The 17th Oxford Conference for the Book, set for March 4–6, will be dedicated to the late Barry Hannah, one of Mississippi’s most distinguished contemporary writers. The author of nine novels and four collections of short stories, and the recipient of the Award in Literature from the American Institute of Arts and Letters, Hannah was writer in residence and director of the MFA program in creative writing at the University of Mississippi. Conference sessions on Saturday will discuss his life and work. Confirmed speakers are William Dunlap and Noel Polk on a panel of “Survivors of Geronimo Rex”; fiction writers Tom Franklin and Amy Hempel; Daniel E. Williams, who taught the first course on Hannah’s work; and his former students Anne Rapp and Cynthia Shearer. (February 25, 2010)
I was going through a major life change a few years ago and wanted to find my way back to writing. I decided to enroll in Barry Hannah’s creative writing course thinking it would be fun. Boy was I ever wrong. Instead it was the most grueling and painful experience of my life and one that has forever changed who I am.
Hannah wasn’t my favorite teacher because he was nice. He was a tough cookie with his students but anyone who ever had the joy of getting to experience it knows that they are forever a better writer because of him.