The Willie Morris Branch Library in Jackson features has provided 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 years on up.
Willie Morris lived much of his life in Mississippi, in Jackson as well as Yazoo City, and graduated from the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. 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.
Our team member visited the Willie Morris Branch in the winter of 2019 and found it be a surprising and informative glimpse into a writer’s remarkable career. Morris went to work for Harper’s Magazine and quickly rose to the role of Editor-in-Chief in the 1960’s. He was editor during a tumultuous time in U.S. history and the 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 Morris’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.”
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.