Get some of the most exciting literary gatherings in the South on your calendar.
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
Celebrate the playwright's birthday March 19-23 in the city he called his "spiritual home." Dorothy Allison, Laura Lippman, Megan Abbott, Diane Ladd, Bryan Batt, Justin Torres and Ann Hood are just some of the guests attending this year's literary festival celebrating Tennessee Williams' birthday in New Orleans. As usual, theater performances abound, with "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" on this year's schedule, and the popular Stanley and Stella Shouting Contest concludes the weekend in an ode to "Streetcar Named Desire." We'll be heading to the Big Easy to catch all drama starting on March 19 and perused the full schedule recently in anticipation. Join us if you can and check out the events we're most looking forward to below! For aspiring writers, master classes on March 19 and 20 are an affordable opportunity to gain valuable writing advice from the likes of Zachary Lazar, who will offer a brief history of dialogue starting with Hemingway, Laura Lippman and Dorothy Allison. Classes are just $25 each and held at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Dorothy Allison appears several times again throughout the festival, so there's no excuse not to see this giant in Southern fiction. Her panel on Sunday titled "Literary Laughs: Entertaining