Welty Symposium to focus on gothic South

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

The 24th annual Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium will get a little dark.
The theme this year is “River the Color of Blood: Crime and Passion in a Gothic South,” and will welcome novelists and poets to talk about those ideas within their works. The free symposium is at the Mississippi University for Women, and the writers include MUW alum and Mississippi natives.
Welty’s gothic themes in her work inspired the theme for this year’s symposium.
“In ‘The Robber Bridegroom,’ Welty takes a fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm and transports it to the Natchez Trace to weave a tale of love, envy, abduction, murder, singing crows, and talking heads. This year’s theme draws on gothic elements like these to bring together a dozen writers whose work ranges from mystery and thriller to dark satire and serious explorations of Civil Rights era killings, from passionate love to a passion for gardening,” said Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg, who directs the symposium.
Author Sonny Brewer opens the symposium tonight at 7:30 p.m. with a keynote address, and a reception and book signing with all of the authors will follow.
Affrilachian poet Frank X. Walker, author Josh Russell, poet Kelly Norman Ellis and novelist Jessica Maria Tuccelli kick off the symposium Friday morning at 9 a.m., followed by a panel featuring Southern mystery writer Carolyn Haines, MUW alumnus Christopher Lowe and poet Catherine Pierce that afternoon.
At 4 p.m. Friday, an exhibit titled “Intersections of Gender and Place” opens, featuring the works of Meg Aubrey, Lesley Patterson-Marx, Whitney Stansell and Kate Kretz.
Friday night is the Welty Gala featuring journalist Byron Pitts.
Writers Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown continue the event Saturday at 9 a.m. Poet Anthony Abbott, novelist Michael Kardos and Mississippi novelist Olympia Vernon will join them.
The event is a writers’ symposium, but you don’t have to have put pen to paper to enjoy it.
“Everyone is welcome, especially avid readers. The symposium is a great place to learn about new writers and styles you might want to follow,” he said. “And if you are a writer or would like to be one, it’s a great time to get inspired.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

Check it out
What: Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium
When: Today-Saturday
Where: Rent Auditorium of Whitfield Hall, Mississippi University for Women
Cost: Free
Info and schedule: muw.edu/welty/, (662) 329-7386