2018 Oxford Conference for the Book Guest Speakers
*Subject to change
To see the times speakers will present, please visit the schedule page.
Martin Amis is the author of fourteen novels including London Fields and The Zone of Interest, the memoir Experience, two collections of stories, and six previous nonfiction books. He lives in Brooklyn.
Scott Barretta is an instructor of sociology at the University of Mississippi and a writer-researcher for the Mississippi Blues Trail. He is the editor of Conscience of the Folk Revival: The Writings of Israel “Izzy” Young, a contributor to The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk, and former editor of the magazines Living Blues and Jefferson.
Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections, in John Updike’s The Best American Short Stories of the Century, and in Jennifer Egan’s The Best American Short Stories 2014. In 2000 she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story. In 2005 she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. She was the Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her latest book of fiction is a collection of short stories, The Accomplished Guest, and she recently edited Peter Taylor: The Collected Stories for the Library of America. She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Maine and Key West, Florida.
Shawn Chandler Bingham is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of South Florida and assistant dean of the USF Honors College. He is the author of Thoreau and the Sociological Imagination: The Wilds of Society, editor of The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social Life, and coauthor, with Sara Green, of Seriously Funny: Disability and the Paradoxical Power of Humor. His most recent book is The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk, coedited with Lindsey A. Freeman.
Jenny Browne is the current poet laureate of Texas and author of three collections of poems, At Once, The Second Reason, and Dear Stranger, and two chapbooks, Welcome to Freetown and Texas, Being. A former James Michener Fellow at the University of Texas, she worked for many years as a poet-in-the-schools through the Texas Commission on the Arts and is currently a professor of English at Trinity University where she teaches courses in creative writing, women and gender studies, and environmental literature. She has received the Cecil Hemley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, and two creative writing fellowships from the Texas Writers League. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Garden and Gun, Oxford American, the New York Times, and Tin House. She lives in downtown San Antonio, Texas, with her husband, photographer Scott Martin, and their daughters, Lyda and Harriet.
Jaime Cantrell is a recent visiting assistant professor of English and faculty affiliate at the Sarah Isom Center for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi, where she taught courses in sexuality studies, Southern Studies, and twentieth-century American literature. She is the coeditor, with Amy Stone, of Out of the Closet, into the Archive: Researching Sexual Histories, a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Anthology. Cantrell she has published essays and reviews in the Journal of Lesbian Studies, the Journal of Homosexuality, Study the South, and Feminist Formations. She is presently at work on a book project titled “Southern Sapphisms: Sexuality and Sociality in Literary Productions, 1969–1997.”
Daniel Connolly is a Memphis-based journalist and the author of The Book of Isaias: A Child of Hispanic Immigrants Seeks His Own America. He uses rigorous reporting to tell true stories about immigration, economics, and globalization in the South. A fluent speaker of Spanish and German, he was born in Memphis, graduated from Kenyon College in Ohio, and completed a postgraduate Fulbright teaching fellowship in Germany. He moved to Alabama in 2002 to work at the former Birmingham Post-Herald newspaper, where he completed a major project on Mexican immigration. He moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, and covered immigration for the Associated Press before returning to Memphis in 2006 to join the staff of the Commercial Appeal newspaper, where he still works.
Matt de la Peña is the New York Times Bestselling, Newbery Medal-winning author of six young adult novels (including Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, and The Living) and four picture books (including Love and Last Stop on Market Street). In 2016 he was awarded the NCTE Intellectual Freedom Award. Matt received his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University and his BA from the University of the Pacific where he attended school on a full basketball scholarship. de la Peña currently lives in Brooklyn NY. He teaches creative writing and visits high schools and colleges throughout the country.
Jim Dees is the author of The Statue and the Fury, which won the 2017 Independent Publishers Association’s Bronze award for best nonfiction in the South. The book was also nominated for a Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Nonfiction Award. Since the fall of 2000, Dees has been the host of the Thacker Mountain Radio, a music and literature program heard weekly on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Simone Delerme spent her childhood in a Puerto Rican–concentrated enclave in Harlem, New York, and later moved to a suburb in Wilmington, Delaware. She attended the University of Delaware, earning her BA in political science, but developed an interest in Latin American and Caribbean studies while studying abroad in Havana, Cuba, and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Shortly after, she began comparative ethnographic fieldwork among Puerto Rican migrants in Delaware and New York, and completed a MA in liberal arts at the University of Delaware in 2005. She continued her graduate education at Rutgers University, completing both an MA and PhD in anthropology. In the fall of 2013, she joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. She specializes in the anthropology of the contemporary United States with interests in migration, critical race theory, language ideologies, social class inequalities, and suburbanization. Her new ethnographic research project examines Latino migration to Memphis, Tennessee, and North Mississippi.
