Did you know that Greenville, Mississippi, boasts “more published writers per capita” than any other town in the nation? Shelby Foote, historian, novelist and narrator/writer of PBS’s widely acclaimed Civil War series was born here. Poet and biographer William Alexander Percy, novelists Walker Percy, Ellen Douglas and Beverly Lowry and PBS commentator Hodding Carter III also grew up here. William Faulkner was a frequent visitor (and occasional resident) when another Greenville author, Ben Wasson, served as the Nobel Prize winner’s literary agent. Hodding Carter won the Pulitzer Prize as Editor of Greenville’s Delta Democrat Times. Bern Keating was Greenville’s most prolific penman with more than two dozen books and hundreds of articles in publications ranging from National Geographic to Playboy.  Julia Reed, Gayden Metcalfe, Charlotte Hays, and Princella Nowell are some of the more contemporary Greenville authors who enjoy a great deal of popularity across the nation. 

And why, you ask, does Greenville produce so many creative minds? It's the brown water! Our water source comes from the Cockfield aquifer. The water filters through three ancient cypress swamps, picking up particles from wood and vegetation thousands of years old. The particles are dissolved in the water, giving it a brownish color. And it's DELICIOUS. And makes your hair soft and your skin smooth. And obviously awakens a dormant literary gene in local residents. 

So, we encourage you to drink the brown water and benefit from its mythical powers. In keeping with our commitment to our literary heritage, the Greenville Arts Council sponsors a series of readings and visits with authors from around the state. In the past, we have hosted the following: 

The Artful Evolution of Hal and Mal’s by Malcolm White, with illustrator Ginger Williams-Cook

Short Mean Fiction by William Dunlap (also a poetry reading by William Coppage)

Various writings from Leland authors Jimmy Reed and Billy Johnson

Dust in the Road by Hank Burdine

Catfish Dream by Julian Rankin 

Yard War by Taylor Kitchings 

Crooked Snake by Lovejoy Boteler

We plan to continue this series throughout the coming year. We hope you'll join us!

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