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Southern Literary Festival returns to MUW campus


Special to The Dispatch



About 200 participants are expected to attend the Southern Literary Festival hosted at Mississippi University for Women April 22-24. 


The festival, founded at Blue Mountain College, was established in 1937 to promote Southern literature. It has been held at MUW several times in the past. 


"We are excited to bring students and faculty from around the South to our historic campus," said Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, professor of English at MUW and current Southern Literary Festival association president. "We hope to offer a very student-centered festival, with ample opportunities for students to socialize and to workshop their stories, poems, essays and plays." 




Public invited 


The public is invited to attend readings by Southern authors, sponsored by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities through the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Mississippi Arts Commission and the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau. 


n Thursday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Carrier Chapel, poet Jeanie Thompson will read. She is founding director of the Alabama Writers Forum and has published four collections of poetry: "The Seasons Bear Us," "How To Enter the River," "Witness" and "White for Harvest: New and Selected Poems." She has received individual artist fellowships from the Louisiana Council on the Arts and the Alabama State Council on the Arts and is a faculty member of the Spalding University Brief Residency MFA writing program in Louisville, Ky. Thompson''s reading will be followed by a reception and book signing, featuring a student open mike session in Cochran Ballroom. 


n Friday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Carrier Chapel, novelist Dedra Johnson and nonfiction writer Alan Huffman will read, followed by a reception and book signing. 


Johnson recently published her debut novel, "Sandrine''s Letter to Tomorrow," a finalist for the 2006 William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award. She is a native and current resident of New Orleans, and her stories have appeared in Product and Bridge. 


Huffman is an author and journalist from Bolton. He is the author of the nonfiction books "Sultana and Mississippi in Africa" and the photo-essay book "Ten Point: Deer Camp in the Mississippi Delta." He has contributed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Oxford American, The Washington Post magazine and numerous other publications. 




Students'' work 


The festival has been preceded by a literary contest for students from member schools. Categories in the contest are short fiction, poetry, informal and formal essays and one act plays.  


During the day on Friday and Saturday, there will be readings by the student prize winners in each category and by the workshop leaders: Richard Lyons, Catherine Pierce, Becky Hagenston, Michael Kardos, Dottie Blais, Jennifer Strange, Michael Smith, Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel and Dr. Dunkelberg. The public also is invited to attend these readings.  


Sessions will be April 23, from 9:30-12:30 and 2 -5 p.m., and April 24 from 9:30-12:30 in Cochran Hall Ballroom. 


Students and faculty are eligible to attend from 20 member schools, including: Auburn University at Montgomery, Belhaven College, Blue Mountain College, Delta State University, Hinds Community College, Lipscomb University, Millsaps College, Mississippi College, Mississippi State University, MUW, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of Mississippi and the University of North Alabama. 


For more information, visit the Southern Literary Festival Web site at, or contact Dunkelberg at [email protected] 






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