2024 Oxford Conference for the Book Authors
To see the times speakers will present, please visit the schedule page.
Kaveh Akbar is the author of two poetry collections, Pilgrim Bell and Calling a Wolf a Wolf; a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic; and the recently published novel Martyr!. He is also the editor of The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse: 100 Poets on the Divine. The recipient of honors including multiple Pushcart Prizes, a Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellowship, and the Levis Reading Prize, Akbar was born in Tehran, Iran, and teaches at the University of Iowa and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. In 2014, Kaveh founded Divedapper, a home for dialogues with the most vital voices in American poetry.
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is the author of the bestselling short story collection Friday Black and the novel Chain-Gang All-Stars. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous publications, including Guernica, Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing, Printer’s Row, Gravel, and the Breakwater Review, where he was selected by ZZ Packer as the winner of the 2nd Annual Breakwater Review Fiction Contest. He is from Spring Valley, New York. He graduated from SUNY Albany and went on to receive his MFA from Syracuse University. Chain-Gang All-Stars was a 2023 National Book Award finalist.
Ace Atkins is the award-winning, New York Times-bestselling author of almost thirty novels. Atkins, a former SEC football player, started his career as a crime beat reporter in Florida before becoming a full-time novelist. Since then he’s written eleven books in the Quinn Colson series and several true crime novels based on infamous crooks and killers. He was also chosen by Robert B. Parker’s family to continue the Spenser series in 2010, adding ten novels to that iconic franchise. He lives and works in Oxford, Mississippi.
H. Jerriod Avant
H. Jerriod Avant was born and raised in Longtown, Mississippi. A graduate of Jackson State University, Jerriod has earned MFA degrees from Spalding University and New York University. He has received scholarships from the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference and Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program. A former resident at the James Castle House and Vermont Studio Center, Jerriod has received two winter fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and an emerging artist grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. His work has appeared in the Boston Review, Pinwheel, Callaloo, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Obsidian, the Yale Review, and other journals. He is currently a PhD English candidate (Spring 2023) at the University of Rhode Island and an adjunct instructor of English at the University of Mississippi.
Tim and Susan Lee (Bark)
verb \ bärk \
1 a: to make the characteristic short loud cry of a dog
b: to make a noise resembling a bark
c: the alt-duo of husband/wife Tim Lee (Bass VI, Vox) and Susan Bauer Lee (Drums, Vox)
During the eighties, Tim was part of the DIY indie-rock scene in America as a founding member of the Windbreakers and as a touring sideman with Let’s Active, Marti Jones, and Swimming Pool Q’s. The WBs released five albums and several EPs, and Tim recorded three solo albums, but by the end of the decade a festering discontent with the business of making music lurked behind the artful celebration, which ultimately compelled Lee to take a hiatus for most of the nineties.
Come the turn of the millennium, Tim’s musical itch returned, this time with an infectious twist. One auspiciously bright Saturday morning, Susan popped out of bed declaring that she wanted to learn how to play bass. By that very afternoon, she was plucking around on her very own pawn shop bass guitar. Within six months, Susan was on stage, having well and truly joined the fray.
Thence came the Tim Lee 3 with you-know-who on guitar and bass and Chris Bratta eventually settling into the drum seat. Widely praised for their stripped down, no-nonsense-except-when-necessary approach to songwriting and performing, the TL3 carried forth for a decade, releasing five full-length studio sessions, a couple of live albums, and an EP, accompanied, as usual, by side projects, guest appearances, and a steady gigging schedule.
In 2014 Susan decided she wanted to learn how to play drums, and thus begat Bark, a product of the melding of two keenly honed, fiercely independent musical minds focused on carving out a twenty-first century niche situated somewhere between garage rock, punk rock, power pop, the Cramps, the Feelies, the B52s, R. L. Burnside, and the Delta blues.
Seven years, a few hundred shows, an EP, two LPs, a pandemic, a memoir, and a move back home to Mississippi later, there is Bark: just the two of them, Tim and Susan, guitar and drums, doing their thing. Adequately armed, expertly seasoned, and with a new LP (Loud, 2023, Dial Back Sound/Cool Dog Sound), Bark is poised for the next chapter in an unfinished tome about two committed, uncompromising musicians who love their art and craft almost as much as they love each other.
Amber Nichols-Buckley is a lecturer in the Department of Writing & Rhetoric at the University of Mississippi. Her background in classroom teaching inspires her work as co-chair of the Transitioning to College Writing Symposium. She also enjoys serving as a non-fiction judge for the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing.
