HED: Celebrations of Faulkner's 100th kick off today
By Rick Hynum
It's the sort of celebration that would have sent William Faulkner scurrying for cover or maybe for the nearest bottle.
New Albany, the town of the shy, reclusive novelist's birth, and Oxford, the town that raised him, will honor his 100th birthday today with a statue unveiling, speeches, panel discussions, live music and fireworks.
New Albany's William Faulkner Centennial Celebration, to be held at the Union County Courthouse, is the bigger of the two bashes, beginning at 2 p.m. today and running through Saturday. Activities include panel discussions with Faulkner cohorts, guided tours, stage productions and storytelling.
Among the New Albany highlights: a performance of John Maxwell's one-man play, "Oh, Mr. Faulkner, Do You Write?" at 8 p.m. Friday, and a musical interpretation of "As I Lay Dying" at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Oxford's celebration begins at 10 a.m. with the unveiling of a life-sized, bronze statue on the Courthouse Square. Speakers will include authors Shelby Foote and Willie Morris, the Hon. John Brademas, president emeritus of New York University and former member of Congress, and the Right Rev. A.C. Marble Jr., bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi.
At 2 p.m., the University of Mississippi pays its respects with a program at Fulton Chapel. Speakers will include the Right Rev. Duncan M. Gray, Jr., bishop emeritus of the Episcopal Diocese of Mississippi; Dr. Donald Kartiganer, Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies at Ole Miss; Square Books owner Richard Howorth; author Larry Brown; and Evans Harrington, professor emeritus of English.
Square Books will conclude Oxford's festivities with a 6 p.m. toast to Faulkner at Off Square Books.
For an added touch of irony, Faulkner, whose early life included a notorious stint as Ole Miss postmaster, will be honored by the University Post Office with a commemorative postal cancellation. Any mail sent out today can be marked with the stamp, which depicts Faulkner's Underwood typewriter.
Faulkner Centennial Ceremony (Oxford)
8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Commemorative postal cancellation, University Post Office, Ole Miss campus
10 a.m. Unveiling of Faulkner statue and remarks by Mississippi authors, clergy leaders and other guests, Courthouse Square
2 p.m. Remarks by Mississippi authors, clergy leaders and educators, and Faulkner readings by local actors, Fulton Chapel, Ole Miss campus
6 p.m. A toast to Faulkner, Off Square Books, Courthouse Square