On Tuesday, Aug. 7, the Mississippi Arts Commission announced that it will unveil the first Mississippi Writers Trail Markers at the Mississippi Book Festival. Here is a verbatim press release:
JACKSON, MISS. (Aug. 7, 2018)—The Mississippi Writers Trail will officially launch with the unveiling of two historical marker prototypes, honoring Eudora Welty and Jesmyn Ward, as part of the Mississippi Book Festival on Aug. 18, 2018, at 9 a.m. C-SPAN will broadcast the unveilings in the State Capitol Building before a live national audience. Similar to the Mississippi Blues Trail, Mississippi Country Music Trail and Mississippi Freedom Trail, the Mississippi Writers Trail will pay tribute to the state’s most acclaimed and influential writers and serve as a catalyst to promote tourism, economic development and civic pride.
The Mississippi Writers Trail is an initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission, in partnership with the Community Foundation for Mississippi, Mississippi Book Festival, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Development Authority, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Library Commission.
“Our state has a rich and evolving literary legacy, which has long been recognized on a national scale,” said Malcolm White, executive director of the Mississippi Arts Commission. “The Mississippi Writers Trail shines a spotlight on the state’s many contributors to the canon of American literature in a lasting and interactive way. The time is right to honor these authors, and we are thrilled to launch this exciting initiative as part of the ever-expanding Mississippi Book Festival.”
The first permanent marker, made of cast aluminum resembling an open book, will honor author Eudora Welty and will be placed at the Eudora Welty House and Garden in Jackson, Miss., on Sept. 10, 2018. Mississippi Writers Trail markers will span the entirety of the state. Subsequent markers will be placed in the coming years as funding allows.
The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded its first Statehood Grant of $30,000 to the Mississippi Humanities Council to support the creation of a Mississippi Writers Trail. NEH’s Statehood Grants help fund state history and heritage projects that commemorate 150th and 200th anniversaries of statehood.
“As a Mississippi-native and literature scholar, NEH Chairman Jon Parish Peede was excited to support this project with a special chairman’s grant. He has a special appreciation for the tremendous artistic and creative achievements of Mississippi writers, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to honor them through this trail,” said Dr. Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council.
Writers honored with a trail marker and the order in which they will be placed will be determined based on scholar recommendations. Suggestions for lesser-known potential writers to include on the trail should be sent to [email protected] for consideration.
Contact: Melody Moody Thortis, Arts-Based Community Development Director, [email protected], 601.359.6035