After a friend gave me a copy of My Dog Skip in 1995 (which Warner Brothers released as a motion picture a few years later), I soon became an avid reader and collector of the works of southern author Willie Morris (North Toward Home, New York Days, and many more). For several years I enjoyed visiting him and his wife, JoAnne Prichard Morris, at their lovely home in Jackson during my research trips to the University of Mississippi. Ole Miss’s Department of Archives and Special Collections in the library houses his 17,000 papers–including some of mine–that cover virtually his entire writing career of nearly half a century. In November 1998, Willie and JoAnne came to Mary Washington College where he charmed students, staff, and townspeople while speaking on “Why I Am a Writer.”
Some of my writings on Willie include a biographical sketch for the University of Mississippi’s Mississippi Writers Page, a book of interviews and profiles titled Conversations with Willie Morris, a collection of his essays, Shifting Interludes, the volume Willie Morris: An Exhaustive Annotated Bibliography and a Biography, an article in the special A Tribute to Willie Morris issue of the online magazine The Southerner, an article on Willie and the Witch of Yazoo for Delta Magazine, and Mary Washington College Today‘s “Remembering Willie and My Dog Skip.” I took this photograph in June 1997 at the famous Witch’s Grave in Yazoo City, Mississippi’s Glenwood Cemetery. It’s a marvelous picture, and it’s been reprinted in several books.