Mississippi is clearly an inspired place—creativity teems in its waterways, grows as tall as its oaks, adds flavor to its food, and can be heard in the diverse voices of the state’s many musicians and writers. From the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast to the Appalachian foothills, Mississippi offers mile upon mile of adventure for wanderers and dreamers. For aspiring writers and literary fans, Mississippi is a particularly magical place that offers a glimpse into the lives of the literary geniuses who documented the region’s history across genres and generations.
Take in the sights and sounds that inspired Southern writers along the Mississippi Writers Trail, a series of historical markers that recognize the importance of place in authors’ lives and educate travelers on the history and legacy of numerous Mississippi writers. With 13 total markers spanning the state, visitors are invited to learn more about Willie Morris, Ida B. Wells, John Grisham, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Anne Moody, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Spencer, William Faulkner, and more. The informative markers, shaped like open books, are placed at authors’ birthplaces, homes and gravesites or at museums or other literary locales that provide context and insight into writers’ lives.
With markers dotting Mississippi’s landscape, literary fans can visit all or just a few of these inspired sites while making the most of their trip to Mississippi. Lovers of the arts will also want to drop into The MAX (Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Experience) in Meridian for a more in-depth look at Mississippi’s contributions to arts and entertainment, including literature. The immersive exhibits at The MAX take you behind the scenes of Mississippi’s legends, exploring their cultural influences, their earliest forms of creative expression, and the creative process behind the polished work you know and love. Explore more at msarts.org.
The state hosts the Mississippi Book Festival, “A Literary Lawn Party,” to be held August 20, 2022, at the State Capitol Building & Grounds in Jackson. Free and open to the public, this heavyweight festival brings together more than 170 authors with 40+ panels, book signings, book sellers and more. Featured authors this year include a variety of accomplished and prize winning authors such as Alice Walker, Jericho Brown, Jennifer Egan, Kiese Laymon, and Catherine Pierce. Food trucks, music, and family-friendly activities round out this exceptional yearly literary extravaganza. Find out more at msbookfestival.com.
Let’s wander—to begin planning your summer literary adventure to Mississippi, go to VisitMississippi.org.