Annual Natchez literary conference to explore Southern Gothic traditions

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 11, 2018

By Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — Organizers of the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration say this year’s conference has something for everyone in Natchez to enjoy.

Copiah Lincoln Community College hosts the 29th annual conference from Feb. 22-24 at the Natchez Convention Center. This year the event will be filled with featured novelists, artists and musicians associated with the Southern Gothic genre.

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NLCC co-chairman Brett Brinegar said that the conference offers a little something for everyone.

“(NLCC is) a great opportunity if you’re a reader … but even if you don’t read there are a lot of events and presentations available that will interest you,” said Brinegar.

She said there will be an on-site bookstore, three to four book signings, and an art market to occupy attendees, and those who don’t wish to attend certain presentations may choose to shop around the convention center instead.

“It’s a come and go event,” Brinegar said, “You can come in, attend a few sessions, go out and shop or just explore downtown. We have lots of events going on.”

Turning Pages Books will offer selections from the NLCC’s speakers and other novels from the Southern Gothic genre. Artwork in a variety of media will be available to view and purchase at the art market.

All events at the convention center are free of charge and open to the public. The NLCC conference will open 6 p.m. Thursday at the convention center with the showing of two films.

The first is a short film by Mike Chapman entitled Local Landscapes. Following at 7:15 p.m. will be a cinema event, showing “Reconciliation in Mississippi” by David Ridgen, who will be present to answer questions following the film.

Saturday will begin with an opening ceremony followed by a presentation by Belhaven University professor and author of “The Scribe,” Dr. Matthew Guinn titled “What is Southern Gothic?”

Other guest authors, musicians, and artists are set to speak and perform at the conference, including Richard Grant, author of “Dispatches from Pluto,” “Crazy River,” and “American Nomads.”

Folklorist Victor Bouvéron, who conducted  extensive research of the blues will be alongside blues musician Ray Cashman, who will perform at 6 p.m. at the Rolling River Bistro. Admission to the performance is free.

This year’s NLCC will include three ticketed events that are optional to attendees.

“We’re trying to really promote the community,” Brinegar said, “For example, the ghost tour is a cooperative effort with Glenfield Plantion … ticket sales for events like this really benefit local businesses.”

Tickets for the ghost tour at Glenfield Plantation starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23, are being sold as part of the NLCC for $25 each.

A benefit luncheon at Dunleith Plantation from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday is $30 per attendees.

The conference will close with a benefit cocktail reception to honor guest speakers, authors and patrons at The Elms starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday for $60 each. The cost of tickets includes a buffet prepared by award winning chef Esther Carpenter and an open bar.

“The final Gala cocktail buffet party is just fantastic,” Brinegar said, “Esther Carpenter does a great job.”

Tickets can be purchased by contacting Brett Brinegar at

“We’re really trying to make this about more than just books or just film or just topics” Brinegar said, “(We want to) make this a community event … There really is something for everyone.”