John T. Edge directs the Southern Foodways Alliance, an institute of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. He has written or edited more than a dozen books, including his recent The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South. Edge is editor of the Foodways volume of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, and he is series editor of Southern Foodways Alliance Studies in Culture, People, and Place, published by the University of Georgia Press. A columnist for the Oxford American and a contributing writer for Garden and Gun, Edge is an editor in residence at the Rivendell Writers’ Colony, and he serves on the faculty of the MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program at the Grady College of the University of Georgia.
Kelly Norman Ellis is the author of Tougaloo Blues and Offerings of Desire. Her poetry has appeared in Sisterfire: Black Womanist Fiction and Poetry, Spirit and Flame, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Boomer Girls, Essence Magazine, Obsidian, Calyx, and Cornbread Nation. She is a recipient of a Kentucky Foundation for Women writer’s grant and is a Cave Canem fellow and founding member of the Affrilachian Poets. Ellis is an associate professor of English and creative writing and chairperson for the Department of English, Foreign Languages, and Literatures at Chicago State University.
John A. Farrell is the author of Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography, and Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century. A longtime journalist, has worked at the Denver Post and at the Boston Globe, where he served as White House correspondent and on the vaunted Spotlight team.
Beth Ann Fennelly, poet laureate of Mississippi, teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Mississippi, where she was named Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Fennelly has published three poetry books: Open House, Tender Hooks, and Unmentionables. Her poetry has appeared in over fifty anthologies, including Best American Poetry 1996, 2005, and 2006. In 2013, Beth Ann and her husband, Tom Franklin, coauthored a novel, The Tilted World, set during the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River. Fennelly’s newest book is Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs. A contributing editor to the Oxford American, she also writes freelance on travel, culture, and design for many magazines. She lives with her husband and their three children, Anna Claire, Thomas, and Nolan, in Oxford.
Leon Fink, a specialist in American labor, immigration history, and the Gilded Age/Progressive Era, serves as interim director of the PhD concentration in the History of Work, Race, and Gender in the Urban World (WRGUW) at the University of Illinois-Chicago and edits the journal Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas. In 2003, he traced the transnational experience of recent Latino immigrants in The Maya of Morganton: Work and Community in the Nuevo New South. Other works include Progressive Intellectuals and the Dilemmas of Democratic Commitment, In Search of the Working Class: Essays in American Labor History and Political Culture, and Workingmen’s Democracy: The Knights of Labor and American Politics, among others. A Fulbright Senior Scholar and past NEH Fellow, Fink has also taken a leading role in national history education circles, where he has stressed the necessary collaboration between the university and the public schools.
Lindsey A. Freeman is a sociologist who teaches, writes, and thinks about cities, memory, art, and sometimes James Agee. She is an assistant professor in the sociology and anthropology department at Simon Fraser University and is the author of Longing for the Bomb: Oak Ridge and Atomic Nostalgia and coeditor, with Rachel Daniell and Benjamin Nienass, of Silence, Screen, and Spectacle: Rethinking Memory in the Age of Information. Her work has also appeared in Space and Culture, Memory Studies, and the International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. Her most recent book is The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk, coedited with Shawn Chandler Bingham.
Jane Hill recently retired as professor and chair of English at Marshall University. She is the author of two books, Gail Godwin and Cobb County: At the Heart of Change, as well as the editor of four anthologies of contemporary literature. She has published critical essays on Ann Beattie, David Bottoms, James Dickey, Gail Godwin, Mary Lee Settle, and other contemporary authors. Occasionally, she has written on television and movies as well. She now lives in Westminster, South Carolina, with her husband, Bob, and their dogs, Byron, Lena, and Spangle (named for characters in Faulkner’s Light in August and Beattie’s Falling in Place), where she is working on a book about Beattie’s work and a creative nonfiction project about her years in the academy.
A line cook turned journalist, Jonathan Kauffman is an International Association of Culinary Professionals and James Beard Award–winning staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as the restaurant critic at the East Bay Express, Seattle Weekly, and SF Weekly for more than a decade, and has contributed regularly to San Francisco magazine, Lucky Peach, and Wine & Spirits. His articles have also been anthologized in several editions of Best Food Writing. A native of Indiana, he now lives in San Francisco.
