Richard Ford joins the Ole Miss Creative Writing Faculty as Senior Fiction Writer

Mississippian and long-time friend of Square Books, Richard Ford, has joined the University of Mississippi's creative writing faculty as a senior fiction writer. Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his novel, Independence Day. He's been to Square Books on several different occasions to sign books and read to his many fans. You can read more on the story here.

Welcome to Oxford, Kristina and Richard! 

Our 2010 Bestsellers

The Square Books Top 100 sellers of 2010 are like many other years in that a preponderance of titles or their author are connected to Oxford, or elsewhere in Mississippi.  A nice reprint of William Faulkner’s New Orleans Sketches (75) made the list, as did the pictorial book with captions from Faulkner’s work along with photographs that suggest same, Yoknapatawpha Images (77).  Several local history titles, including Oxford In the Civil War (23), Jack Mayfield’s pictorial history of Oxford and Ole Miss (15), Bill Morris’s photo book, Ole Miss at Oxford (17), Gerald Walton’s history of Ole Miss (in its third year, 99), and Anne Percy’s Early History of Oxford (94).  

Other writers or books we tend to claim as “ourn” include Ace Atkins with Infamous (41), Willie Morris and My Two Oxfords (54), Wyatt Waters’ Oxford Sketchbook (34), and Quinten Whitwell’s If By Whiskey (69).  This past year’s Grisham writer-in-residence, John Brandon, got a front page New York Times book review for his splendid second novel, which we could not quit recommending, Citrus County (13), and our number five bestseller of the year is by a writer who came here years ago as a visiting writer - and never left – Tom Franklin’s great read, Crooked Letter,  Crooked Letter (5).

Four Great Memoirs

2011 is a year that will begin "memoirably," at least here at Square Books.   In the New Year's first quarter we will see at Square Books four excellent memoirs -- and, on various book-signing dates, the people who have written them.  In lieu of the sort of discussion here that mere mention of the memoir genre always invites, I recommend for those who wish to ruminate on this subject the excellent January 25, 2010, New Yorker article, "But Enough About Me," by Daniel Mendelsohn,  who recognizes that "memoir, for much of its modern history, has been the black sheep of the literary family," and that "confessional memoirs have been irresistible to both writers and readers for a very long time, and, pretty much from the beginning, people have been complaining about the shallowness, the opportunism, the lying, the betrayals, the narcissim."  For now, just leave it that memoirs may be -- as is the case in the hard-earned, shocking, and illuminating truths of these four books -- legitimate and very welcome literary accomplishments.  Here they are, in order of publication date:

Trailer for Barry Hannah's Long, Last, Happy

We're really excited about all the buzz for Barry Hannah's new collection of stories, Long, Last, Happy. Grove Press has put together a great trailer for the book featuring some of our favorite writers and friends of Square Books. Watch it below. You can also read some great reviews of the collection at The New York Observer, The Wallstreet Journal, and the new issue of Bookforum.


Grove Press: Barry Hannah's Long, Last, Happy from Lost Pilot on Vimeo.

Long, Last, Happy: New and Collected Stories Arrives

     Over the last several years of the life of Barry Hannah, indisputably one of the great writers of our time, the author tried to work on a novel as he also struggled with illness.  At one point he realized that this work was molding to the form by which his career was largely characterized, the short story.  By his death on March 1 of this year, he had completed four stories, which, combined with a choice sampling from his previous story collections, make up Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories.  Another largely unknown piece is a story Hannah wrote when he was around twenty years old, Trek, that, until now, has not appeared in book form.  Published by Grove Atlantic, this volume becomes the essential Hannah story collection, with nine stories from Airships and the best from Captain Maximus, Bats Out of Hell, and High Lonesome, carefully selected by his editor at Grove, Amy Hundley.  The book is dedicated to Barry and his late wife, Susan, and, by the care and quality of its issuance and its design, may be said to be a loving gift, from Morgan Entrekin and all the staff at Grove Atlantic in honor of the writer they so admired, to us, his devoted readers.  Design motifs refer to Airships, with flying jets, a frequent Hannah thematic element, adorning the cream-colored cover with text in red and blue print and an iconic black-and-white photograph of the author. The navy endpapers are beautifully designed, and a couple of ink cartoons by the author appear as end matter lagniappe.  With a back cover that carries eleven unassailable blurbs from Amy Hempel, Wells Tower, William Styron, Larry McMurtry, Cynthia Ozick, John Grisham, Sam Lipsyte, Philip Roth, Richard Ford, Charles Frazier, and Thomas McGuane, we happily believe that Long, Last, Happy is a book that will last a very long time. RH

Click here to purchase a copy of Long, Last, Happy: New and Selected Stories


Introducing the Square Books Broadside Series

This fall Square Books is offering its Signed Firsts subscribers a chance to build on their personal libraries with broadsides based upon books selected for the Signed Firsts series. Each broadside will be signed and numbered by the author and likely will feature design elements that refer to the book from which it is excerpted. The broadsides will be printed letterpress in 150 copy editions. These broadsides can be framed or kept in the book for easy storing and collecting. Those subscribers that receive 18 books a year from Square Books will be given 2 free broadsides a year with the opportunity to purchase others at a 25% discount on the retail price. The subscribers that receive 12 books a year will have the opportunity to purchase any of the broadsides at a 20% discount on the retail price.

The first broadside is from John Brandon’s latest novel, Citrus County.  This broadside was printed letterpress by critique/strategy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in an edition of 150, which were signed by John Brandon. Click read more to view a brief film of the making of the Citrus County broadside.

Square Books Podcast: Tom Franklin & Laura Lippman read to a packed house

Tom Franklin and Laura Lippman were in good company on Wednesday as they read from their newly released novels. The packed crowd at Off Square Books stood in line to get their books signed before the two authors took turns reading.  Some of Oxford’s finest were in attendance to celebrate hometown writer, teacher, colleague, and friend, Tom Franklin, and to meet his friend and fellow writer, Laura Lippman, here with her new novel, I’d Know You Anywhere.  

The overflow crowd served as a testament to the sustaining energy and quality of the Oxford literary scene.   Those in attendance were some of Oxford’s finest, including fellow-writers Curtis Wilkie, Jack Pendarvis, Ann Fisher Wirth, Ace Atkins, Lee Durkee, Neil White, John T. Edge, John Brandon, Jesmyn Ward, and Tom’s wife, the poet, Beth Ann Fennelly. Also in the crowd was Laura’s husband, David Simon, creator of The Wire and Treme on HBO, with their new baby—in a turquoise tutu. The Ole Miss English Department was represented by several faculty members and Chairman Ivo Kamps, and lots of students, MFAers and otherwise.  Also present was the University’s number one reader, Chancellor Dan Jones.   

The crowd was not simply big.  It had a very friendly, pleasant buzz about it, as if all recognized the happy anticipation of reading a very good book and the achievment of writing it--by a guy we like.

To see photos and listen to the readings from the event please click read more

CARRY THE ROCK-Little Rock's Central High graduates reunite at Jay Jennings event

Last night a group of us gathered to hear Jay Jennings talk about his just-published book, Carry the Rock: Race, Football, and the Soul of an American City.  He was met by a couple of friends from graduate school, a number of Central High School graduates, and the rest of us, curious about this book that creates a brilliant narrative out of layers of dramatic events: the landmark desegregation of Central High School in 1957, the nearly-forgotten 1927 story of Little Rock's John Carter, who was lynched near the site of Central High as it was under construction; and the thrills and agonies that play out through the seasons of the school's football team under legendary coach Bernie Cox.