University of Mississippi

Night Swimmer

imgres-1by Matt Bondurant

The Night Swimmer, Matt Bondurant’s utterly riveting modern gothic novel of marriage and belonging, confirms his gift for storytelling that transports and enthralls.

In a small town on the southern coast of Ireland, an isolated place only frequented by fishermen and the occasional group of bird-watchers, Fred and Elly Bulkington, newly arrived from Vermont having won a pub in a contest, encounter a wild, strange land shaped by the pounding storms of the North Atlantic, as well as the native resistance to strangers. As Fred revels in the life of a new pubowner, Elly takes the ferry out to a nearby island where anyone not born there is called a “blow-in.” To the disbelief of the locals, Elly devotes herself to open-water swimming, pushing herself to the limit and crossing unseen boundaries that drive her into the heart of the island’s troubles—the mysterious tragedy that shrouds its inhabitants and the dangerous feud between an enigmatic farmer and a powerful clan that has no use for outsiders.

The poignant unraveling of a marriage, the fierce beauty of the natural world, the mysterious power of Irish lore, and the gripping story of strangers in a strange land rife with intrigue and violence—The Night Swimmer is a novel of myriad enchantments by a writer of extraordinary talent.

The Wettest County in the World

imgresby Matt Bondurant

Based on the true story of Matt Bondurant’s grandfather and two granduncles, The Wettest County in the World is a gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Howard, the eldest brother, is an ox of a man besieged by the horrors he witnessed in the Great War; Forrest, the middle brother, is fierce, mythically indestructible, and the consummate businessman; and Jack, the youngest, has a taste for luxury and a dream to get out of Franklin. Driven and haunted, these men forge a business, fall in love, and struggle to stay afloat as they watch their family die, their father’s business fail, and the world they know crumble beneath the Depression and drought.

White mule, white lightning, firewater, popskull, wild cat, stump whiskey, or rotgut—whatever you called it, Franklin County was awash in moonshine in the 1920s. When Sherwood Anderson, the journalist and author of Winesburg, Ohio, was covering a story there, he christened it the “wettest county in the world.” In the twilight of his career, Anderson finds himself driving along dusty red roads trying to find the Bondurant brothers, piece together the clues linking them to “The Great Franklin County Moonshine Conspiracy,” and break open the silence that shrouds Franklin County.

In vivid, muscular prose, Matt Bondurant brings these men—their dark deeds, their long silences, their deep desires—to life. His understanding of the passion, violence, and desperation at the center of this world is both heartbreaking and magnificent.

Check out Derrick Harriell’s article “Chicago State State of Mind” in Los Angeles Review of Books.

Derrick-Harriell-Headshot-11-17-091

Derrick Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He’s worked as assistant poetry editor for Third World Press and The Cream City Review and has taught community writing workshops for individuals of all ages, including senior citizens. A two-time Pushcart Nominee, Harriell’s poems have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. Cotton (Aquarius Press-Willow Books 2010) is his first collection of poems.  He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Chicago State University.

Click HERE for the article.

English Alumnus, Taylor Sledge, Finds Success in Finance

TaylorHeadshotPoundPhotographyRed3Click HERE for the story.

MFA Candidates Maggie Woodward and Gothatoane Moeng Chosen for the 2016 Seaside Writers Conference

973085Click HERE for more.

Gregory Heyworth delivers his talk: How I’m Discovering the Secrets of Ancient Texts at TEDxUM

a20f5f07626892c34e76c875ad18b739cf7a2692_254x191Click HERE to watch the video.

Chris Offutt to read at Square Books on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 – 5:00pm

465_1chris_offuttChris Offutt will read from his latest work My Father, The Pornographer at Square Books on Wednesday, February 10th at 5p.m.  For more information, click here.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

nezhukumatathil.purpleAimee Nezhukumatathil, 2016-2017 John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence and author of *Lucky Fish.* 

Hubert Creekmore State Historical Marker Dedication, October 9th, 4p.m. Water Valley, Mississippi

UntitledPlease join us for the unveiling of the State Historical Marker dedicated to the life and work of Mississippi author Hubert Creekmore (1907 – 1966) on Friday, October 9th at 4p.m. in Water Valley, Mississippi.

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Unveiling of the State Historical Marker at 114 Panola Street, the family home built by his father Hiram Hubert Creekmore around 1900.

5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Reminiscences of Hubert Creekmore and

Reading from his Work at Bozarts Gallery at 403 N. Main St.

Refreshments served.

This program brings together family members, scholars, readers, archivists, students and all those who care about preserving and recovering Mississippi’s literary heritage. The program features recitations of poems from four published collections of his poetry, a reading from each of his three novels including The Welcome, a novel set in Water Valley, as well as readings, commentary, and overviews of his numerous translations of literature from Latin and his non-fictional work.   Also on view will be paintings on loan by the family, photography, and various editions of his books as well as a facsimile exhibition of letters and material items pertaining to his life curated by Dr. Jennifer Ford, head of Special Collections at the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi.

This event is free and open to the public. Please direct inquiries to Dr. Annette Trefzer atrefzer@olemiss.edu or 662-473-2484, or Mr. Mickey Howley: 662-473-6767.

Beth Ann Fennelly Awarded Fall 2015 Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize

See the full story here.