Ellen Meacham is a Tennessee native, longtime resident of Mississippi, and a career journalist and journalism instructor at her alma mater, the University of Mississippi, where she teaches news reporting and editing. She is the author of Delta Epiphany: Robert F. Kennedy in Mississippi and has been a working journalist for more than twenty years. Uniquely positioned to write Delta Epiphany, Meacham’s experience as a newspaper reporter has provided her with extensive contacts within the state’s political and journalistic circles. In addition, her master’s degree in Southern Studies from the University of Mississippi undergirds her understanding of the culture and the people of the Mississippi Delta. She lives outside of Oxford, in Taylor, with her family.
Jonathan Miles, an erstwhile Oxford resident, is the author of the novels Anatomy of a Miracle, Dear American Airlines, and Want Not, the latter both New York Times Notable Books. He is a former columnist for the New York Times, has served as a contributing editor to magazines ranging from Details to Field and Stream, and his journalism has been frequently anthologized in Best American Sports Writing and Best American Crime Writing. He is also the author of a book on fish and game cookery, The Wild Chef, and competed in the Dakar Rally, an off-road race through Africa.
Ricardo Nazario y Colón attended Jesus T. Piñero primary school in Carruzos, Puerto Rico, and Lou Gehrig I.S. 151 in the South Bronx. In 1992 he completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature. As a student at the University of Kentucky, Nazario y Colón became a cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets. For the last 20 years Nazario y Colón has been traveling the Appalachian Region and other parts of the United States consulting on diversity, leadership development and working with community groups and universities. As a member of the Affrilachian Poets he is particularly engaged in the fight against mountaintop removal mining and works to educate individuals outside the Appalachian region. He is currently Chief Diversity Officer at Western Carolina University.
Chris Offutt is an award-winning author and screenwriter. He worked on the HBO drama True Blood and the Showtime series Weeds. His books include Kentucky Straight, The Same River Twice, The Good Brother, Out of the Woods, and My Father, the Pornographer. His work has appeared in The Best American Essays, The Best American Short Stories, and many other anthologies. His next novel, Country Dark, will be published in April. He lives near Oxford, Mississippi.
Thomas Oliphant was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Harvard University in 1967, and he joined the Boston Globe in 1968. During his career with the newspaper, he served as its Washington correspondent and reported on ten presidential campaigns. He was one of three editors who managed the Globe’s coverage of school desegregation in Boston, work that won a 1975 Pulitzer Prize. He has also received a writing award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Oliphant has been a frequent guest on television news programs, including Nightline, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, Face the Nation, and CBS This Morning. Oliphant is the author of four books, the latest, coauthored with Curtis Wilkie, is The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign.
Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. He has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT, and the Watering Hole, and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. Randall is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review’s Lineage of Mirrors. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and The Adroit Journal, and in the anthologies Portrait in Blues, Nepantla, and New Poetry from the Midwest. He is a candidate for an MFA in poetry at the University of Mississippi. His first book, Refuse, is the winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry prize and will be published by University of Pittsburgh Press in Fall 2018.
Zandria F. Robinson’s work covers African American experiences at the intersection of identity, inequality, and culture in the post–civil rights South. She earned her BA and MA at the University of Memphis, and a PhD in sociology from Northwestern University. She is author of This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South, and coeditor, with Sandra L. Barnes and Earl Wright II, of Re-Positioning Race: Prophetic Research in a Post-Racial Obama Age. Her work has appeared in Issues in Race and Society, The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, the Annual Review of Sociology, with Marcus Anthony Hunter, and Rolling Stone.
Cathy Shropshire is retired from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks, served for ten years as director of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, and is now the theatrical incarnation of Miss Fannye Cook. Shropshire’s captivating portrayal both entertains and educates.
Michael Farris Smith is the author of Desperation Road, Rivers, The Hands of Strangers, and his new novel The Fighter. Rivers was named in numerous Best Books of the Year lists, and garnered the 2014 Mississippi Author Award for Fiction. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his essays have appeared with The New York Times, Catfish Alley, Writer’s Bone, and more. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife and daughters.
Angela Stuesse is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is broadly interested in social inequality, and she studies and teaches about globalization, structural racism, migration, labor, human rights, social movements, and activist research. Her book, Scratching Out a Living: Latinos, Race, and Work in the Deep South, explores how Latinos’ labor migration has transformed the South and impacted efforts to organize for workplace justice. It is based on six years of collaboration with a poultry workers’ center in Mississippi, as well as interviews with poultry industry executives, workers and their supporters, and community members of diverse backgrounds.
