The symposium is scheduled for October 24th, 25th, and 26th, 2013. The theme for this year’s symposium is “‘Alive as Ever, on the Brink of Oblivion’: Southern Writers in the Eye of the Storm” and is inspired by Eudora Welty’s last novel “Losing Battles.”

The names below are the list of authors for this year, 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.

Ellen Gilchrist

© Nathalie Dubois

Ellen Gilchrist

will read from The Writing Life and her forthcoming collection of stories Acts of God

Thursday, Oct. 24, 7:30-9 p.m. Poindexter Hall.

Long considered a major voice in Southern literature, Vicksburg native Ellen Gilchrist is the author of eight novels, two collections of poetry, two collections of essays, and twelve collections of short stories, including “In the Land of Dreamy Dreams,” her best-selling first story collection, and “Victory over Japan,” which won the National Book Award for fiction. She has been a commentator for National Public Radio and has taught creative writing at the University of Arkansas. Booklist calls her collection of essays, The Writing Life, “Beautiful in its lucid, limpid eloquence; in the remarkable wisdom about human nature it displays; and in its delicious cocktail of sarcastic humor, disarming candor, and face-slapping intelligence.”

The Writing Life cover

author of Hush Hush

Friday, Oct. 25, 1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.  Poindexter Hall

Acclaimed short fiction writer, Steven Barthelme reads from his latest collection of stories Hush Hush. Barthelme is the director of the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi and is a frequent contributor to major magazines such as The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, McSweeny’s, and The Yale Review. Booklist has hailed his latest collection, saying it “firmly establishes his reputation as a master of the short form” and noting that Barthelme’s “post-Southern style is distinctive and surprising, animated by stray cats and flawed humans seeking new lives.”

Hush Hush - Steve Barthelme

author of \blak\ \al-fə bet\

Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Mitchell L. H. Douglas returns to the symposium to read from his new collection \blak\ \al-fə bet\, winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award from Persea Books. In this collection, Douglas follows the history of a Southern family after the death of its matriarch. Publisher’s Weekly praises the book as “Haunted by questions of blackness” and “packed with risk and conflict, but also beauty.” Douglas first appeared at the symposium in 2010 with his debut collection “Cooling Board: A Long Playing Poem” on the Soul music legend Donny Hathaway.

blak alfe bet - Mitchell L.H. Douglas

Stephen Fuller

author of Eudora Welty and Surrealism

Saturday, Oct 26, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Eudora Welty Prize winner, Stephen Fuller, will discuss Eudora Welty and Surrealism, which examines Welty’s most productive period, during which she wrote “A Curtain of Green,” “The Wide Net,” and “Delta Wedding,” among other books. Fuller chronicles Welty’s connections to the New York school of surrealists, including Salvador Dalí, Wallace Simpson, Elizabeth Arden, and Charles Henri Ford, a Columbus, Mississippi native who edited the influential surrealist journal View. Fuller ties Welty’s take on the Southern Gothic to these Surrealist influences and expands the scope of Welty scholarship in new international directions.

author of The Next Time You See Me

Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Holly Goddard Jones’ debut novel The Next Time You See Me is a literary mystery set in a small Kentucky town on the Tennessee border. Jones was born and raised in a small Western Kentucky town, much like the setting for her two books of fiction. The New York Times praises her novel, noting “Ms. Jones has a talent for making even scenes apart from the central mystery feel suspenseful,” and calling the novel “equally impressive” as “her terrific book of short stories, ‘Girl Trouble’”




The Next Time You See Me - Holly Goddard Jones

author of Horse People: Stories and The Deer in the Mirror: Stories and a Novella

Saturday, Oct 26, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Cary Holladay returns the symposium with readings from her two newest collections of stories, Horse People and The Deer in the Mirror, winner of the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction. Holladay, a perennial favorite at the symposium, has appeared twice before, in 2008 with her novel A Fight in the Doctor’s Office and in 2002 with her novel Mercury. Laced with pathos and humor, Holladay’s stories chronicle the history of the horse country of Virginia, and range from the Old Dominion State in the wake of the Revolutionary War to Alaska during the Gold Rush. Lee Smith has dubbed Holladay an “historical fiction writer extraordinaire,” arguing that “Holladay writes with a majestic mastery of language, history, and character, telling tales both tough and true, brilliant and always surprising, like a diamond held up and turned in a shaft of sunlight.”


