and The Yokshop in Oxford, MS.
Dawnie Walton is a writer, editor, and author of the novel The Final Revival of Opal & Nev. She earned her MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2018) and holds a journalism degree from Florida A&M University (1997). Formerly an editor at Essence and Entertainment Weekly, she has received fellowships in fiction writing from MacDowell and the Tin House Summer Workshop. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, she lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband.
Lawrence Wells, author of In Faulkner’s Shadow, is the director of Yoknapatawpha Press in Oxford, Mississippi, which he established with his late wife Dean Faulkner Wells. Wells cofounded the quarterly literary journal The Faulkner Newsletter and Yoknapatawpha Review. Author of two historical novels, Rommel and the Rebel and Let the Band Play Dixie, Wells was awarded the 2014 Faulkner-Wisdom gold medal for narrative non-fiction at the Words and Music Festival in New Orleans. He scripted the Emmy-winning 1994 PBS regional documentary Return to the River narrated by James Earl Jones.
With almost two million books in print in fifteen different languages, Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 28 novels, including the popular Charleston-set Tradd Street mystery series, The Last Night in London, Dreams of Falling, The Night the Lights Went Out, and Flight Patterns. She is the coauthor of All the Ways We Said Goodbye, The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room with New York Times bestselling authors Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. She grew up in London but now lives with her husband and two spoiled Havanese dogs near Atlanta, Georgia and on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Besides writing, Karen spends her time reading, playing piano, and avoiding cooking.
David Whiteis, an internationally published critic and journalist with over 45 years of experience writing about blues, jazz, and other essential issues, is a Chicago resident who currently writes on a regular basis for Living Blues Magazine, Jazz Times, the Chicago Reader, and other publications. He is the recipient of the Blues Foundation’s 2001 Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Achievement in Journalism. His books include, Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories (2006), Southern Soul-Blues (2013), Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago (2019) and Always the Queen: The Denise LaSalle Story (2021), co-written with Denise LaSalle, all published by University of Illinois Press. He is also an experienced academic researcher and writer in the fields of Public Health and Public Health Policy.
Curtis Wilkie covered civil rights activity in Mississippi in the 1960s and afterward served as a national and international correspondent for a quarter century at the Boston Globe. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.