Their words have won Pulitzer Prizes and National Book Awards. They have borne titles, such as Nobel Laureate and US Poet Laureate. Their imaginations have captured the nation. And now Mississippi’s legacy of literary greats is the focus of the new Mississippi Writers Trail.
Launched in 2018 with the unveiling of the first trail marker for the late Eudora Welty outside of her Jackson home, the Writers Trail helps tell the complete story of some of the world’s greatest authors. Visitors can learn more about these well-known wordsmiths by viewing the markers—each designed in the image of an open book—outside some of the places that inspired their masterpieces.
Just like a great novel, this story is still unfolding as literary scholars determine which writers will be honored with a marker. A trail marker for Gulf Coast region native and two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward is in the works, and state officials say the list of future honorees already will likely include such prominent names as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Natasha Trethewey and Richard Ford.
Welty’s own words, immortalized on the inaugural trail marker, help to illuminate the motivation behind this new project and how its existence will resonate with literature lovers from around the world: “One place comprehended,” she wrote, “can make us understand other places better.”