Jennifer Tseng is the author of two award-winning poetry books The Man with My Face and Red Flower, White Flower, which features Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen. Her debut novel, Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness was a finalist for the New England Book Award and the PEN Robert W. Bingham Award for Debut Fiction. She currently teaches for the Fine Arts Work Center’s summer program, FAWC’s online writing program 24PearlSt, and the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her latest chapbook, The Passion of Woo and Isolde, won the Rose Metal Press Short Story Chapbook Contest.
Frank X Walker originally coined the term “Affrilachia.” In reference to the region of Appalachia, a mountain range stretching over thirteen states along the East Coast of the US from Mississippi to New York, Affrilachia is an ever-evolving cultural landscape poised to render the invisible visible. Affrilachia embraces a multicultural influence, a spectrum of people who consider Appalachia home and/or identify strongly with the trials and triumphs of being of this region. Since 1991, the Affrilachian Poets have been writing together, defying the persistent stereotype of a racially homogenized rural region. Through their writing and the very existence of their enclave, the Affrilachian Poets continue to reveal relationships that link identity to familial roots, socioeconomic stratification and cultural influence, and an inherent connection to the land. Walker is a native of Danville, Kentucky, and a graduate of the University of Kentucky. He completed an MFA in writing at Spalding University in May 2003. Poet laurette of Kentucky from 2013 to 2015, he is the editor of America! What’s My Name? The “Other” Poets Unfurl the Flag and Eclipsing a Nappy New Millennium, and the author of eight poetry collections, including Affrilachian Sonnets, When Winter Come: The Ascension of York, Black Box, Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, and the forthcoming Ink Stains & Watermarks: New and Uncollected Poems.
Elaine Weiss is an award-winning journalist and writer. Her feature writing for magazines has been recognized with prizes from the Society of Professional Journalists, and her byline has appeared in the Atlantic, Harper’s, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as for reports and documentaries for National Public Radio and Voice of America. Her first book, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army in the Great War was excerpted in Smithsonian magazine online and featured on C-Span and on public radio stations nationwide. Weiss has worked as a Washington correspondent, congressional aide and speechwriter, magazine editor, and university journalism instructor. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, Julian Krolik. They have two grown children. When not working at her desk, she can be found paddling her kayak on the Chesapeake Bay. And she votes in every election. Her new book is The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, which is about the fight in Tennessee to ratify the 19th Amendment.
Marcus Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review’s Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center. His first collection Maybe the Saddest Thing, a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Wicker’s poems have appeared in the Nation, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, and Boston Review. Silencer is his second book. Wicker teaches in the MFA program at the University of Memphis, and he is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review. He is a member of the Affrilachian Poets.
Shirley Wiegand retired as professor emerita from Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2011. She began her legal career as an attorney in Lexington, Kentucky, then became a professor of law at the University of Oklahoma in 1988, where she earned tenure. Thereafter, she served as professor and associate dean at Marquette University Law School and visiting professor at American University and Florida A&M University Law School. She is the author of numerous legal articles and three books, including The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism, which he coauthored with Wayne Wiegand.
Wayne A. Wiegand, often referred to as the “Dean of American Library Historians,” is F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies Emeritus at Florida State University. He is the author of numerous books on public libraries, including The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism, which he coauthored with Shirley Wiegand. He was founder and a codirector of the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America, a joint program of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Wisconsin Historical Society, established in 1992.
Jessica Wilkerson is an assistant professor of history and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. Her research interests include southern and Appalachian history, US women’s and gender history, labor and working-class history, twentieth-century social movements, and oral history. She earned her MA from Sarah Lawrence College and her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently completing her first book, To Live Here You Have to Fight: Antipoverty, Labor, and Feminist Activism in the Appalachian South. The book traces the alliances forged and the grassroots movements led by women in the Appalachian South in the 1960s and 1970s.
Curtis Wilkie was a reporter for the Clarksdale Press Register in his home state of Mississippi during the 1960s and then served as a national and foreign correspondent for the Boston Globe for twenty-six years. He is coauthor, with Jim McDougal, of Arkansas Mischief: The Birth of a National Scandal and author of Dixie: A Personal Odyssey through Events That Shaped the Modern South, The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer, and Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians, and Other Persons of Interest: Fifty Pieces from the Road. Wilkie holds the Kelly Gene Cook Chair of Journalism at the University of Mississippi. His latest book, with Thomas Oliphant, is The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign.