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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Sixty Odd Years of Mapping the Literary

As we announced back in May, the Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden is traveling to Mississippi in a few short weeks to participate in Mississippi Literary Lawn Party activities and we couldn't be more thrilled. (Seriously, if you haven't marked the Mississippi Book Festival on your calendar for August 19, you need to do it now!) One of her many planned events while in Jackson is the unveiling of Mississippi's brand new literary map. This map, commissioned by the Mississippi Library Commission and the Mississippi Center for the Book, honors our state's rich literary culture and history.

The 2017 Mississippi Literary Map, which features 21 Mississippi authors illustrated by Jacksonian Ginger Williams Cook, is the latest in a series of maps put out by various literary-minded agencies in our state. One has appeared approximately every twenty years, each featuring a new representation of the lit set in Mississippi. In 1951, a blue-green hued map was created by two professors at Mississippi Southern College (now the University of Southern Mississippi). It was endorsed by the Mississippi Education Association.
Section of 1951 Mississippi Literary Map
A new map in 1970 had a more minimalist design. This map was put out by the Mississippi Library Association, which created a special Literary Map Committee for the occasion.
Section of 1970 Mississippi Literary Map
By the way, if you caught our teaser on Facebook yesterday, this angel represented Mississippi author Elizabeth Spencer's book No Place for an Angel.

In 1992, a literary map consisting of a collection of watercolor portraits by Wyatt Waters took the spotlight. It was compiled by the Mississippi Council of Teachers of English and sponsored by Delta State University. Funding was partially provided by an LSTA grant administered by the Mississippi Library Commission.
Section of 1992 Mississippi Literary Map

Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds as we share more from these fascinating old maps. We're counting down the days until Carla Hayden reveals the new map at the Mississippi Book Festival and can't wait to see who's on it!

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