Ghosts at the Welty Symposium

Of course when you think Gothic, one thing that comes to mind are old mansions full of ghosts. This year’s Welty Symposium has a few literary ghosts of its own. Of course, Sonny Brewer’s novel The Widow and the Tree is about the Ghosthead Oak, a 500-year-old live oak tree, and there are many memories and legends associated with the tree. And Carolyn Haines Bonefire of the Vanities (and other Sarah Booth Delaney mysteries) feature a a ghost or two, most notably the ghost of Sarah’s grandmother’s maid, who gives her advice (sometimes unwanted). But did you know we have some other ghosts in the symposium?

Several characters in Jessica Maria Tuccelli’s debut novel Glow see ghosts, and at least one is seen as a ghost. One of the main characters has a ghostly friend, Lovelady, who appears in an earlier time before her death. Another couple of characters are intimate with many ghosts and help the youngest protagonist deal with her own. There are other forms of conjuring in this novel as well, filled as it is with African American and Native American lore from North Georgia.

Christopher Lowe’s debut collection of short stories, Those Like Us, includes a story “Ghost Tour” that may not have actual ghosts, but tells of a character who makes up ghost stories, some of which may be more real than she’d like to admit, or may become real to her in the telling. Other characters in these linked stories struggle with death and loss. As with most ghost stories, there is an element of reality or normality that the paranormal brings to light.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

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