William Boyle is the author of eight works of fiction set in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood of Gravesend, where he was born and raised. His first novel, Gravesend, was nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in France and shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in the UK. Boyle’s other works include Death Don’t Have No Mercy, a story collection; Everything Is Broken, published initially in France and subsequently serialized in the Southwest Review; The Lonely Witness, which was nominated for the Hammett Prize and the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière; A Friend Is a Gift You Give Yourself, winner of the Prix Transfuge du meilleur polar étranger in France and an Amazon Best Book of 2019; City of Margins, a Washington Post Best Thriller and Mystery Book of 2020; Shoot the Moonlight Out, listed by CrimeReads as one of the ten best noir novels of 2021 and nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière in 2023; and, coming in 2025, Saint of the Narrows Street. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Lauren Crawford earned her MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, where she served as an associate editor for Crab Orchard Review. A native of Houston, Texas, she was the second-place winner of the 2020 Louisiana State Poetry Society Award from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and her poetry has either appeared in or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, Passengers Journal, the Appalachian Review, the American Journal of Poetry, the Midwest Quarterly, the Worcester Review, the Spectacle, and elsewhere. Crawford currently teaches writing at the University of New Haven with her husband and is a reader for Palette Poetry.
Gabriel Bump grew up in South Shore, Chicago. He received his MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His work has appeared in the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Guernica, Electric Literature, and other publications. He is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The New Naturals is his first novel.
Andre Dubus III
Andre Dubus III’s nine books include New York Times bestsellers House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days, and his memoir, Townie. His most recent books are the novel Such Kindness and a collection of personal essays, Ghost Dogs: On Killers and Kin. He is also the editor of Reaching Inside: 50 Acclaimed Authors on 100 Unforgettable Short Stories. Dubus has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Magazine Award for Fiction, two Pushcart Prizes, and is a recipient of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. His books are published in over twenty-five languages, and he teaches at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Alice Faye Duncan
Alice Faye Duncan has written more than a dozen books for children, including His Train Is Bound for Glory, Honey Baby Sugar Child, and Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop. Her most recent book is Yellow Dog Blues, a New York Times Best Illustrated Picture Book selection for 2022. Her books have been nominated for two NAACP Image Awards and have been named to several best-books-of-the-year lists. Duncan lives in Memphis, where she often writes about her home state’s people and history.
Saddiq Dzukogi is a Nigerian poet and assistant professor of English at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla, selected by Carolyn Forché as winner of the 2021 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the 2022 Julie Suk Award. He is the recipient of numerous fellowships from the Nebraska Art Council, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, PEN America, and Ebedi International Residency. His poetry is featured in various publications, including POETRY, Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Poetry London, Guernica, Georgia Review, Gulf Coast, and Prairie Schooner. He lives and writes from Starkville, Mississippi, and is at work on his next book, an epic poem, “Bakandamiya.”
W. Ralph Eubanks is the author of A Place Like Mississippi, which takes readers on a complete tour of the real and imagined landscapes that have inspired generations of authors. This is a book that honors and explores the landscape of Mississippi—and the Magnolia State’s history—and reveals the many ways this landscape has informed the work of some of America’s most treasured authors. Eubanks is the Black Power at Ole Miss Faculty Fellow at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture.
Jen Fawkes is the author of Mannequin and Wife, a Shirley Jackson Award nominee and Foreword INDIES gold medalist, and Tales the Devil Told Me, a World Fantasy Award finalist and Largehearted Boy Favorite Story Collection of 2021. Her fiction won the 2021 Porter Fund Literary Prize and has appeared in One Story, Lit Hub, the Iowa Review, and others. A two-time finalist for the Calvino Prize in fabulist fiction, Fawkes lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her debut novel, Daughters of Chaos, is coming in July 2024 from Abrams.
Tom Franklin is the author of five books, including Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, which won the Los Angeles Times book prize for mystery/thriller, the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, and the UK’s Golden Dagger Award.
Journalist Herb Frazier is the author and coauthor of several books, including Behind God’s Back: Gullah Memories, We Are Charleston: Tragedy and Triumph at Mother Emanuel, and the forthcoming Crossing the Sea on a Sacred Song. In Sleeping with the Ancestors: How I Followed the Footprints of Slavery, Frazier and his coauthor, Joseph McGill Jr., tell the story of a future US president who fathered a child with one of his family’s enslaved women. They chronicle the path of an enslaved boy who purchased his freedom to then establish a prominent Black religious organization. And they share the compelling history of an African princess who survived slavery in Florida to take control of a plantation and its enslaved workers.
Melissa Ginsburg is the author of the poetry collections Doll Apollo (winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award) and Dear Weather Ghost, the novels The House Uptown and Sunset City, and three poetry chapbooks, Arbor, Double Blind, and Apollo. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Image, Guernica, the Kenyon Review, Fence, the Southwest Review, and other magazines. Originally from Houston, Texas, Ginsburg studied poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Mississippi and serves as associate editor of Tupelo Quarterly. She lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Karina Yan Glaser
Karina Yan Glaser is the New York Times bestselling writer and illustrator of The Vanderbeekers series—a New York Times Notable Children’s Book and the winner of the NYC Book Award. Glaser is also the author of the standalone novel A Duet for Home, which was a Publisher’s Weeklybestseller. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two teenagers, and an assortment of animals. One of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can’t go anywhere without a book.
