Willie Morris, Mississippi Writer
Willie Morris (1934-1999) lived much of his childhood and adult life in Mississippi, in Jackson as well as in Yazoo City. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin.
Morris went to work for Harper’s Magazine and quickly rose to the role of editor-in-chief in the 1960s. He was editor during a tumultuous time in US history. The Willie Morris Library’s display highlights numerous articles about seminal world events chronicled in Harper’s Magazine during his tenure. At the same time, the library features a homier, sweeter focus on the writer’s stories of his childhood involving his dog and events of everyday life. As Morris once wrote: “Words are often as important as experience, because words make experience last.”
Not long after he passed away, a friend he knew in college and his friend’s wife created a literary prize named after him: The Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction.
About the Library
Our team member visited the Willie Morris Branch Library in the winter of 2019 and found it be a surprising and informative glimpse into a writer’s remarkable career. The Willie Morris Branch Library, at 4912 Old Canton Road in northeast Jackson, has featured exhibits on Mississippi’s finest writers, including Richard Wright, Eudora Welty and John Grisham, but the library is named for the author of My Dog Skip and other books. My Dog Skip became a popular film by the same name. We recommend both the book and the movie for families with children in the elementary school years on up.
The library is part of the Jackson/Hinds Library System and is a beautiful, contemporary-style home to a comfortable range of books, multi-media resources, study areas, meeting room space, and brightly-colored wall art. Its online catalog can be found here: https://jack.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default.
The library also currently highlights the work of Mississippi writer Richard Wright with two beautiful, multi-colored, modern collages near the entry to the library. Richard Wright was an African-American author of the mid-20th century whose notable novel, Native Son, was a social commentary of the time period.
The Willie Morris Library is the fourth stop on our Mississippi Author Adventures Trail.