/Why write about Mississippi Why read about it Find out at book fest

Why write about Mississippi Why read about it Find out at book fest

This is the weekly ‘Sip of Culture. It’s a partnership between Mississippi Today Magazine and The Sip Magazine. Visit The Sip’s website to see more stories and to subscribe to the magazine. It’s not uncommon for thousands to gather at a state capitol these day to protest government actions or inactions on a pressing issue. It is easy to see why state leaders were so happy when the Mississippi Book Festival attracted more than 3500 people last August to celebrate the state’s literary heritage. “Gov. Bryant looked at me and said, “Well Holly, we’re going have to build you bigger buildings,”” laughed Holly Lange (executive director of the Mississippi Book Festival. “He’d never seen so many people in the State Capitol before, and that was a selling point for us to the leadership.” The Mississippi Book Festival returns to State Capitol Complex this Saturday with a new lineup of writers and authors. It also hopes to surpass last year’s attendance and exceed 5,000. The festival will be held at the Mississippi State Capitol and its lawn as well as at the Galloway United Methodist Church, and The Foundry at Galloway. The 32 panel discussions will feature 150 authors and cover many topics including Southern culture, civil rights, and memoirs. Jon Meacham, American Lion author and former U.S. Senator Trent Lott, author of the American Lion, and Jesmyn Ward (DeLisle native) will be discussing presidential politics. A panel discussion on race will also take place. The marquee headliner list includes Roy Blount Jr., Harrison Scott Key, and Julia Reed, who are all humorists. Richard Grant, a Mississippi transplant, and Richard Ford, who is a Pulitzer Prize-winner, will also be there. The festival’s theme is how writers communicate the Mississippi experience to readers, and the mythology that readers and writers create around it. Lange said that the closing session will focus on this Mississippi experience, including why people write about it, what people love about it, and how to make it more accessible. Lange explained that “these writers who can describe what it’s like for a Mississippian to grow up or live in Mississippi give the world a glimpse into what we really are like.” I think that many people have preconceived ideas about Mississippians and Mississippi life. Any time an author writes about their Mississippi experience, whether it’s humorous or serious, it’s another chance to show the world, “This is how we really are.” Rheta Grimsley, a syndicated columnist, is one of those panelists. Her Tishomingo County dateline reads, “Fish Trap Hollow Miss.,” Johnson, a Mississippian but not native, was raised in the South. She has reported for King Features Syndicate, Scripps Howard News Service, and The Commercial Appeal. Johnson said that Hollywood has made outsiders think of Mississippi as one long, oak-lined drive leading up to the big house with big daddy on the porch. Johnson stated that Mississippi is her home more than any other country she has lived. The Atlanta Journal Constitution column that announced her arrival incorrectly reported that Johnson was a Georgian who grew up in Mississippi. She had chosen to keep her home in Fish Trap Hollow as she knew she would return to her home state. Johnson said, “There is still space.” Johnson said, “I know all my neighbors and I know their dogs. This place has something special. Johnson has never been without subjects in Mississippi, which is perhaps the greatest professional advantage for a writer. She said that she finds the people of Mississippi to be the most relaxed people, other than the Cajuns. “I’ve gotten lots of material just moving about and existing in this neck the woods,” she said. The festival is not only a literary event but also a boon to the Capitol. Guides gave over 75 tours last year. Tours will start at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday. Lange stated, “It’s an enormous opportunity for people to learn about architecture and the history of the Capitol.” “That’s just one more way we can show off our state.” In Authors Alley, attendees will find more than 70 independent authors and artists. The Smithsonian Learning Lab is another attraction. It features a Library of Congress exhibit, and the Mississippi Library Commission’s 3D printer experience. Parents and children can join Curious George’s 75th birthday celebration at the Kids Corner tent on West Street. There, they can play games, listen to stories, and get a treat. The Mississippi Book Festival is open to all and free of charge. A portion will be televised on C-SPAN2 at 10:30 a.m. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think. Republish this Story