Contact: Sammy McDavid
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State employees and alumni will have key roles at the 2016 Mississippi Book Festival being held Aug. 20 in Jackson.
Dubbed a “literary lawn party,” the free annual event takes place 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. More than 30 panel discussions and individual interviews—some carried live on the C-SPAN Network—will be held in rooms of the historic downtown state capitol and nearby Galloway United Methodist Church.
At 1 p.m. in Galloway’s sanctuary, the university is sponsoring a panel discussion titled “Willie Morris and His Books.” Sharing perspectives on the life and diverse literary works of the late author and publishing editor from Yazoo City will be:
—Widow JoAnne Prichard Morris, whose books include “Barefootin’: Life Lessons from the Road to Freedom,” a 2006 Crown Publishing release written with Mississippi civil rights activist Unita Blackwell;
—Son David Rae Morris, an internationally recognized photographer and photojournalist;
—Jack Bales, author of “Willie Morris: An Exhaustive Annotated Bibliography and a Biography” (McFarland, 2010);
—Barry Moser, a National Book Award-winning illustrator and Morris collaborator;
—Teresa Nichols, author of “Willie: The Life of Willie Morris” (University Press of Mississippi, 2016); and
—Lawrence “Larry” Wells, founder of Yoknapatawpha Press, an Oxford publishing house.
Moderating the Morris panel will be syndicated columnist Rick Cleveland, a retired Clarion-Ledger sports columnist and writer who also is the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame’s official historian.
—At 10 a.m. in Capitol Room 201A, alumnus Bob Montgomery is sponsoring a panel discussion titled “Mystery and Thriller.” A former state senator and leader in the Mississippi Legislature, the Canton attorney has been president of both the MSU Student and National Alumni associations.
—At 11:15 a.m. in The Foundery of Galloway United, English department graduate Brad Watson will be part of a panel discussion titled “Southern Fiction Today” sponsored by Cornerstone Consulting. An award-winning author now teaching at the University of Wyoming, he is receiving national accolades for “Miss Jane,” a novel released last month by W.W. Norton & Co.
—At 12:30 p.m. in Capitol Room 201A, associate English professor Becky Hagenston will be part of a panel discussion titled “Short Stories” sponsored by the University of Southern Mississippi’s English Department. A two-time selection for the national O. Henry Award, she is this year’s winner of the University of Alaska Fairbank’s Permafrost Book Prize in Fiction for “Scavengers” (University of Alaska Press, 2016).
—Also at 12:30 p.m. in the capitol’s Old Supreme Court Room, associate history professor Jason Morgan Ward will be on a C-SPAN-broadcast panel discussion titled “Civil Rights History” that is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council and First Commercial Bank. Ward is author of “Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence, Grassroots Struggle and America’s Civil Rights Century,” a recent Oxford University Press release.
—At 3 p.m. in Capitol Room 201A, alumnus Sid Salter moderates a panel titled “Sports and Outdoors” also sponsored by the humanities council. A veteran newspaper editor and political columnist, Salter now is his alma mater’s chief communications officer and Office of Public Affairs leader. He is author of “Jack Cristil: Voice of the Bulldogs” (University Press of Mississippi, 2015).
“Sports and Outdoors” panelists include:
—Donald Jackson, MSU Sharp Professor Emeritus of Fisheries and author of “Deeper Currents: The Sacraments of Hunting and Fishing” (University Press of Mississippi, 2016);
—Jason Peterson, a Charleston Southern University assistant professor and author of “Full Court Press: Mississippi State University and the Battle Against the Press to Integrate State College Basketball, 1955-73” (University Press of Mississippi, Sept. 2016); and
—Stuart Stevens, a Jackson-born national political adviser and travel writer who wrote “The Last Season: A Father, a Son and a Lifetime of College Football.” (Deckle Edge, 2015).
Additionally, Robert Olen Butler, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who was the MSU Institute for the Humanities’ 2014 writer-in-residence, will be part of a 4 p.m. panel discussion in the Galloway sanctuary titled “The National Page.” The Illinois-born novelist’s latest work, “Perfume River” (Atlantic Monthly Press), was released earlier this year.
For a complete schedule and participant list for the 2016 Mississippi Book Festival, visit www.msbookfestival.com.
Other information on MSU’s direct and associated roles at this year’s event is available from Salter at 662-325-3442 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.