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Home > Trailfest Events > Georgia > Savannah Book Festival: February 19, 2011



By Jane Thimme

Jane Thimme is the representative for the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home to the Southern Literary Trail.

Jane Thimme welcomes Book Festival visitors to the SLT table.The 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 Festival guests visit the Trail's table in Savannah.appreciated 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 about.

The Southern Literary Trail's table in Savannah.Other 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."

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