Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration 2021 will not disappoint

Published 7:15 pm Thursday, February 11, 2021

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I doubt anyone would disagree the past year has been filled with new challenges that have forced us to change many habits and plans. In many ways we have learned to be a bit more flexible and think outside the box. The Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration is no exception. The award winning and highly regarded NLCC is another great example of adapting to our current circumstances and carrying on. For 32 years the NLCC has created an outstanding event bringing world class scholars, authors, film makers and celebrities to Natchez and providing attendees with incredible exposure to the humanities. Although the NLCC will look a little different, the 2021 version promises not to disappoint; featuring a schedule filled with a slate of amazing speakers and presentations.

Everyone is invited to participate in the very first virtual NLCC. Although most of us will miss the excitement of coming together, Emily Williams, the NLCC Coordinator has worked diligently to make sure the quality of the presenters will still provide an amazing opportunity for learning and enjoyment. Access to the entire conference is free thanks to the generous support of Copiah-Lincoln Community College, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the city of Natchez, Adams County, the Natchez Convention Promotion Commission, and many individuals and businesses in our community.

Presentations revolve around the theme of “Southern Environments.” The schedule features diverse and interesting topics relating how our southern environment is formed and shaped and the influence it has on the humanities. Presentations will cover Ecocriticism, an emerging field of study that examines the various ways literature treats the subject of nature. Additional themes, include writing in nature, environmental justice, nature as a character, and southern social environments.

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The week-long celebration begins Monday, February 22 with opening remarks by Co-Lin president, Dr. Jane Hulon-Sims and Natchez Mayor, Dan Gibson. Following their remarks, a special film tribute honoring the late governor William Winter, a dedicated supporter of the NLCC from its inception, will be presented.

Monday speakers include Ralph Didlake from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, and Jay Watson from the University of Mississippi. Tuesday’s schedule features W. Ralph Eubanks, a visiting professor at the University of Mississippi and a panel of documentary experts including G. Mark LaFrancis, Melanie Addington, Keith Beauchamp, and James Williams.

Tune in Wednesday when Historic Natchez Foundation Director, Carter Burns, and Tammy Greer from the University of Southern Mississippi present along with best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize nominee, Clifton Taulbert. Thursday is no less exciting with featured presentations by Natasha Tretheway, a Pulitzer Prize winning author and two-time United States Poet Laureate, along with Aimee Nezhukumatahil, an award-winning author and professor from the University of Mississippi.

Friday showcases film maker and artist Zaire Love and J. Drew Lanham from Clemson University. Also, on Friday Dr. Billy B. Thames will receive the Thad Cochran Humanities Achievement Award and Dr. Alferdteen Harrison will be presented with the Richard Wright Literary Excellence Award. No Friday evening would be complete without happy hour. Natchez favorite, Mark Brockway, is stirring up cocktails paired with books for a literary twist.

Last, but definitely not least, Saturday’s presentations will bring the conversation closer to home with Natchez native and author, R.J. Lee. Bestselling author of The Deepest South of All: True Stories from Natchez, Mississippi, Richard Grant will wrap up by sharing his process of writing about “place.”

All of the events will be streamed live on the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration Facebook page and via links located on the NLCC webpage. We do hope many of you will be able to submit questions via the chat box to the presenters. If you are unable to attend the live event, please send your questions in advance to or call 601.446.1104. We will work hard to include as many questions as possible. If you have computer or internet issues, you are also welcome to view the presentations live on the Co-Lin Natchez Campus in the Nelson Multipurpose Room located in the Redd Watkins Building. Masks must be worn and social distancing will be required. For a limited time after the event, presentations will be available on the NLCC YouTube Channel. Help us reach an even greater audience by sharing this with your family and friends!

For more detailed information go to our website, or follow us on all social media where information will be posted now and throughout the celebration.

Beth Richard is the Library Director at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Natchez Campus