Oxford Conference for the Book celebrates 20 years

Posted on Feb 20 2013 - 3:44pm by Lacey Russell

 The Oxford Conference for the Book, held at The University of Mississippi, will celebrate its 20th year on March 21-23.

In March, writers and book lovers will gather in Oxford for the 20th annual Oxford Conference for the Book held at The University of Mississippi.

Beginning on March 21, the conference will be three days of writers, journalists, poets, publishers, bloggers, teachers, students and literacy advocates gathered to speak about a range of topics relevant to the written word.

Author Ralph Eubanks, director of publishing at the Library of Congress and an Ole Miss
graduate, will open up the conference with his talk “Of Books and Libraries: Why Libraries, Publishing, and Storytelling Still Matter.”

Eubanks’ talk will be held on March 21 at noon in Archives and Special Collections on the third floor of the J. D. Williams Library.

“Oxford is a town of book lovers, but one with several distinct audiences: the academic
community at the university, those interested in literary fiction, a vibrant group interested in writing for children and young adults and several others,” said Becca Walton, associate director of projects at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. “We work to provide sessions that are both generally appealing but also targeted to those groups.”

This year’s event will pick up where past conferences have left off and will continue to speak on literacy issues, but focus on a specific element: English as a learned language.

Some of this year’s speakers include Curtis Wilkie, fellow at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics, Tom Franklin, author of the book chosen for the 2012 Common Reading Experience, Ted Ownby, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and Michael Williams, an assistant professor of history and African American studies at Mississippi State University.

There will also be an event for children. The Young Author’s Fair, on Friday, March 22, is for ninth graders from the public schools of Lafayette County and Oxford. This event is sponsored by the Lafayette County Literacy Council and the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford.

Each child will be given a book they will read along with classmates and teachers during the 2012-13 school year. Square Books Junior will work with local teachers to choose a book that will be relevant to each age group. The authors will both be asked to present programs to each grade and sign books at Square Books Junior.

Those interested in attending any of the ticketed events can register online at oxfordconferenceforthebook.com, and a portion of the $50 ticket will be tax-deductible.

Parking passes are also available through the website.