By Jane Thimme
Jane Thimme is the representative for the Flannery O'Connor
Childhood Home to the Southern Literary Trail.
Southern Literary Trail scored a hit at the 4th Annual
Savannah Book Festival on February 19—a perfect sunny day. The six
foot table of Trail materials located in the authors’ tent received
a continuous stream of visitors from 10 am to 5 pm. The tent was at
the hub of the venues in Telfair Square where over 30 contemporary
writers gave talks and fielded questions throughout the day.
The SLT table proved a great addition to the Book Festival.
Over 400 Southern Literary Trail brochures and post cards were
plucked up as were many of the brochures and materials representing
Trail author sites and additional flyers on area attractions. A
large tri-state Trail poster board anchored the table display and
stopped folks in their tracks as they
the great mid-20th century literary names from Alabama, Georgia and
Mississippi. Most had not heard of the Trail and were delighted to
know about it. "Why don't more states do this?" was often heard.
Some folks cruised by the table, grabbing a flyer on the way to
their next author talk—but many others stopped to chat, ask
questions and contribute their own anecdotes and stories. One young
Savannah woman was happy to see the Harper Lee information. She had
written a college thesis on aspects of Southern courtrooms. She was
eager to see the Monroeville Courthouse. An enthusiastic professor
from Randolph-Macon College was pleased to take SLT flyers back to
his Southern Writers classes and wanted to know how the Trail came
visitors were fascinated to learn that Eudora Welty was an
accomplished photographer and that a show of her work is at the
Atlanta History Museum until May. One out-of-towner told of a
personal connection to a well known Mississippi photographer whose
persistence and 2-day vigil at Eudora Welty's home resulted in her
writing the introduction to his photography book not long before
Welty died. And, the Wren's Nest newsletter garnered great cross
cultural interest with its headline "Everything You've Heard About
Uncle Remus Is Wrong." One young father was thrilled to find a
bookseller with the original text of Uncle Remus stories containing
the dialect he had heard and appreciated as a child.
Another friendly woman with a rich southern accent said that she and
her young son visited Flannery O'Connor's farmhouse at Andalusia. "I
just loved it to death," she said. "It was so eerie and spooky. Then
when we were walking to the car, a snake crossed our path. It was
just this big ole King snake, but I knew Flannery put it there."
> Back to Trailfest 2011's Georgia