Horse People - Cary Holladay

author of Guest Host

Saturday, Oct 26, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Elizabeth Hughey will read from her two collections of poetry, Guest Host and Sunday Houses The Sunday House, which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. Library Journal wrote of Hughey’s work: “to read these poems we must drop our preconceived notions and let the poem happen to us as it emerges out of its shell—familiar but worthy of wonder.” Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review and Verse Daily, among other journals, and she is a founding member of Desert Island Supply Company, a writing workshop for kids in Birmingham, Alabama.



Guest Host - Elizabeth hughey

author of Rivers

Friday, Oct. 25, 1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.  Poindexter Hall

MUW’s own Michael Farris Smith will read from Rivers, his dystopian novel set on the Mississippi Gulf coast plagued by relentless hurricanes. Newly released in September, Rivers has been garnering rave reviews. Library Journal named it one of four “hot debuts” and Indiebound has chosen the novel for its September “Indie Next List.” As Kirkus Reviews notes in its starred review “This world is chilling—all the more so for its believability—and it is peopled by compelling, fully realized characters, some of whom only exist in the form of ghosts. In contrast to this bleak world, Smith’s prose is lush, descriptive and even beautiful.”



Rivers - Michael Farris Smtih

author of We Are Taking Only What We Need

Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Stephanie Powell Watts recounts stories from her childhood growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness in North Carolina in her debut collection We are Taking Only What We Need, forwhich she received the Ernest J. Gaines Award in 2012. Watts was also awarded a Pushcart Prize for the story, “Unassigned Territory.” Booklist dubs Watts “a talent to watch,” adding, “there is real immediacy here.”


We Are Taking Only What We Need - Stephanie Powell Watts

Adam Vines

author of The Coal Life

Friday, Oct. 25, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Adam Vines hails from Birmingham, Alabama, where he teaches at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and edits Birmingham Poetry Review. His debut poetry collection, The Coal Life, explores the cultural landscape of early twentieth-century Alabama coal towns. The Antioch Review praises Vines for his “neat stanzas and muscular, loaded lines” that situate “his poems in this restless, ambiguous middle zone where most of us live our lives.” Vines is an avid fisherman and spent twenty years as a professional landscaper before turning to poetry.


author of Sacrilegion

Friday, Oct. 25, 1:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.  Poindexter Hall

Florida poet L. Lamar Wilson reads from his debut collection Sacrilegion, winner of the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series prize and a bronze medal in poetry from Independent Publisher. Lamda Literary describes the collection as “a multi-voiced gospel, transcribed—as if in tattoo inks—from searing experience, religion is the presiding Father, sacrilege its rebellious Son, and legion the holy swarm of ghosts, revered ancestors and fallen angels, that haunt a kaleidoscopic narrative.” Wilson is currently a teaching fellow and doctoral student in African American and multiethnic American poetics at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.


Sacreligion - L Lamar Wilson

author of Some Kinds of Love.

Saturday, Oct 26, 9 a.m. – Noon  Poindexter Hall

Steve Yates, returns to the symposium with a new short story collection, Some Kinds of Love, which chronicles the foibles of love across time and culture, ranging from contemporary Jackson suburbia where Yates now resides to the Missouri Ozarks of 1833, the setting of Yates’ Civil War novel, Morkan’s Quarry, from which he read at the symposium in 2010. Publisher’s Weekly refers to Yates’ latest offering as a “sturdy story collection,” in which “good things happen to bad people, or more accurately in these cases, things happen to people.”



Some Kinds of Love - Steve Yates


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