Video: ‘Tupelo Reads’ Brings Authors To School, Library For History Lesson

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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – An annual initiative promoting literacy is underway in one area city.  As WCBI’s Allie Martin reports,  this year’s “Tupelo Reads” features a husband and wife writing team, who have used a tragic natural disaster as the backdrop for a novel filled with murder and mystery.

About sixty THS students spent their English class listening to husband and wife authors Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly.  They talked about the book writing process,  how they work together and even read a portion of their novel “The Tilted World.”

The novel is this year’s pick for “Tupelo Reads”.  It is a fictional tale of murder and intrigue, set against the backdrop of the very real and devastating Mississippi flood of 1927.

“It’s little known, it’s also a terrific story,” Franklin said.

In fact, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the nation’s history, displacing more than 630,000  people, and giving rise to a migration of tens of thousands of African Americans from the south to northern and midwestern industrial cities.

“The blues music that happened at this time, with everybody around here with nothing to do and nothing to pick, their instruments and the blues, really also changed the face of American music forever, this region was changed in many many ways due to the flood,” Fennelly said.

After answering lots of questions from high school students,  the authors were featured at the Lee County Library’s Lunching with Books.   Most in this crowd had read “The Tilted World,” and believed there were some relevant lessons in the novel.

“I didn’t know much about the 1927 flood that occurred here in Mississippi, this is a fictionalized account of some folks who get caught up in that, I enjoyed the characters,” said Jeff Tomlinson, director of the Lee County Library.

“For young people, it makes it more personal, when they see other people, even though they’re fictional, people, going through that situation, surviving with courage, strength, getting through that, I think that helps them understand what Mississippi is about,” said Ripley resident Pat Stanford.

The authors say they want to not only entertain, but inspire readers to dig deeper into history, and make reading a part of life.

“Tupelo Reads” continues Thursday night with a sold out concert at the Silver Moon Club.

Categories: Local News

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