William Faulkner’s hometown marks the 50th anniversary of his death with events starting at 6:30 a.m.
by Alex DeJoy
William Faulkner is a man who belongs to the South and more specifically to Oxford, Mississippi, where he made his home at Rowan Oak. He used Lafayette County and the local square as the backdrop and inspiration for his fictional Yoknapatawpha County.
This Friday, July 6, Lafayette County will come together to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his death with a “William Faulkner Remembrance.” This is a rare occasion, as events honoring Faulkner don’t happen every year, other than the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference scheduled for July 7-11.
Remembrance events will begin at 6:30 a.m. at Rowan Oak with a marathon reading of Faulkner’s final novel, “The Reivers.” Over 100 people have signed up to take part in the reading, and each person will read a section for five minutes at a time until the novel is finished. Jay Watson, honorary chair of Faulkner Studies and organizer of the program, says the marathon reading should take around six hours. The public is welcome to listen, and tents will be set up on the grounds.
Once the reading has ended, Faulkner fans will make their way to Oxford Square and the courthouse for two keynote speakers in the afternoon. Philip Weinstein, the author of “Becoming Faulkner, The Art and Life of William Faulkner” and Randall Kenan, a former John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss, will each speak for about 30 minutes, with a question and answer session to follow.
The day will end with a screening of the film adaptation of “The Reivers” at The Lyric Theatre on the square at 8 p.m.. All events are free and open to the public. Watson says he hopes the event will bring together the literary community at Ole Miss and in Lafayette County.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Literary Friday, when we remember Faulkner with the Top 10 references to him in pop culture!