20 Secrets About The Mid-South That Book Lovers Will Enjoy

secrets revealed

This week we’ve compiled the Mid-South’s most bookish secrets, just for book lovers! How many of these facts did you know?

michael jackson

Michael Jackson has shopped at Burke’s Book Store.

Charlaine Harris, author of The Southern Vampire Mysteries (aka Sookie Stackhouse) novels, attended Rhodes College.

John Grisham’s first novel was not The Firm, as many believe. Grisham began writing his first novel, A Time To Kill, in 1984.

danny thomas

Danny Thomas’ last public appearance was at a book signing at Davis Kidd Booksellers in Memphis.

W.C. Handy is most known for being the “Father of the Blues.” He was also an accomplished author, and published five books during his musical career.

Lisa Patton, bestselling author of the Dixie series, attended Hutchison School in Memphis.

virginia frazier boyle

Virgina Boyle, “Poet Laureate to the Confederacy,” is buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

pinocchio's bookstore

Until it closed in October of 2012, Pinocchio’s Bookstore was the oldest children’s bookstore in Memphis.

Tennessee Williams spent some of his childhood in Clarksdale, Mississippi after his grandfather was assigned as a minister in a parish there.

Memphis author Shelby Foote did all of his writing by hand, as he disliked the typewriter.

Contrary to the scene in Silence of the Lambs, the building Hannibal Lecter escapes from is Pittsburgh’s Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial, not the Shelby County Courthouse.

A bomb shelter is built beneath The Booksellers at Laurelwood. It is now being used as office space for the staff.

eric jerome dickey

Author Eric Jerome Dickey grew up on Kansas Street in South Memphis.

The Memphis Public Library was founded in 1893.

Famous adventure journalist, novelist, and Memphis resident Richard Halliburton was assumed lost at sea in March of 1939. His empty grave is at Forest Hill cemetery.

Burke’s Book Store was originally opened on Main Street downtown shortly after the Civil War.

Commercial Appeal writer Jody Callahan appeared on Jeopardy in 2006.

William Faulkner died at Wright’s Sanatorium in 1962 in Byhalia, MS*.

The Commercial Appeal was first published in 1841.

Photo by Jim Weber. Accessed via The Commercial Appeal.

The Memphis Literacy Council was co-founded by a Holocaust survivor, Nina Katz.

How many of those secrets did you already know? Do you have any others? If so, sound off in the comments! 

If you want to sate more of your bookish hunger, be sure to put the Mid-South Book Festival on your calendar. We’ll have tons of authors, literary events, and a street fair. We hope to see you there!

*Faulkner also served as Postmaster at the University of Mississippi in 1921, a position that he resigned from. Check out his resignation letter


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