Friday, July 26

Friday Reads: Mississippi Authors!

Hi, y'all! In honor of Brandon Library's massive Mississippi History display, we're sharing a list of some truly spectacular Mississippi authors! Be sure to check them out (ha!) from your local CMRLS branch and let us know your favorites!

Angela Thomas
Angie Thomas was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. A former teen rapper, she holds a BFA in creative writing from Belhaven University. Her award-winning, acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and major motion picture. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is on sale now.

Laurie Parker
Born in Bruce, Mississippi, Parker moved to Starkville before turning one and has lived there since. She wrote and illustrated her first book, Everywhere in Mississippi, which was released in 1996. In 2013 she switched from poetry to prose and released her first “big person book,” The Matchstick Cross. In 2014, Parker’s work was recognized by the Mississippi State Committee of the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

Mary Abraham
Mary Abraham grew up in Greene County, Mississippi. She is a graduate of Leakesville High School and the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing. Her years in nursing were spent at UMMC in Jackson and Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg. She is married, has two children, and three grandchildren, and lives in Hattiesburg. Where the Creek Runs is her first novel. 

Jesmyn Ward
Jesmyn Ward's works have received of two National Book Awards for Fiction for Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones. She is also the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and lives in Mississippi. 

Ashton Lee
Ashton Lee was born in historic Natchez, Mississippi, into a large, extended Southern family which gave him much fodder for his fiction later in life. Ashton inherited a love of reading and writing early on and did all the things aspiring authors are supposed to do, including majoring in English when he attended The University of the South, also known as Sewanee. Ashton lives in Oxford, Mississippi.  He is author of the popular Cherry Cola Book Club series.

Darden North
Darden North's mystery and thriller novels have been awarded nationally, most notably an IPPY in Southern Fiction for Points of Origin. His fifth novel, The 5 Manners of Death, was nominated for the 2018 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Fiction. Darden has presented or served on author panels at writing conferences including the 29th Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration. 

John Grisham
Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, John Grisham graduated from law school at Ole Miss in 1981 and went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven. One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard a harrowing testimony and was inspired to start a novel, A Time to Kill, and finished it in 1987. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, Grisham’s second novel, The Firm, became the bestselling novel of 1991. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide.

Greg Iles
Greg Iles was born in Germany in 1960, spent his youth in Natchez, and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983. While attending Ole Miss, Greg lived in the cabin where William Faulkner and his brothers listened to countless stories told by “Mammy Callie,” their beloved nanny, who had been born a slave. Iles wrote his first novel in 1993, a thriller about Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess, which became the first of twelve New York Times bestsellers. His novels have been made into films, translated into more than twenty languages, and published in more than thirty-five countries worldwide. 

Donna Tartt
Donna Tartt was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, and was raised in nearby Grenada. She enrolled in the University of Mississippi in 1981, where her writing caught the attention of Willie Morris. Following a recommendation from Morris, Barry Hannah, then an Ole Miss writer-in-residence, admitted the eighteen-year-old Tartt into his graduate course on the short story. She transferred to Bennington College where she graduated in 1986. Her novel The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2014. That same year she was included in Time magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.”

Jackie Warren Tatum
Jackie Warren Tatum’s Unspeakable Things is a tale of loss and devastating truth woven into a crime thriller. Since the book's release, the author has spoken to and/or participated in author events in three states. She has been a classroom teacher and a corporate trainer, conducted a rural law practice, and served as a Mississippi special assistant attorney general. Jackie is the mother of two sons and the grandmother of eight grandchildren and one grandson-in law. She is writing her second novel and chasing her rescue dog Dallas out of the front yard vegetable garden.

Willie Morris
Morris was born in 1934 in Jackson, Mississippi and moved to Yazoo City when he was six years old. After a short time in graduate school at Stanford, he moved to New York City where he landed a job as editor of Harper’s Magazine. Morris’s writings deal with his personal experiences in the the South. He is known for Good Old Boy, My Dog Skip, and more. Morris died in September of 1999 of a heart attack. 

Barry Hannah
Barry Hannah, author of numerous Southern novels and short stories, was born in Meridian and grew up in Clinton. Geronimo Rex, Hannah’s first novel, earned him the William Faulkner Prize for writing and a nomination for the National Book Award. Hannah has twice been nominated for the National Book Award and honored by the American Academy for Arts. In 1987, Hannah also received the Mississippi Governor’s Award and the Letters Award. He was director of the MFA program at the University of Mississippi, where he taught creative writing for 28 years. He died on March 1, 2010, of a heart attack.

Natasha Trethewey
Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi. Encouraged to read as a child, Trethewey has earned an MA in English and creative writing and an MFA in poetry. A former US poet laureate, Trethewey is the author of five collections of poetry as well as a book of creative non-fiction: Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2010). Trethewey’s first collection, Domestic Work, won the Cave Canem Prize for a first book by an African American poet, the 2001 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prize, and the 2001 Lillian Smith Award for Poetry.

Ace Atkins
New York Times Bestselling author Ace Atkins has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times. He has written nine books in the Colson series and continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character after Parker’s death in 2010, adding seven best-selling novels in that series. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including Time, Outside and Garden & Gun. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

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