Conference to focus on Foote

Daily Journal reports

OXFORD – Book lovers and publishing professionals will make their pilgrimage this week to an American literary mecca for the 13th Oxford Conference for the Book.

The literary gathering will draw readers and writers from across the country to the University of Mississippi's J.D. Williams Library and the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts for three days' exploration of the printed word Thursday through Saturday.

Academic activities include readings, panel discussions and exhibitions. Less scholarly – but no less literary – pursuits will include a tour of Delta literary sites, a special performance of the “Thacker Mountain Radio” variety show and a fiction and poetry jam.

The 2006 conference is dedicated to novelist and historian Shelby Foote, a native of Greenville and a longtime Memphis resident who died last year. A respected but not widely known author, Foote gained national prominence as commentator in Ken Burns' PBS documentary on the Civil War, first shown in 1990.

Novelist, journalist and playwright Larry L. King will unveil his memoir of Willie Morris. Also joining King to talk about “Writing Literary Lives” will be Suzanne Marrs, author of a new biography of Eudora Welty.

Two authors popular with youths and teens will meet with area fifth- and ninth-grade students. Other sessions will address writing on art, writing on politics, finding a voice and an audience, and a look at readers as an endangered species.

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