We are immensely pleased to celebrate the publication of this excellent book when we host Rose Styron in conversation with Blakeslee Gilpin at Off Square Books at 5 pm on February 11th.
An unsurprising but happy discovery among the many riches to be found in William Styron’s letters is his correspondence with Willie Morris, his fellow Southern expatriate and dear friend for decades. Styron also had a connection to Oxford, where for Life magazine he covered Faulkner’s funeral, eloquently; later came to visit Willie here and speak on campus -- making an inspiring impression on a young law student named John Grisham; had a book signing at Square Books with Sophie’s Choice, the first time anyone stood in line to buy a book in Oxford, Mississippi; and appeared at the first Oxford Conference for the Book, when, with George Plimpton, he stood behind the counter at the bookstore in a champagne toast to the Paris Review’s 40th birthday before setting out for Plimpton’s fireworks show in, no lie, Paris, Mississippi. The letters begin with those as a college student and novice fiction writer to his father and cover his years in Europe, where he met and married Rose Burgunder; the lives of his books -- the controversial Pulitzer winner, Confessions of Nat Turner and best selling Darkness Visible; his many later friendships -- the Kennedys, Mailer, Miller, Warren, Woodward, and Roth, among others; and, all the while, the art and toil of the writing that formed one of the most important literary figures of our time. RH
(Oxonians in line for Sophie’s Choice, in 1980 at the original Square Books location upstairs over what is now Square Books, Jr.)