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Pitts, Brewer Headline Welty Writers’ Symposium

MISSISSIPPI UNIVERSITY FOR WOMEN

PRESS RELEASE

Sonny Brewer

COLUMBUS, Miss. — Alabama author Sonny Brewer will be the keynote speaker for the 24th annual Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium at Mississippi University for Women, Oct. 18-20.

Brewer returns to the Symposium after a well-received appearance in 2006 with his first novel “The Poet of Tolstoy Park.” He is founder of Over the Transom Bookstore in Fairhope, Ala., where he has also managed the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts and published stories from the “Blue Moon Café” and edited the collection of essays “Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit.”

He has also published three more novels, “A Sound Like Thunder,” “Cormac: The Tale of a Dog Gone Missing” and “The Widow and the Tree,” which was recently awarded the 2012 Alabama Library Association Book award for fiction. Brewer spent some of his early years in Mississippi, attending Stephen D. Lee High School in Columbus. He is currently editor-in-chief of McAdam/Cage Publishing.
Other authors who will participate in this year’s Symposium include Carolyn Haines, Michael Kardos, Josh Russell, Kelly Norman Ellis, Catherine Pierce, Frank X Walker, Olympia Vernon, Jessica Maria Tuccelli, Anthony Abbott, Christopher Lowe and scholars Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown, co-authors of  “One Writers’ Garden: Eudora Welty’s Home Place,” which has been selected for the Welty Prize.

This year’s theme is “River the Color of Blood’: Crime and Passion in a Gothic South.” Brewer’s novel, “The Widow and the Tree,” is “a haunting, dark and moody tale” that “tells the tale of Ghosthead Oak, a 500-year-old live oak tree that has stood guard over the widow’s lands since long before she was born,” and is a perfect complement to the theme, drawn from Eudora Welty’s gothic tale, “The Robber Bridegroom.”

Additional information about the Symposium, which is free and open to the public, can be found at www.muw.edu/welty <http://www.muw.edu/welty>  or by contacting director Dr. Kendall Dunkelberg at (662) 329-7386. The Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium is also on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter (@WeltySymposium).
The Writers’ Symposium is a part of the signature Welty Series event held annually in October to honor the university’s world-renowned alumna. As a part of the Welty Series, MUW also hosts the Welty Gala.

This year’s gala will feature Byron Pitts, chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. Dinner starts at 7 p.m. in the Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope Banquet Room.

Tickets are sold at different levels and offer opportunities for attendees to enjoy a private reception with the guest speaker along with premium seating during dinner. Proceeds from the Gala benefit the endowment for the Eudora Welty Chair in Humanities. For more information, call the Office of Development at (662) 329-7148.

Welty Gala at MUW to feature Emmy award winning journalist Byron Pitts

Byron Pitts

COLUMBUS, Miss. – As chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News, Byron Pitts has covered some of the nation’s latest headlines, from the upcoming presidential election to Hurricane Isaac.

However, the tables will turn Friday, Oct. 19, placing Pitts in the spotlight as the featured speaker for the 2012 Welty Gala sponsored by Mississippi University for Women’s Foundation. The event will be held at 7 p.m. in the Mary Ellen Weathersby Pope Banquet Room on campus.

Known for his thought-provoking coverage and his commitment to exceptional storytelling, Pitts is a multiple Emmy award winning journalist. As chief national correspondent for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric, Pitts was an embedded reporter covering the Iraq War and was recognized for his work under fire.

Pitts was also CBS’ lead correspondent at Ground Zero immediately following the September 11th attacks and won an Emmy for his coverage. A news veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Pitts has covered other major stories including the war in Afghanistan, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the military buildup in Kuwait and the refugee crisis in Kosovo, to name a few. Pitts realized a life-long goal when he was named a Contributing Correspondent to CBS’ 60 Minutes in 2009.

His many achievements are all the more extraordinary when he tells of the many obstacles he faced as a child in his book “Step Out on Nothing: How Faith and Family Helped Me Conquer Life’s Challenges.”

Raised by a single mother in a working class neighborhood in Baltimore, Pitts was illiterate until the age of 12 and had a persistent stutter. Capitalizing on his desire to play football, his mother mandated he received grades of Bs or above in school in order to play. With that focus, Pitts learned to read and went on to attend Ohio Wesleyan University. With the help of his roommate and a college professor, Pitts found the support and encouragement necessary to pursue a career in broadcast journalism-a field that demands excellence in writing and speaking. By staying focused, setting simple and achievable goals and finding strength in faith, Pitts overcame his powerful odds and his disability. He graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s in journalism and speech communication.

The Welty Gala is a part of the signature Welty Series held annually in October to honor the university’s world-renowned alumna Eudora Welty. As a part of the Welty Series, MUW also hosts the Eudora Welty Writers’ Symposium scheduled Oct. 18-20.

Gala tickets are sold at different levels and offer opportunities for attendees to enjoy a private reception with the guest speaker along with premium seating during dinner. A book signing and question and answer session will follow the program.

For ticket and sponsorship information, call the Office of Development at (662) 329-7148.

Proceeds from the Gala benefit the endowment for the Eudora Welty Chair in Humanities. The Robert M. Hearin Support Foundation is a major sponsor of the Welty Series.