Literary mecca Oxford, Miss., celebrates two major events: the centennial of playwright Tennessee Williams’ birth in Columbus, Miss., and the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible at the 18th annual Oxford Conference for the Book. Notable authors, editors and others in the book trade, as well as educators, literary advocates and readers of all ages will examine the written word.
The conference is set for March 24-26, 2011 at various locations on the University of Mississippi campus and in Oxford.
The March program, which is free and open to the public, includes:
* Keynote speaker Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, discussing her new book “Composing Selves: Southern Women and Autobiography”
* A celebration of National Poetry Month with poets Michael McFee, of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Richard Tillinghast, a Tennessean living in Ireland
* Director of publishing at the Library of Congress, W. Ralph Eubanks, speaking with poet and novelist Natashia Tretheway and UM John and Renee Grisham Writer in Residence Jesmyn Ward
* Artist and art commentator William Dunlap moderating a session on “Reading in the Post-Gutenbergian Age” with Sven Birkerts, author of “The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age,” and poets Sarah Kennedy and R.T. Smith
* John and Pamela Voelkel speak to area fifth-graders and Ally Condie speaks to area ninth-graders, who have read the visiting author’s books.
Preceding the conference, a special Delta Literary Tour is set for March 20-23, with stops in Greenwood, Indianola, Greenville, Clarksdale and Merigold. The tour, led by “Encyclopedia of Southern Culture” publications editor Jimmy Thomas, will explorethe region’s rich literary, culinary and musical heritage.
A full list of conference events is at http://www.oxfordconferenceforthebook.com/
For more information about the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, visit https://www.olemiss.edu/depts/south/.