New Albany, MS- Friday September 28, the first day of New Albany’s annual Tallahatchie Riverfest, held two special William Faulkner events that honor the famous author. The annual Faulkner Literary Fest has been underway for the past several weeks. The end of the festival is timed to commemorate Faulkner’s birthday (September 25th) and often coordinates with Tallahatchie Riverfest acitvities.
William Faulkner Literary Competition Luncheon
At noon, about 180 people gathered at the First United Methodist Church for this year’s Faulkner Competition Literary Luncheon. The luncheon honors the 2018 winners of the William Faulker Literary Competition. This year, the international competition received entries from across the United States and from other countries, as well.
After a delicious lunch provided by Tallahatchie Gourmet, awards were presented. Winners on hand for Friday’s award ceremony traveled from a variety of states, some here in the South and others as distant as California and Minnesota. Awards were presented in the categories of poetry, one-act play, student short story, adult short story and novel. The competition awarded a total over $6000 in prizes to the top winners in each category. A full list of winners will soon be available on the Faulkner Competition website: https://williamfaulknerliterarycompetition.com/competition-details/.
After the awards ceremony, the audience was treated to a delightfully humorous and insightful presentation by Richard Grant, author of the Best Seller, Dispatches from Pluto. Grant, British by birth and Mississippian by choice, refers to himself as free-lance travel writer. He is the author of three other books, Crazy River, God’s Middle Finger and American Nomads. Additionally, his work appears in several other publications, such as the New York Times and the Smithsonian Magazine.
Dispatches from Pluto details Grant’s decision to move from Manhattan to Pluto, a plantation in the Mississippi Delta. The book is a thoughtful picture of the mystery that is Mississippi, as seen through the eyes of someone who was drawn to the state over a period of several years. If you have not read it, you have missed one of the best non-fiction pieces ever written about our state.
Grant’s current project is about Natchez, and we look forward to reading it. Should he tire of writing, we believe he may have a career in stand-up comedy available to him. His eye for incongruity, his ear for dialect, and his ability to engage an audience are all excellent.
Faulkner, Folk Art and More Exhibit
Friday evening saw the opening of the popular Faulkner, Folk Art and More Exhibit, a juried art competition at the Union County Heritage Museum. Each year artists enter work, in a variety of media, that interprets Faulkner the man or Faulkner’s writing.
This year, the challenge works were Soldiers’ Pay, by William Faulkner and a Community Read selection, Perennials, by Julie Cantrell. Cantrell will lead a writing workshop at the museum in October.
First Place Oil, Soldier’s Tale, by Robbie Boyd of Pontotoc.
Prizes were awarded in several categories, and guests were treated to refreshments, as well as excellent live music provided by Small Town Music School.