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the author of several books, including We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For, Democracy in Black, and the New York Times bestseller Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own, winner of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Book Prize. He frequently appears in the media as an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe and Deadline: White House. A native of Moss Point, Mississippi, Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University.
Natalie Green is the senior manager of public programs at the National Book Foundation. Previously, Natalie was the manager of Los Angeles Programs at PEN America. She holds a BA in English and creative writing from UCLA, is a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends committee member, and organizes with North Brooklyn Mutual Aid.
Derrick Harriell is the director of the African American studies program at the University of Mississippi and the Otillie Schillig Associate Professor of English, African American Studies, and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi. He holds a PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and an MFA in creative writing from Chicago State University. A two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, he is the author of four collections of poetry and was the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2014 poetry award winner for his collection Ropes. His latest poetry collection, Come Kingdom, was published in 2022.
David Joy is the author of When These Mountains Burn (winner of the 2020 Dashiell Hammett Award), The Line That Held Us (winner of the 2018 Southern Book Prize), The Weight of This World, and Where All Light Tends to Go (2023 Edgar Award finalist for Best First Novel). His stories and creative nonfiction have appeared in several publications, and he is the author of the memoir Growing Gills: A Fly Fisherman’s Journey and a coeditor of Gather at the River: Twenty-Five Authors on Fishing. Joy’s most recent book is the novel Those We Thought We Knew (2023). He lives in Tuckasegee, North Carolina.
Tyler Keith was born and raised in the Florida panhandle. He moved to Mississippi at eighteen and received a degree in English literature at the University of Mississippi, where he studied writing under Barry Hannah. He spent the next twenty years writing songs and playing in the bands the Neckbones, Tyler Keith and the Preacher’s Kids, Tyler Keith and the Apostles, and Teardrop City, making fourteen albums and touring in the US and Europe. He later returned to the University of Mississippi and earned a master’s degree in Southern Studies and an MFA in documentary expression. The Mark of Cain is his first novel.
Max Hipp is a teacher, writer, and musician from Oxford, Mississippi. His work has appeared in Southern Humanities Review, Cheap Pop, SmokeLong Quarterly, and Black Warrior Review, among others. He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Mississippi.
Clair Lamb is a writer, editor, and researcher who has served as a judge for the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction since 2009. Her clients include internationally bestselling novelists John Connolly, Joseph Finder, and Lisa Lutz. She was assistant editor of the Edgar, Anthony, and Agatha Awards-winning anthology Books to Die For. She lives in northern Virginia.
Jennifer Maritza McCauley
Jennifer Maritza McCauley is a writer, poet, and university professor. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Kimbilio, CantoMundo, and the Sundress Academy for the Arts. She holds an MFA from Florida International University and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Missouri. She is the author of the hybrid collection SCAR ON/SCAR OFF, the short story collection When Trying to Return Home. She is an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Houston–Clear Lake and lives and writes in Houston, Texas.
Joseph McGill Jr.
Prior to his current position as founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, Joseph McGill Jr. was a field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He is the former executive director of the African American Museum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the former director of history and culture at Penn Center, St. Helena Island, South Carolina. McGill was also a park ranger at Fort Sumter. He appears in the book Confederates in the Attic by Tony Horwitz. He is also a member of the South Carolina Humanities Council Speakers Bureau and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional English from South Carolina State University. In Sleeping with the Ancestors: How I Followed the Footprints of Slavery, McGill and his coauthor, Herb Frazier, tell the story of a future US president who fathered a child with one of his family’s enslaved women. They chronicle the path of an enslaved boy who purchased his freedom to then establish a prominent Black religious organization. And they share the compelling history of an African princess who survived slavery in Florida to take control of a plantation and its enslaved workers.
Kathryn McKee is the director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and McMullan Professor of Southern Studies and Professor of English at the University of Mississippi. She is coeditor, with Deborah Barker, of American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary, and her articles have appeared in various journals, including American Literature, Legacy, Southern Literary Journal, and Mississippi Quarterly. She has a PhD in American Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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.
Susan Nicholas is an instructor of composition and rhetoric at the University of Mississippi, where she gets to teach writing to her favorite group of people—first-year college students. She also coordinates the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing.
