Upon the release of a new album, lead singer for the Knoxville, Tennessee, band expresses the importance of place in making authentic Southern roots music.
The 21st annual Oxford Conference for the Book was this past week, spanning March 26-28. Each year, journalists, fiction and nonfiction writers, poets, artists, students and others associated with literature and publishing come together to discuss just that: literature, specifically Southern literature, its roles in today’s society, and “writing the Southern landscape.” This year, the conference was held in conjunction with the Southern Literary Festival (SLF), which is held at a different Southern school each year. I happen to live in Oxford, so attending various panels was a breeze. (All sessions are also free and open to the public.) Though the conference is known for hosting some major literary powerhouses each year, I was especially excited about the author lineup. Megan Abbott (who is finishing up her post as the 2013 John Grisham writer-in-residence at Ole Miss) was speaking at various points throughout the conference; Ace Atkins was speaking on Robert Johnson; Laura Lippman was discussing Harriet the Spy, feminism and crime fiction; Jonathan Odell was discussing his latest novel, The Healing. To say the least, it was an exciting group of writers. On Wednesday, I attended “Fiction, Memory, and Southern History,” which was moderated by Ted Ownby, who is the director of