Take a literary tour of Oxford:
According to Wikipedia*, famous writers from Oxford, MS include: Ace Atkins, Howard, Bahr, Larry Brown, Tim Earley, John T. Edge, John Faulkner, William Faulkner, Beth Ann Fennelly, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Richard Ford, Tom Franklin, David Galef, John Grisham, Barry Hannah, Jonathan Miles, Willie Morris, Chris Offutt, JE Pitts, Cynthia Shearer, Neil White III, and Stark Young. Some were born and raised in Oxford, some are from other places but make Oxford home. I’ve met many great writers, like Julie Cantrell (not from here but lives here), that aren’t on this list but you get the idea.
The Visitor’s Center and Visit Oxford have a literary walking tour planned out for you. Of course it starts at Faulkner’s beloved Rowan Oak and before it ends you’ll have to get into your car to drive out past Grisham’s former house and also visit a restaurant or two which are part of the literary history of Oxford.
Oh, and the book festivals and writers’ conferences. During the spring you can participate in the Conference for the Book. Each summer sign up to attend the Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference. No stress…you do not need to know how to pronounce Yoknapatawpha to attend. I’ve heard a few translations depending on the depth of the southern accent. Yokna is acceptable. Mississippi hosts a book festival each August but it is not in Oxford. However, it is in Jackson which is a short drive south and makes a great weekend getaway or end to your week-long literary pilgrimage to Oxford.
The Square in Oxford, MS hosts 3 versions of Square Books, our independent and award-winning bookstore. There’s the main store on the corner of the Square and South Lamar, Off Square Books is in the southeast corner and hosts the Thacker Mountain Radio Show. on the east side of the Square is Square Books Jr. The University of Mississippi has a Barnes and Noble College bookstore and I’m told they have a children’s reading program.
There are four libraries (actually 5 but that extra one is a bar on the Square), which house extraordinary collection of books: J.D. Williams Library , The Blues Archives and Visual Collection and The Science Library on the Ole Miss campus houses many special collections, and the Lafayette County library located on Bramlett Blvd.
Writers’ groups are everywhere. One I’ve participated in is Oxford Writes, but there are others. You just have to ask.
It goes without saying that Ole Miss has a top-notch English department graduating writers of all interests. The Journalism school and Samir Husni aka Mr. Magazine holds an annual conference, through his Magazine Innovation Center for the magazine industry that his students, and others, can attend. I enjoyed it one year along with my husband and son (an Ole Miss IMC student) since we are in the planning stages of a magazine. Shhhh!! Don’t tell anyone.
Ole Miss also offers, through their Outreach department, a program called Communiversity, featuring workshops of all types which sometimes include writing workshops.
There is so much to do here in Oxford with regards to the literary world. You definitely need to come visit. Then you’ll want to come back so why not purchase a condo while you’re here so you don’t have to scramble for a hotel or AirBNB? Let me know when you get here and I can show you the available real estate.
Eileen Saunders, SRES REALTOR with Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors BOF 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655 662-404-0816/662-234-5344 firstname.lastname@example.org Equal housing
All photos are my own. All rights reserved (c) 2018