The Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium returns to Mississippi University for Women October 21-23, featuring author, scholar, editor, and essayist W. Ralph Eubanks, whose most recent book, A Place Like Mississippi. weaves travelogue, literary history, and memoir into an evocative portrayal of our state and its literary landscape. Eubanks is the past director of publishing for the Library of Congress and former editor of Virginia Quarterly Review. His many publishing credits include articles and essays in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, and WIRED!, among many others, and his previous book publications include “Ever Is a Long Time: A Journey Into Mississippi's Dark Past” and “The House at the End of the Road: The Story of Three Generations of an Interracial Family in the American South .”
This year’s symposium theme “‘All They Saw Was at the Point of Coming Together’: A Confluence of Southern Writers” anticipages a return to an in-person symposium after last year’s first-ever all-virtual event. Symposium panels are planned to be held in Rent Auditorium to allow for social distancing. We also plan to live-stream the symposium on Facebook for those who are not able to attend in person or in the event of renewed COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings.
This year’s symposium also features four returning writers Josh Russell and Becky Hagenston with new story collections, King of the Animals and The Age of Discovery respectively, as well as poets Ashley M. Jones and Kendra Allen with their collections Reparations Now! and The Collection Plate. Writers who are new to the symposium will include novelists Annette Saunook Clapsaddle with Even As We Breathe, Lee Durkee with The Last Taxi Driver, and Angela Jackson-Brown with When Stars Rain Down. Other poets include former Louisiana poet laureate Jack Bedell with his collection Color All Maps New, as well as Joshua Nguyen and Thomas B. Richardson, who is an MSMS faculty member and W MFA alumnus, with their debut collections Come Clean and How to Read.
The Eudora Welty Prize will also be awarded for a book on Women’s Studies, Southern Studies, or Literary Studies, with a reading by the prize-winning author. Along with the published authors, The W will welcome five high school students, winners of the Eudora Welty Ephemera Prize for fiction, essay or poetry. The symposium is made possible through the generous support of the Robert M. Hearin Foundation. All events are free and open to the public.