Eudora Writers’ Symposium features Kiese Laymon

Kiese Laymon

COLUMBUS, Miss.--Kiese Laymon returns as the keynote author for the 31st annual Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium, Oct. 10-12. Laymon will read from his latest book, “Heavy: An American Memoir,” which has been awarded the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction and the Los Angeles Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose.

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Best-selling author to headline Welty Gala


COLUMBUS, Miss. -- Best-selling author John Feinstein will be the featured speaker for Mississippi University for Women’s Welty Gala at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at the Trotter Convention Center at 402 2nd Avenue North in downtown Columbus.

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Eudora Welty Series 2019 Dates — October 10-12

Due to an unavoidable scheduling issue, the dates for the Welty Series have been moved from what was originally announced on our program last year and what is traditional for the Symposium and Gala. The series will be two weeks earlier than usual: October 10-12, 2019.

We anticipate returning to our usual weekend in coming years and beginning the series on or near Founder's Day.

Steve Yarbrough Named as Keynote Author

Novelist Steve Yarbrough returns as the keynote author at the 30th annual Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium, Oct. 18-20, 2018. Yarbrough has received many awards for his fiction, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the Richard Wright Award, and the Robert Penn Warren Award. He has been a frequent guest in the symposium’s early years featuring his three story collections, and will read from his seventh novel, The Unmade World, published in January.

Beginning with a fateful accident in Krakow, Poland, Yarbrough’s novel is a fitting opening for this year’s symposium theme, “‘As If the Ear of the World Listened’: Celebrating Thirty Years of Southern Stories,” inspired by Eudora Welty’s novel “Delta Wedding.” Yarbrough deftly weaves international politics, intrigue, and an intimate portrayal of “two ordinary men,” which Publisher’s Weekly has dubbed an “intricate and satisfying novel,” while naming it a “Best Book.”

Other writers who will return to this year’s symposium include: Angela Ball, Minrose Gwin, Pauline Kaldas, Silas House, Adam Vines, and Latha Viswanathan. Writers who are new to the symposium will include The W’s own T. K. Lee with his debut collection of poetry, Mike C. Smith of Delta State University, poet Kamilah Aisha Moon, and novelist Anthony Grooms. Please see this year's Program for more details as it is updated throughout the summer.

30th Symposium Celebrated at AWP

On Saturday, March 10, the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium will be featured in a panel at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Tampa, Florida. We proposed the panel to celebrate the fact that 2018 will be our 30th Symposium, and we invited former participants to take part. AWP limits panels to 5 members, including the moderator.

Representing the symposium will be Kendall Dunkelberg (Symposium Director and 2002, 2009 & 2016), Cary Holladay (2002, 2008 & 2013), Angela Ball (2008), Lorraine López (2010), and Kelly Norman Ellis (2012). We are pleased to bring a brief sample of the symposium's long and storied history to a national audience in Tampa, 3:00pm - 4:15pm, Tampa Convention Center,  Room 14 (conference registration required).

Meanwhile, work is progressing on lining up authors for the 30th annual Symposium, October 18-20, 2018!