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Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Announces 2009 Award Nominees

For immediate release

Further information: Dorothy Shawhan Delta State University 662—846-4060

Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Announces Two Lifetime Achievement
Award Winners in Celebration of Its Thirtieth Anniversary


The Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL) has chosen Marshall Bouldin and Elizabeth Spencer as recipients of Lifetime Achievement Awards in celebration of the organization’s 30th year. The presentations will be made at the annual awards ceremony and banquet on June 13, 2009, at the Lauren Rogers Art Museum in Laurel.

Awards will also be given for works shown, published, or performed in 2008 in the categories of visual arts, photography, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and music composition (concert, popular). Artists must have significant ties to Mississippi and must have been nominated by an MIAL member. Judges for the various categories are chosen from outside the state.

Cited as “the South’s foremost portrait painter” by The New York Times, Mississippian Marshall Bouldin has painted persons from all walks of life including William Faulkner, Governor William F. Winter, Sister Thea Bowman, and Richard M. Nixon.

Elizabeth Spencer has published nine novels, including Light in the Piazza, three story collections, and her memoir of growing up in Carrollton, Mississippi, Landscapes of the Heart. Light in the Piazza was made into a motion picture.

According to George Bassi, director of the Lauren Rogers Art Museum (LRMA), “A highlight of the annual awards banquet will be the official opening of an exhibition featuring MIAL award winners in visual arts and photography over the past 30 years. Drawn from both public and private collections, this exhibit will be on view throughout the summer of 2009 at LRMA and will be a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of Mississippi artists.”

Mark Wiggs of Jackson, Vice President of MIAL and coordinator of the nomination process, reports a grand total of 46 nominations in seven categories. “We have a robust field of worthy entries throughout all categories,” Wiggs says, “most fitting for MIAL’s 30th anniversary celebration.”

In the category of Fiction are nominees Howard Bahr, Ellen Gilchrist, Carolyn Haines, Darden North, John Pritchard, and Jesmyn Ward.

The Nonfiction category includes Chris Asch, Douglas A. Blackmon, Gloria J. Burgess, Rick Cleveland, Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Robert McElvaine, Noel Polk, Julia Reed, Maureen Ryan, and Jerry Ward.

Poetry nominees are Beth Ann Fennelly, Brooks Haxton, Mary Ann O’Gorman, and Yvonne Tomek.

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