Ann Abadie in her home in Oxford, Mississippi.

The Center for the Study of Southern Culture and the Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference have joined together to create a lasting tribute to one of the founders of the Faulkner Conference. The new Ann Abadie Lecture in Southern Studies will take place annually at the Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference as a tribute to Ann Abadie, associate director emerita of the Center and a longtime organizer of the Faulkner Conference. The overarching goal of the lecture is to add broad context to Faulkner’s world by connecting it to other writers, places, and movements.

This year’s inaugural lecture will be delivered by Mississippi poet and memoirist Natasha Trethewey, and the theme of the conference is “Faulkner, Welty, and Wright: A Mississippi Confluence.” Trethewey has served two terms as the nineteenth poet laureate of the United States (2012–14). The lecture will take place virtually on Zoom at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18, and is open to the public. Click here to register for the free event. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Natasha Tretheway. Photo © Nancy Crampton

The Abadie lecture will add diverse speakers and topics to the conference line-up. A committee at the Center made up of the director, both associate directors, and at least one faculty member will consult with the Faulkner conference director to learn each year’s theme and then reach a decision about whom to invite as the Abadie lecturer.

“This annual lecture is an appropriate tribute to Ann Abadie and the many years she spent helping make the Faulkner Conference among the most-respected literary conferences in the country,” said Jimmy Thomas, associate director for publications at the Center. “Now in its forty-seventh year, the conference still attracts Faulkner readers and scholars from across the world. Ann’s devotion to both the conference and to the Faulkner Series that is a result of each year’s proceedings is in large part the driver of that success.”

When topically appropriate, the lectures in the Ann Abadie Lecture in Southern Studies may be considered for the subsequent volume of conference proceedings. Fundraising for the lectures will proceed through the Foundation. Gifts received in honor of long-time Center supporter Patricia Land Stevens will serve as the initial source of income.

Tretheway is the author of five collections of poetry: Monument, Thrall, Native Guard, Bellocq’s Ophelia, and Domestic Work. Most recently, she is the author of the memoir Memorial Drive. Her book of nonfiction, Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, was published in 2010. She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. At Northwestern University she is a Board of Trustees Professor of English in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 she was named Poet Laureate of the State of Mississippi and in 2013 she was inducted in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to the Abadie Lecture, there are two other lectures open to the public during the 2021 Faulkner Conference, with Zoom links below:

For more information, visit the conference website: