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Conversations with Friends and Family Panel Set for March 31

At 9:00 a.m. Friday, March 31 Charles Reagan Wilson, director emeritus of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, welcomes Wayne Flynt and David Rae Morris in conversation with Stephen Monroe for the “Conversations with Friends and Family” panel at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, located at 113 S 9th St., just off the Oxford Square. This panel is cosponsored by the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing.

Pulitzer Prize–nominated author Wayne Flynt is professor emeritus in the History Department at Auburn University. He is the author of fourteen books, and his numerous awards include the Rembert Patrick Award for Florida History, the Lillian Smith Prize for Nonfiction from the Southerngional Council, the Alabama Library Association Award for nonfiction, the C. Vann Woodward/John Hope Franklin Prize by the Fellowship of Southern Writers, the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum Award for Excellence in Writing, and the Alabama Governor’s Award for the Arts.

Part memoir, part biography, Afternoons with Harper Lee is a moving account of over a dozen years spent visiting with the enigmatic doyenne of twentieth-century American letters. From Alabama history and folklore to American literature to everything in between, Afternoons with Harper Lee offers a fascinating, personal glimpse into the mind that crafted one of our most iconic novels.

David Rae Morris’s Love, Daddy: Letters from My Father examines the complexities of father-and-son relationships through letters and photographs. Mississippi writer Willie Morris wrote scores of letters to his only son, David Rae Morris, from the mid-1970s until Willie’s death in 1999. From David Rae’s perspective, his father was often emotionally disconnected and lived a peculiar lifestyle, often staying out carousing well into the night. But Willie was an eloquent and accomplished writer and began to write his son long, loving, and supportive letters when David Rae was still in high school. An aspiring photographer, David Rae was confused and befuddled by his father’s warring personalities and began photographing Willie using the camera as a buffer to protect him and his emotions.

Love, Daddy won the 2023 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters award for photography.

Stephen Monroe is chair and assistant professor in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. He is an affiliated faculty member in the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and a steering committee member at the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies. Monroe serves as director of the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing and is the author of Heritage and Hate: Old South Words and Symbols at Southern Universities.