March 2, 2001

Delta fiction novelists to speak
at Blues Symposium VII

Three authors who use the Delta as a setting for their fiction will appear at Delta Blues Symposium VII: Music and Art in the Delta, sponsored by the
Department of English and Philosophy at Arkansas State University. They are Lewis Nordan, Grif Stockley and D. J. Donaldson.

D.J. Donaldson

The three-day event will begin on Thursday, March 29, and continue through Saturday, March 31. All components of the program are free and open to the public.

Lewis Nordan
, professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, has used the Delta as a setting for four novels, three collections of short stories, and a memoir.

His 1993 novel "Wolf Whistle" won the Southern Book Award and the Notable Book Award from the American Library Association. His 1991 novel "Music of the Swamp" was also cited by the American Library Association as well as by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters. Other novels are "The Sharpshooter Blues" and "Lightning Song."

Nordanís short stories have appeared in many periodicals, including Southern Review and Southern Humanities Review. His most recent collection is "Sugar Among the Freaks," which came out in 1996.

Nordan has most recently published "Boy with a

 Grif Stockley

 Loaded Gun," a memoir of growing up in the Mississippi Delta, where he was born in 1939.

A graduate of Millsaps College and Mississippi State University, Nordan holds a Ph. D. from Auburn University and has taught at the University of Pittsburgh since 1983.

He will read from his work at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 30, in the Grand Hall of the Fowler Center. The next morning, Nordan will conduct a fiction workshop for pre-enrolled participants.

On Saturday, March 31, at 3:15 p.m. in Museum 157, D. J. Donaldson and Grif Stockley will discuss Delta popular fiction.

An anatomist at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center in Memphis, where he directs the Microscopic Anatomy Course for medical students, D. J. Donaldson is creator of the Kit Franklin-Andy Broussard series.

The six-book series features the adventures of Broussard, chief medical examiner for New Orleans, and Franklin, his young sidekick who works as a suicide investigator and psychological profiler. The series began in 1988 with "Cajun Nights." Others titles are "Blood on the Bayou," "No Mardi Gras for the Dead," "New Orleans Requiem," "Louisiana Fever," and "Sleeping with the Crawfish."

Donaldson has also written two medical thrillers, "Do No Harm," which appeared in 1999, and "In the Blood," which is due out a couple of weeks before his Delta Blues Symposium appearance.

Grif Stockley, born in Marianna, is now a lawyer in Little Rock, where he has worked for the past 28 years for the Center for Arkansas Legal Services. He has written five novels featuring attorney Gideon Page.

Described as "lawyer novels" rather than traditional mysteries, the series follows the travails of a Delta-born criminal defense attorney, based in a fictionalized Little Rock, as he works on cases that take him throughout Arkansas.

The series began with "Expert Testimony." Other titles are "Probable Cause," "Religious Conviction," "Illegal Motion," and "Blind Judgment." The latest installment in the series "Salted with Fire" is due for publication this spring.

Stockley is currently working on a non-fiction book about the 1919 race violence in Phillips County, conventionally called the "Elaine Race Riot."

Stockley received the 1999 Porter Prize given annually to an Arkansas writer for literary excellence. In June 2000 he was inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame.

In addition to the Department of English and Philosophy, Delta Blues Symposium VII is sponsored by the Convocation of Scholars Program, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Communications, College of Education, Center for Learning Technologies, Department of Art, Delta Studies Center, and Lecture-Concert Series.

For more details, call (870) 972-3043 or check the web site at

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