This year’s Oxford Conference for the Book represents a milestone year for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Square Books. On March 21–23, poets, novelists, journalists, scholars, and readers will flock to Oxford and the University of Mississippi campus from far and wide to celebrate the Twenty-Fifth Oxford Conference for the Book. The three-day event, which is always free and open to the public, includes readings, panel discussions, and lectures by notable writers, first-time novelists, and celebrated academics.
Events will take place across the UM campus and at various sites across Oxford. This year, the conference will begin with a pre-conference reading and book signing by Mississippi novelist Michael Farris Smith. His newest book, The Fighter, will launch on the evening before the conference begins, and conferees are encouraged to attend this event at Off Square Books on Tuesday, March 20.
Other events at Off Square Books include Jonathan Miles on March 21st for his latest novel Anatomy of a Miracle. Thacker Mountain Radio on March 22nd features Martin Amis reading his newest book The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchen, Travolta, Trump: Essays and Reportage, 1994-2017.
In addition to novelists and library historians, this year’s participants include political historians, US historians, sociologists and anthropologists, literary critics and cultural studies scholars, poets, essayists and memoirists, literature scholars, editors and publishers, and a wildlife biologist. Conference panels, sessions, and readings will explore a wide range of topics, such as political history, the Latino experience in the South, the Bohemian South, the fight in Tennessee to ratify the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote, radical foodways, and Affrilachian poets and their legacy, among others. Each afternoon we will host book signings for that day’s authors at Off Square Books.
On Wednesday evening is the Book Conference Authors Party, held at the historic Barksdale-Isom House and cohosted this year by the Friends of the J. D. Williams Library. This much-loved opening dinner reception is a lively fundraiser with wonderful food, drinks, music, and conversation between fellow conference attendees and guest writers. A portion of the $50 ticket proceeds is tax deductible. All reservations can be made online on the conference website or by calling 662-915-3374.
The 2018 Children’s Book Festival, held in conjunction with the Oxford Conference for the Book, will be held again at the Ford Center for Performing Arts on Thursday, March 22, with more than 1,200 first and fifth graders from the schools of Lafayette County and Oxford in attendance. Matt De La Peña will talk to the first graders about his book Last Stop on Market Street at 9:00 a.m., and he will talk to the fifth graders about his book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis at 10:30. The Lafayette County Literacy Council sponsors the first-grade program and the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford sponsors the fifth-grade program. All 1,200 children will receive their own copy of each book. He will be at Square Books, Jr. at 3pm that afternoon for a signing.
To learn more about the guest authors, please visit the conference’s website and the conference’s Facebook page. You can register for special events on the conference website or by contacting conference director James G. Thomas, Jr. at 662-915-3374 or by e-mail at jgthomas [at] olemiss [dot] edu.