- Associated Press - Friday, February 13, 2015

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - From literary legends William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams to blues musicians Robert Johnson and B.B. King, the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration will pay homage to some of Mississippi’s most revered icons.

The theme of the 26th annual celebration is “Bigger Than Life: Extraordinary Mississippians.”

Events begin Thursday, Feb. 26, and continue through Saturday, Feb. 28.

Celebration founder and cochairman Carolyn Vance Smith said this year’s conference gives a reverent nod to a wide range of Mississippi natives.

“We strive to create a balanced program using living and deceased subjects, black and white, male and female from various fields of interest,” Smith said. “With only two conference days to cover the huge subject of extraordinary Mississippians, choosing people on whom to focus was very difficult.”

Since its 1990 inception, the celebration has showcased a long list of Mississippi’s literary, cinema, music and cultural achievements. Boasting countless renowned speakers in years past like Maya Angelou, Ellen Douglas and Eudora Welty, the program has blossomed into a premier Natchez event.

“The NLCC might in one sense be likened to a Southern Chautauqua, but one convened in stately Southern mansions,” Smith said.

This year, the event’s advisory committee worked to incorporate new elements that would attract residents of all ages.

Saturday, Feb. 28 will specifically cater to families with kid friendly events like a Chocolate Milk Café and writing project for young students.

“There is something for everyone - young and old - at this year’s celebration,” said Teresa Busby, vice president of CopiahLincoln Community College.

Other events on the program’s agenda include a special luncheon featuring the favorite recipes of the late Craig Claiborne, the longtime New York Times food writer, a multimedia musical program based on Mississippi poet Margaret Walker and a special reception at the Natchez Museum of African American History and Culture.

CoLin President Ronnie Nettles said he hopes this year’s celebration shines a light on the state’s vast cultural accomplishments - and the individuals who made them possible.

“There is so much in our state to be proud of,” Nettles said. “And while it’s impossible for us to recognize everyone, the program will have a great representation.”

Nettles will kick off the program Friday, Feb. 27, at the Natchez Convention Center

The conference is free except for three events, which require tickets purchased in advance: The Margaret Walker Concert ($10), Craig Claiborne luncheon ($25) and the NLCC’s only fundraiser, a reception and dinner at King’s Tavern ($145).

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Online

https://www.colin.edu/nlcc

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/


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