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Virtual Book Club to discuss ‘Deepest South of All,’ include discussion of book with author

NATCHEZ — “The Deepest South of All” — arguably the most talked-about book in Natchez about Natchez — will be the topic of discussion for an upcoming virtual book club event.

Launched in September, the book by New York Times bestselling author Richard Grant has been fodder for conversations on social media and in the community since.

“It definitely has been a hot topic in the community,” Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration Coordinator Emily Williams said.

The two-night event, to be hosted via Zoom at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, will be hosted by the NLCC and the Carolyn Vance Smith Natchez Literary Research Center on the Natchez Campus of Copiah-Lincoln Community College.

Williams said the virtual book club will be in two parts. The first part will take the format of a traditional book club. The second part will be a live-streamed discussion of the book with the author. Retired Co-Lin history instructor Jim Wiggins will moderate both parts.

“Jim is so well respected in the community and will be a neutral party in the discussion,” Williams said. “He will keep the discussion on track.”

Wiggins said he knows that many people have already expressed their opinions about the book and wants the book club discussion to look past personal feelings.

“The book is about Natchez. So, I expect some people will have their likes and dislikes,” Wiggins said. “I want the discussion to be more than that. Hopefully, I will be able to steer the conversation in a direction to discuss the how and why (Grant) wrote the things he did in the book.”

Wiggins said one example is examining Grant’s use of the present tense in certain sections of the book and the past tense in others.

“I hope we will be able to get into that sort of discussion,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins said he expects a lively discussion from local people who have a unique perspective about the book.

“People in Natchez are going to read the book differently than those who read it from outside Natchez,” Wiggins said.

Williams said participants in the first meeting would be encouraged to ask questions and offer insight, which Wiggins will use for his discussion with Grant in the following week.

“Through the discussion, Jim will be collecting and compiling questions for Richard on Oct. 13,” Williams said.

The second event, Williams said, will be more like a live-streamed conversation between Wiggins and Grant. Participants will not be able to ask questions during the conversation directly but will be able to post comments in an accompanying live chat.

Williams said both events are free and expected to last approximately an hour. Because seating is limited for the event, pre-registration is required. To register for the book club, send an email to NLCC@colin.edu or call 601-446-1104. On Friday, approximately 20 people had already signed up for the book club.

Bookplates personalized by Grant that can be inserted in copies of “Deepest South of All” can be purchased with a $5 donation to help cover expenses. Registration for the book club is not required to order a bookplate. To request a bookplate, send an email to NLCC@colin.edu or call 601-446-1104.

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