Cotton has been king in the Mississippi Delta for decades. It is also home to the blues with its unique style, musical flavor and the telling of a way of life. But many may not know very much about the many writers from the region.
As a way to promote and educate the state and the nation about “A Legacy of Literature” in the Mississippi Delta, the 2006 Mississippi Delta Literary Festival will once again enlighten and inform about some of the unique writers and aspects of Delta literature.
The festival started in 2005 as a two-day event to recognize the contribution Mississippi Delta writers have made to the literary scene over the years such as Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, William Alexander Percy, David Cohn, Ellen Douglas, Clifton Taulbert, Bern Keating and Ben Wasson.
This year’s event is set for October 27-28 at the Greenville Higher Education Center in Greenville.
On Friday, the day is dedicated to student activities and a session for area students in Washington County with the participation of several of the festival speakers.
On Saturday, there will be a full day of sessions starting at 9 a.m. and continuing through a dinner theater program starting at 6 p.m.
On board for this year’s festival are representatives from the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi and the Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University.
Also the American Foodways Association, along with Viking Range Corporation, will present the tamale Tour Exhibit complete with a tamale lunch from area tamale vendors.
Other speakers include scholar Colby Kullman, who will discuss Tennessee Williams, Jamsetta Walker with The Clarion-Ledger, film maker Will Fox and his award-winning short film on the Delta, former Greenville writer Gene Dattel, Cleveland writer Beth Jacks and special guest speaker Franke Keating, who will share a life and times presentation on her award-winning writer-photographer husband Bern Keating.
Also, Dr. Janice Dean from Greenville will lead students in writing activities along with Leland writer and columnist Robert Hitt Neil and Leland writer Amy Taylor.
A writer’s book fair will also be held for writers who want to do a book signing or sell books.
Also, a live radio broadcast of the popular Delta Radio Hour will precede Saturday’s dinner. This will be followed by the presentation of an original play set in Rosedale called “Number Please!,” which is about the last two working days of the last group of switchboard operators in the last city in the nation to switch to rotary phones.
Also, the annual Tennessee Williams Festival in Clarksdale will be held October 13-14 at various locations in downtown Clarksdale.
And Greenwood will hold its second Writers Book Fair and fundraising event October 6-7 to raise funds for literacy efforts in Greenwood and Leflore County.
For more information on the Delta festival, go to www.ghec.org and click on the festival icon, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call (662) 402-0193 or write the Mississippi Delta Literary Festival, 410 Wetherbee Street, Greenville, MS 38701.
Contact MBJ contributing writer David Lush at email@example.com.