Discuss all things Greg Iles Saturday

Published 12:01 am Friday, October 3, 2014

“Home town boy makes good” should be the title of the next offering for “The Power of Place: The Natchez Impact on Five Extraordinary Authors,” a free series of lectures, films, and discussions.

These sessions are hosted at the Judge George Armstrong Library, 220 S. Commerce St., the first Saturday each month from now until February (except December). They showcase five of Mississippi’s most famous authors, including Richard Wright, Ellen Douglas, Eudora Welty and William Johnson.  But wait, that’s only four—who’s the fifth one?

As indicated in the first sentence, the Oct. 4 session will focus on a Natchez man who happens to be the only living author being discussed: our own Greg Iles.

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Iles grew up in Natchez, and graduated from Ole Miss in 1983. He wrote his first novel “Spandau Phoenix,” in 1993. He has since published 14 more books in a variety of genres, each of which has been on the bestseller’s list. His most recent book, “Natchez Burning,” is the first of a planned trilogy, and was just released this year.

The recommended reading for Saturday’s session is “Natchez Burning,” but it is not required in order to attend. The agenda includes a mix of film, commentary and discussion, including:

4A viewing of Mississippi Public Broadcasting’s “Best Sellers,” which features an in-depth interview with Iles, John Grisham and Nevada Barr, together as a group.

4A discussion by Susanne Kirk, Iles’ former editor at Simon & Schuster, on how Iles uses place, especially Natchez, as an essential and dynamic element of his novels.

4Phil English & Josh English will discuss Iles’ latest novel. English has taught at State University of New York, the Strategic Air Command, Southeast Louisiana University, the University of Wisconsin and Berea College. He has since retired from the academic world, and makes his home in Natchez, a decision that was influenced in part by his interest in Iles’ novels.

His son Josh is a writer and a poet, and has won numerous grants and fellowships for his work.

This series of author talks is the prelude to the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, which will be hosted Feb. 27 and 28, 2015, with the theme of “Bigger Than Life: Extraordinary Mississippians.”

Sponsors of the literary series are the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Judge George W. Armstrong Public Library, Friends of the Armstrong Library, Natchez National Historical Park and the Mississippi Writers Guild, with support of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting and the Mississippi Humanities Council.

The project is directed by Carolyn Vance Smith of the NLCC and Co-Lin Community College, Kathleen Jenkins of the Natchez National Historic Park, Mark LaFrancis of the Mississippi Writers Guild, Pamela Plummer of the Armstrong Library and Robin Person of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Registration is not required to attend the series, and drop-ins are welcome.

Continuing Education Units for teachers are $10, and are available by emailing emily.edwards@colin.edu, or by signing in at the door. Future literary topic authors include Ellen Douglas on Nov. 1, Eudora Welty on Jan. 3, and William Johnson on Feb. 7.

For more information about the program, please call 601-446-1289 or email NLCC@colin.edu.


Robin Person is the director of Historic Jefferson College.