The Oxford Conference for the Book, the longest-running event produced by the University of Mississippi’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture, goes virtual this week.

Five sessions are available to watch anytime here, with accompanying live Square Books events, including:

Thursday, March 11, at 5:00 p.m. CST: A Live Square Books event on Zoom and Facebook Live: Lee Durkee (“The Last Taxi Driver”) in conversation with Tinhouse Press publisher Craig Popelars. RSVP required.

Thursday, March 11, at 6:00 p.m.: Thacker Mountain Radio with poet Sandra Beasley.

This year also includes the awards ceremonies for the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing, which came to Ole Miss in 2020 to be administered by the Department of Writing and Rhetoric in honor of Morris, a UM writer-in-residence and instructor from 1980 to 1991. Awards are given in both fiction and poetry and can be viewed here.

Other sessions include “University Press of Mississippi: The Next 50 Years,” with Craig Gill, director of the UPM; Pete Halverson, senior book designer; Tonia Lonie, business manager; Lisa McMurtray, associate editor; and Jordan Nettles, marketing assistant and digital coordinator.

Catarina Passidomo, Southern Foodways Alliance Associate Professor of Southern Studies and associate professor of anthropology, will be in conversation with Catherine Coleman Flowers about her book “Waste: One Woman’s Fight against America’s Dirty Secret.”

Beth Ann Fennelly, poet and UM professor of English, hosts the always highly anticipated poetry session with Cortney Lamar Charleston, Sandra Beasley and Teri Cross Davis.

As a memorial tribute to longtime book conference participant and John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence for 1997-98, a collective reading of Randall Kenan’s “The Eternal Glory That Is Ham Hocks” is planned. The selection comes from his latest story collection, “If I Had Two Wings,” published by W.W. Norton only days before his death in August 2020. Past and present Grisham writers-in-residence will read the story.

The conference also will co-sponsor a keynote lecture by Dorothy Allison on April 16 during the Glitterary Festival.

Sponsors for the conference include Center for the Study of Southern Culture, Square Books, Lafayette County Literacy Council and the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford. The conference is partially funded by the university, the Willie Morris Awards for Southern Writing, the R&B Feder Foundation for the Beaux Arts and a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council. Promotional support comes from Visit Oxford.

As always, the conference is free and accessible to the public. The latest information will be available on the website at