January Gill O’Neil
January Gill O’Neil is an associate professor at Salem State University and the author of Rewilding, Misery Islands, and Underlife, all published by CavanKerry Press. The former executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, she currently serves on AWP’s board of directors. Her poem “At the Rededication of the Emmett Till Memorial” was a co-winner of the 2022 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. The recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cave Canem, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O’Neil was also the 2019–20 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi. Her latest collection is Glitter Road. “My poems brought me to Oxford, Mississippi, a.k.a. the Velvet Ditch: / a place you can fall into, get comfortable among confederate rebels,” she in this bold new collection.
Téa Obreht is the internationally bestselling author of The Tiger’s Wife, which won the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her second novel, Inland, was an instant bestseller, won the Southwest Book Award, and was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize. Her work has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, theNew Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper’s, and Zoetrope: All-Story. Originally from the former Yugoslavia, Obreht now resides in Wyoming. Her latest novel is The Morningside.
José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by the Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he coedited the poetry anthology The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext. He cohosts the poetry podcast The Poetry Gods. His most recent collection of poems, Promises of Gold (Promesas de Oro), was longlisted in 2023 for a National Book Award.
Heather Cox Richardson
Heather Cox Richardson is professor of history at Boston College. She has written about the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, and the American West in award-winning books whose subjects stretch from the European settlement of the North American continent to the history of the Republican Party through the Trump administration. She is the author, most recently, of the bestselling Democracy Awakening: Notes on the State of America. Jane Mayer has called the book “a vibrant and essential history of America’s unending, enraging, and utterly compelling struggle since its founding to live up to its own best ideals.” Heather Richardson’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and The Guardian, among other outlets. Her nightly newsletter, Letters from an American, reaches over a million readers.
Jodi Skipper is associate professor of anthropology and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. She is coeditor of Navigating Souths: Transdisciplinary Explorations of a US Region and, most recently, author of Behind the Big House: Reconciling Slavery, Race, and Heritage in the US South.
In Behind the Big House, Skipper asks the question, “When residents and tourists visit sites of slavery, whose stories are told?” All too often the lives of slaveowners are centered, obscuring the lives of enslaved people. Behind the Big House gives readers a candid, behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to interpret the difficult history of slavery in the US South. The book explores Skipper’s eight-year collaboration with the Behind the Big House program, a community-based model used at local historic sites to address slavery in the collective narrative of US history and culture.
In laying out her experiences through an autoethnographic approach, Skipper seeks to help other activist scholars of color negotiate the nuances of place, the academic public sphere, and its ambiguous systems of reward, recognition, and evaluation.
Michael Farris Smith
Michael Farris Smith is an award-winning writer whose novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists with Esquire, NPR, Southern Living, Garden & Gun, Book Riot, and numerous other outlets. He has also written the feature-film adaptations of his novels Desperation Road and The Fighter, titled for the screen as Rumble through the Dark. His most recent book is Salvage This World. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.
Sheila Sundar is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Mississippi. Her writing has appeared in the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Massachusetts Review, the Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Habitations is her debut novel.
James G. Thomas, Jr.
James G. Thomas, Jr. is the associate director for publications at the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and, since 2015, director of the Oxford Conference for the Book.
Thomas holds a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy, a master’s degree in Southern Studies, and a master’s of fine arts in documentary expression, each from the University of Mississippi. In 2003, he began work at the Center as managing editor of the twenty-four-volume New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. He is editor of Conversations with Barry Hannah; co-editor, with Jay Watson, of the Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Series (University Press of Mississippi); and co-editor, with Ted Ownby, of the online Mississippi Encyclopedia. His work has appeared in Ethnic Heritage in Mississippi: The Twentieth Century, Southern Cultures, Southern Quarterly, and Living Blues.
Thomas also teaches in the University of Mississippi’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric, is on the Board of Directors for the University Press of Mississippi, and is past president of the Board of Governors for the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.
Michael X. Wang
Michael X. Wang is an assistant professor in the University of Mississippi Department of English. He was born in Fenyang, a small coal-mining city in China’s mountainous Shanxi Province. Wang immigrated to the United States when he was six and has lived in ten states. He holds a PhD in literature from Florida State University and an MFA in fiction from Purdue. His story collection, Further News of Defeat, won the 2021 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the 2022 Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award. It was also a finalist for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker Award. His debut novel, Lost in the Long March, was published in November 2023.
Snowden Wright is the author of American Pop, a Wall Street Journal WSJ+ Book of the Month and NPR Best Book of the Year. He has written for the Atlantic, Salon, Esquire, The Millions, and the New York Daily News, among other publications, and previously worked as a fiction reader at the New Yorker, Esquire, and the Paris Review. Recipient of the Marguerite and Lamar Smith Fellowship from the Carson McCullers Center, Wright lives in Yazoo County, Mississippi. His third novel, The Queen City Detective Agency, is forthcoming from HarperCollins in August 2024.