Natchez Literary Cinema Celebration starts today, lasts through Saturday

Published 7:00 am Thursday, February 24, 2022

NATCHEZ — Whether you’re a fan of history, literature or movies, the Natchez Literary Cinema Celebration annual conference has something in it for you.

The event starts Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at the Natchez Convention Center and continues until 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Friday at 8:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 7:45 p.m.

This year marks the NLCC’s 33rd annual conference, which is sponsored by Copiah-Lincoln Community College, the City of Natchez, the Adams County Board of Supervisors, Visit Natchez, Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Humanities Council, the National Park Service and by contributions of individuals and businesses throughout the state and region.

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The NLCC is a time-honored tradition with a reputation as one of the state’s most significant annual conferences devoted to literature, history, film and culture.

Each February, the NLCC chooses a new topic related to humanities in the American South and brings nationally known scholars and authors to Natchez.

This year’s theme, “Mississippi: A Tapestry of American Life,” explores the microcosm of American History found within the indigenous, European and African cultures exhibited in the region.

Keynote speakers in the 2022 celebration include: Richard Blackett, Virginia Postrel, Lauran VanHuss, Michael Gorra, Nik Ribianszky, Mike Bunn, Max Grivno, Sarah Duggan, Cory James Young, Rita Williams Garcia, Chris Barton, Tim Tingle, R.J. Lee, Susan Cushman, Ty Seidule, Christian Pinnen, Brian Duong, Ben Powell, Caleb McDaniel, Margaret McMullan, Josh Foreman and Ryan Starrett, Maurice Carlos Ruffin and Patrick O’Connor.

After opening with food and libations from the Natchez Heritage School of Cooking, Thursday’s agenda includes two screening events: “Smoots” a short film presented by Natchez Native Brian Duong and “Look Away, Look Away” documentary on the changing of the Mississippi state flag by Patrick O’Connor.

Friday’s event kicks off with special recognition of this year’s William Winter Scholars and Vance Fellows. Each Winter Scholar is chosen by his or her education institution as the Humanities Division’s most outstanding student, faculty member or professional while the William and Harriet Vance Memorial fellowships are awarded each year to selected teachers.

These fellowships are given in memory of William Jackson Vance and Harriet Mitchell Vance of Natchez, Mississippi, who were longtime supporters of Co-Lin and the NLCC.

This will be followed by another film “NLCC Tribute to William Winter” presented by G. Mark LaFrancis.

The first panel starts at 9 a.m., “The Complexities of Early Mississippi,” featuring Christian Pinnen, Mississippi College, Dr. Max Grivno, University of Southern Mississippi, and Mike Bunn, Director of Historic Blakeley State Park in Spanish Fort, Alabama.

Other panelists include Dr. Cory James Young from the University of Nebraska, who will discuss how Pennsylvania businessmen came to Natchez to make their fortunes and left behind some of the area’s most iconic plantations, including Melrose and Dunleith.

This will be followed by a lecture from Sarah Duggan of the Historic New Orleans Collection who will discuss Pennsylvania furniture and decorative arts that are still present in Natchez homes. The day concludes with an indigo dyeing workshop at the Mississippi School of Folk Arts, and a meal by Lil Italia just before the Krewe of Phoenix Mardi Gras Parade at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s event is for the young writers and book lovers and includes readings, lectures and book signings from notable authors and scholars, including New Orleans author Maurice Ruffin author of the short story collection “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You” and Pulitzer Prize winner Caleb McDaniel, author of “The Sweet Taste of Liberty.”

Most events in the NLCC are free to attend and will be live-streamed on the Natchez Literary Cinema Celebration Facebook page.  ­

For more information call 601-446-1104, email or visit