Wright celebration starts today

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Natchez — Natchez’s celebration of its native son Richard Wright will begin tonight at 7 with opening ceremonies at the Natchez Convention Center.

The 19th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration is dedicated to the life of Wright, his works and his influence on literature. The celebration coincides with Wright’s centennial.

“We’ve had celebrations before that had components of Richard Wright, but this one is all about him and will tie in with his centennial,” NLCC co-chair Carolyn Vance Smith said. “Wright has such a huge following. He’s now in all of the anthologies in high schools and colleges. He was the John Grisham of his day.”

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Wright was born in 1908 in rural Adams County and died at the age of 52 in Paris, France. His works include “Native Son,” “Uncle Tom’s Children,” “The Outsider,” “Black Boy” and “A Father’s Law.” Wright is considered one of the country’s greatest black writers and was among the first black writers to achieve literary fame.

A 7:15 p.m. screening of “Richard Wright: Black Boy,” a documentary of the life of Wright, will follow the opening ceremonies. Tickets to both of today’s events are free.

The celebration will offer close to 30 events and will continue through Sunday. Tickets to most of the events are free. For ticket information, contact the NLCC at 601-446-1289 or 866-296-6522.