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Starkville Library program features Welty connoisseur

January 11, 2012

Starkville’s Friends of the Library will present its ongoing series, Books and Authors, at noon today at the Starkville Public Library. The program is free and open to the public.

This month features Suzanne Marrs’ “What There Is to Say We Have Said: The Correspondence of Eudora Welty and William Maxwell,” chronicling the friendship between Pulitzer Prize-winning author Welty and Maxwell, her editor at “The New Yorker” magazine through 50 years of correspondence.

Welty herself wrote, “All letters, old and new, are the still-existing parts of a life.”

Reading the letters between these two friends and remarkable fiction writers brings Welty and Maxwell to life for readers.

Marrs said she always looks forward to speaking at the Starkville Public Library.

“Audiences there are well-informed, ask good questions and offer interesting comments,” Marrs said. “Reading and writing are mostly done in silence and in private, but as readers and writers we long to discuss the literary experiences we have had. Thank goodness libraries provide us with opportunities to do so.”

Marrs said Welty and Maxwell were two magnificent fiction writers who were also friends.

“For more than 50 years, they wrote letters to each other, sharing their worries about work and family; their likes and dislikes; their griefs and joys; their moments of despair and hilarity,” Marrs said. “I was privileged to edit these letters, and I want to share some of the insights, the comic anecdotes, the editorial advice and the reading recommendations I discovered in them.”

Friends of the Starkville Library Publicity Committee member Page Leftwich said the Books and Authors program takes place each school year.

“We feature six Mississippi authors — one each month, September through March, except December,” Leftwich said. “In January, we are very excited to welcome Suzanne Marrs from Jackson to talk about her new book.”

Brenda Harden, chairman of the Books and Authors Program and Friends of the Starkville Library board member, said the group is thrilled for the opportunity to host Marrs.

“We hope to have a great turnout to hear Suzanne Marrs speak on Thursday,” Harden said. “She is an authority on the life of Eudora Welty, and we are fortunate to have her come to the library.”

Marrs is currently the Welty Foundation Scholar in Residence at Millsaps College in Jackson and the author of “Eudora Welty: A Biography” and “One Writer’s Imagination: The Fiction of Eudora Welty.” As a student of Welty’s life, writings and her personal friend, Marrs knows a great deal about Welty.

Copies of Marrs’ book will be available, and refreshments will be provided by the Friends of the Library.

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