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USM hosting 2024 Society for The Study of Southern Literature Conference June 23-26

Wed, 06/19/2024 - 09:28am | By: David Tisdale


For the first time, The Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSSL) will hold its biennial conference in Mississippi with The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) hosting the event June 23-26 at the Courtyard Marriot, 1600 East Beach Blvd., in Gulfport. The theme for this year’s event is “Reconstruction(s).”

The SSSL 2024 conference features keynote speaker Jesmyn Ward, an award-winning novelist and native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast who will discuss her latest work Let Us Descend and give a book signing Sunday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. Sponsors for Ward’s lecture include USM’s College of Arts and Sciences, Center for the Study of the Gulf South, School of Coastal Resilience, and School of Humanities, along with Jackson State University’s (JSU) Department of English and Modern Languages.

Jesmyn Ward

Jesmyn Ward

Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

Another conference event that is free and open to the public will be a literary salon, “Write Southern, Write Now!” set for Tuesday, June 25 at 7 p.m. and sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council, USM’s Center for Writers, and JSU’s Margaret Walker Center. Featured writers participating in the literary salon include Minrose Gwin and A.H. Jerriod Avant.

All other SSSL 2024 Conference events are open only to registered attendees and members of the organization.  

"We’re excited to host the SSSL 2024 Biennial Conference, as it marks the first time it has been held in Mississippi, so, it was important to have support from other state institutions - Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi - as a collective effort for this historic event,” said Dr. Sherita Johnson, associate professor of English at USM and current president of the SSSL. “And to have Jesmyn Ward as the keynote speaker at the conference signifies the preeminence of Mississippi writing and writers in the canon of Southern Literature today."

Learn more information about the SSSL Conference.