Program of the 2012 Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium

The symposium is scheduled for October 18th, 19th, and 20th, 2012. The theme for this year's symposium is "'River the Color of Blood': Crime and Passion in a Gothic South" and is inspired by Eudora Welty's novella "The Robber Bridegroom."

The names below are a preliminary list of authors for this year. More information will be added soon, including when available, links to author websites where you can learn a little more about this year's line-up. Don't forget that we will be selling books at Welty Book Table during the symposium. We often have books early for those who want to read ahead. Contact the College of Arts and Sciences office for more information.


Sonny Brewer is author of The Widow and the Tree, a novel of a 500-year-old live oak, the ghosts that inhabit it, and the widow who must live its history and decide its destiny. Roger Pickney, writing for Orion, calls it “spare, mean, loving, pungent,” adding, “Sonny Brewer knows the Alabama coast, a culture threatened sure as the Ghosthead Oak.” Brewer is the founder of Over the Transom Bookstore in Fairhope, Alabama, where he has also managed the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, published the series Stories from the Blue Moon Café and edited the collection of essays Don't Quit Your Day Job, Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit. He also has three previous novels to his name: The Poet of Tolstoy Park, A Sound Like Thunder and Cormac—the Tale of a Dog Gone Missing.


®Bill Giduz

Anthony S. Abbott, author of If Words Could Save Us is co-winner of the 2012 Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry by a resident or native of North Carolina. Abbot has published five previous books of poetry The Girl in the Yellow Raincoat, A Small Thing Like a Breath, The Search for Wonder and the Cradle of the World, The Man Who, and New and Selected Poems as well as two novels Leaving Maggie Hope and The Three Great Sacred Things.

Kelly Norman Ellis is author of Offerings of Desire. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, and raised there and in Knoxville, Kentucky, Ellis explores her Southern heritage in her new collection and in her first book, Tougaloo Blues. She now lives in Chicago and teaches creative writing at Chicago State University. She is a Cave Canem fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets.

Carolyn Haines, author of Bonefire of the Vanities, number twelve in her Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries series. Winner of Richard Wright and Harper Lee awards, Haines is known for her wicked sense of humor and her love of pets and ghosts, personified in her detective’s lovable canine sidekicks Sweetie Pie and Chablis and Jitty, the ghost of Sarah Booth Delaney’s great-great-grandmother’s nanny. Haines has also published nine novels outside the Sarah Booth Delaney series.

Michael Kardos, author of The Three-Day Affair, which Publisher’s Weekly has named one of its Best Books for Fall 2012. Kirkus Reviews calls it “An agonizing moral nightmare interspersed with flashbacks to happier times whose import becomes clear only in the final chapter.” Kardos is also author of a collection of short stories, One Last Good Time, and a textbook The Art and Craft of Fiction, forthcoming from Bedford/St. Martin in December.

Christopher Lowe, author of Those Like Us, returns to his alma mater to read from his debut collection of stories, an interlocking set of stories revolving around the fictional town of Wyeth, Mississippi, which seems to be not too far from Columbus. In addition to teaching creative writing at McNeese State University, Lowe serves on the editorial boards of Fiction Weekly, Fifth Wednesday, and Trigger.

Catherine Pierce will read from her most recent collection of poems, The Girls of Peculiar. Poetry Daily notes that “‘Peculiar’ is a place of memory conflated with imagination, where fear and desire mingle.” Pierce is co-director with Michael Kardos of the creative writing program at Mississippi State University and has published two previous collections, Famous Last Words and the chapbook Animals of Habit.

Josh Russell, author of A True History Of The Captivation, Transport To Strange Lands, & Deliverance Of Hannah Guttentag wins the prize for longest title. A Southern Indie Booksellers Okra Pick for Fall 2012, Russell’s novel intertwines a colonial American captivity narrative with a wicked satire of present-day academia that Creative Loafing calls “outright literary fun.” Russell’s two other novels are Yellowjack and My Bright Midnight.

Jessica Maria Tuccelli is the author of Glow, a multi-generational family saga set in North Georgia and filled “with slave owners and slaves, Native Americans, and the soldiers who drove them from their lands,” according to a Publisher’s Weekly review that adds, “This elaborately woven plot serves the story well, peppering the novel with moments of lingering beauty and shocking violence.” Glow was selected as a Southern Indie Booksellers Okra Pick for Spring 2012.

Olympia Vernon was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised there and in Southwest Mississippi. She will read from her most recent novel, A Killing in This Town, which Kirkus reviews calls “an unflinching, relentless drama set in the lynching culture of the KKK… …a powerful, difficult work by a writer absolutely determined to see.” Vernon’s two other novels, Logic and Eden, also confront the magic and. violence in the rural South. She holds degrees in Criminal Justice and Creative Writing

Frank X Walker returns to the symposium with his fifth collection, Isaac Murphy: I Dedicate this Ride, in which he chronicles the life of Murphy, the son of a slave, who grew up to be an on of the best American jockeys of all time. Walker is also expected to read from his forthcoming book on the life of Medgar Evers and from his previous collections, Affrilachia, Black Box, Buffalo Dance, and When Winter Come.

Welty Prize Winners:

Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown are co-authors of One Writers’ Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place in which they explore Eudora Welty’s and her mother’s shared love of gardening and the way their garden reflected the trends and issues of their day.

Susan Haltom is a Jackson-area garden designer, who led efforts to restore the garden at the Eudora Welty House, and Jane Roy Brown is a landscape historian and award-winning travel and garden writer. Together they have crafted a book that American Gardener calls “. . . a sparkling, multifaceted work rich in regional personalities, plants, and events that gardeners, with or without a telltale drawl, will relish.”