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The Trail of Mississippi’s Literary History

Tennessee Williams House Museum & Welcome Center in Columbus (courtesy of visitcolumbusms.org)

William Faulkner once said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” Those who have lived in, or visited, Mississippi know this to be true. The Magnolia State has a rich history within the fine arts.

Upon arriving in Mississippi, you are sure to see a sign that says, “Welcome to Mississippi: Birthplace of America’s Music.” It’s certainly not a secret that Mississippi has a large and influential history when it comes to music, but did you know that some of America’s most prominent authors are also from Mississippi? In fact, no other state in the country can claim as many honored or awarded writers as Mississippi.

Mississippi’s culture and overall southern art of storytelling carry an impressive presence in the birth of American culture. So much so, in fact, that the Magnolia State has its own “Mississippi Writers Trail.” The trail spans the entire state and highlights notable places which helped shape or influence some of the world’s most acclaimed author’s lives and their words.

Literary icons such as William Faulkner, Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, Elizabeth Spencer, Margaret Walker, Ida B. Wells, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, and Tennessee Williams, can all be found on this statewide initiative. This trail not only honors these wonderful writers of the past, but it also reminds visitors of Mississippi’s great literary talent—past, present, and future.

Current bestselling authors from Mississippi such as John Grisham, Angie Thomas, Kathryn Stockett, Jesmyn Ward, and so many others, have also contributed to the state’s literary accolades.

Some might say that there are five elements to storytelling: the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict, and the resolution. A Mississippi writer takes those elements and weaves them into a seamless story full of so much character and imagery, you can practically feel the humidity coming from the pages.

There is indeed so much one can learn from a place like Mississippi. It seems like everywhere you turn there is a connection to a key piece of history, or in this case, an influential writer. From Pulitzer Prize winners to writers who revolutionized great, cultural, change….Mississippi’s literary tradition is amazing!

To learn more about the Mississippi’s Writers Trail, check out their website.

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Written by Meredith Biesinger

Hey y'all! I am a professional educator, and writer, with a great love of southern culture. There's no place like Mississippi!

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