On Thursday, the Columbus Arts Council’s Mississippi Writers’ Series presents nationally syndicated columnist and author Rheta Grimsley Johnson in a “lunch and talk” at the Rosenzweig Arts Center in downtown Columbus. Johnson’s noon talk is free to the public. A preceding lunch is offered at 11:30 a.m. for $12, reserved in advance by noon Wednesday.
For more than three decades, Johnson has captivated readers around the nation. Her columns datelined “Fishtrap Hollow” and penned from her home in northeast Mississippi are provocative and honest — as are her books, like “The Dogs Buried Over the Bridge” (John F. Blair, 2016) and “Hank Hung the Moon and Warmed our Cold, Cold Hearts” (NewSouth Books, 2012).
Fellow author Deborah Johnson of Columbus has helped coordinate the Writers’ Series.
“I love Rheta,” she said. “We’ve done a number of signings (together). She’s just got such a wonderful down-home way about her and always makes a wonderful presentation. Whatever she talks about is interesting.”
Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s weekly essays for King Features Syndicate of New York are distributed to approximately 50 newspapers nationwide. The Auburn alumna is a past recipient of an American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Distinguished Writing Award for Commentary; the Ernie Pyle Journalism Award and the National Headliner Award for Commentary. In 1991, she was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary. In 2010 she was awarded the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction.
How to go
Event seating is limited. Although the noon talk is free, reservations for planning purposes are appreciated. Reservations for the 11:30 a.m. lunch will be accepted through noon Wednesday, unless seats are filled before then. Reservations for the talk alone, or for lunch, may be made at columbus-arts.org, or call the arts council at 662-328-2787 (closed Mondays).
“As you enjoy your lunch, join this award-winning author for a discussion of her works, a Q&A and readings from her very popular books,” encouraged CAC Program Manager Beverly Norris. Books will be available for purchase and signing.
Deborah Johnson added, “This is a wonderful way to get to know the people who are writing our books essentially about our own communities and our state.”
The arts council’s Writers’ Series is an official Mississippi Bicentennial project made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the Mississippi Development Authority (Visit Mississippi). Grant partners include Main Street Columbus and Mississippi University for Women’s Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy. Additional support is provided by an anonymous sponsor in memory of Lilla Pratt Rosamond and John Brown, by Visit Columbus, The Dispatch and Mississippi Arts Commission.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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