Elizabeth Spencer Memorial Celebration
On February 15 at 11:00 a.m. the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters sponsored a memorial event to celebrate the life of writer Elizabeth Spencer, who died on December 22, 2019, at the age of 98. The event was held at the Cotesworth Culture & Heritage Center in Spencer’s hometown, Carrollton, Mississippi. Cotesworth is the former home of U.S. senator J. Z. George and was featured in the movie The Help as well as The Sound & the Fury. Hunter Cole, author and close friend to Spencer, presided as master of ceremonies. Several members of our MIAL board and others were on hand to read from Spencer’s stories and memoirs. For more about Cotesworth visit https://cotesworthcenter.org/
Spencer was honored in 2009 with a Lifetime Achievement award from Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 2015 she won the MIAL fiction award for her short story collection Starting Over. James G. Thomas, Jr., President of MIAL states, "The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters was honored to sponsor the celebration of the life of Elizabeth Spencer in her hometown. She was one of the great chroniclers of our state, of our region, of the world." Among Spencer’s many awards, the most recent is inclusion in the prestigious Library of America. In the fall of 2019, a Writers Trail marker, sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission, was unveiled on the square in Carrollton to honor her.
Dr. Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Professor of English emerita, says of Spencer's work,
"The world Elizabeth Spencer brought to life in her fiction was vast, stretching from Carroll County, Mississippi, in the 1930s to an urban U.S. and to Europe and Canada throughout the century, and then, in Landscapes of the Heart at century's end, back to the South. She saw us, understood us, told our stories."
Below are photos from the Elizabeth Spencer Memorial Celebration.
From the Archives: A Reading by Elizabeth Spencer Jan. 14, 2020
On Saturday, March 15, 1998, during the Fifth Oxford Conference for the Book, Elizabeth Spencer returned to the University of Mississippi, where in 1948 she was Instructor of English. She read “Field of Battle” from her new memoir, Landscapes of the Heart. Click Here