Anyone who has read a work by William Faulkner will be familiar with his descriptive narratives about his beloved Yoknapatawpha County. From “The Sound and The Fury” to “Intruder in the Dust”, his words have given people a glimpse into his world as one would an imperfect family member, loved but not perfect.
Every year in July people from all over the world pour into the little town of Oxford, Mississippi, for the Annual Faulkner Conference, and this year will be no different. On July 19-23, 2009, the 36th Annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference will begin five days of lectures and discussions by literary scholars and critics. Held on the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) campus, this year’s theme for the Conference is Faulkner and Mystery.
This Year’s Speakers:
Three writers of crime fiction will be on hand this year for a special panel discussion:
Ace Atkins, author of nine novels including “Devil’s Garden” and “Wicked City”;
Jere Hoar, author of “Body Parts” and “The Hit”; and
Daniel Woodrell, author of eight novels including “Give Us a Kiss” and “Winter’s Bone”.
In addition to the above-named speakers, there will be a host of additional literary speakers hosting informative sessions. For a complete list of those speaking, visit the website below.
In addition to the lectures and seminars, there will a host of activities for participants, including parties and guided tours of Oxford and the surrounding area. Included will be Memphis, Tennessee, and the Civil Rights Museum, along with other small towns in North Mississippi: Ripley, New Albany and Holly Springs.
For those wishing to attend, registration can be done online, or the registration form can be downloaded and mailed. Registration price for the Conference before July 1, 2009 is $150 for students and $275 for other participants, and after July 1, 2009 is $175 for students and $300 for all others. This includes all scheduled events at the Conference, but does not include lodging, meals (except for scheduled events) or additional tours booked by participant. A deposit of $25 should be submitted with registration form
For more information on sights of interest, visit the Oxford Tourism Website listed below. This is also a great location to find information about lodging and fine dining, another thing for which Oxford is well-known. There are a number of hotels and motels, but reservations should probably be made as soon as possible.
Additional Things To See and Do:
Oxford is a small town filled with cultural and historical significance. The University of Mississippi is a beautiful campus with excellent facilities while still maintaining grounds filled with green magnificence. The new Ford Center for the Arts is host to a wide diverse array of talented musicians, stage productions and speakers. The J. D. Williams Library on campus is a modern facility with an extensive exhibit of Faulkner memorabilia as well as other well-known Mississippians.
The University Museum (once the Mary Buie Museum) contains a wealth of historical displays of technology as well as some of the original artwork of Theora Hamlett, a well-know Oxford artist. On this occasion, there will be a special exhibition of works by Boyd Saunders.
Square Books on the Oxford Square is a renowned bookstore which hosts a multitude of writers on a regular basis for readings and book signings. Oxford, Mississippi was not only the home to William Faulkner, but John Grisham still maintains a home there sitting on the west side of the town. Other authors who have called Oxford home have been Barry Hannah, Larry Brown, and many more.
St. Peters Cemetery, the resting place of William Faulkner, is an old and peaceful area in the center of Oxford. Other noteworthy Mississippi figures are buried in the cemetery, including L.Q.C. Lamar, whose house has just been refurbished and opened to the public for touring.
The stately white Oxford Courthouse, which was burned during the Civil War, was rebuilt and is still standing today. Recently, the City of Oxford gave the Courthouse, which is still used today, a complete makeover while still maintaining its integrity.
The Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference is an opportunity for William Faulkner fans to meet other fans from around the world where Faulkner is still one of the most respected novelists of the 20th Century. Here they can walk where he walked through Bailey Woods and even visit his peaceful residence at Rowan Oak. Once there, it is easy to see why William Faulkner loved the place.