Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oxford’s Square Books Gets Campy

By Edward Nawotka -- Publishers Weekly, 7/1/2008 7:40:00 AM

Mississippi in mid-July isn’t at the top of most travelers' wish lists. For starters: it’s damn hot. Then there are the mosquitoes, some almost the size of hummingbirds.

But Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books in Oxford, is undaunted. When he saw he had six notable authors scheduled to read at the store in an eight-day span, July 10-17, he dubbed the week “Camp Square Books.”

Howorth, who also serves as Oxford's mayor, figured the top-notch roster of authors would be enough to entice book lovers to come and spend a few days and some of their discretionary income. He’s negotiated discounts with local hotels and restaurants to lure holiday makers.

Camp kicks off with an appearance by Julia Reed, followed by Jack Pendarvis, Martin Clark, Brett Lott and burgeoning bestseller David Wroblewski. The week culminates with Andre Dubus III.

“Even with gas at $4 gas, we hope get a lot of visitors from Memphis – which is only an hour away by car – and up from Jackson,” said David Swider, Square Books’ art director and publicist for the event.

“Campers” can pre-register online or at the store. Camp will start each day at 10 a.m. and feature different activities, including poetry lessons, a tour of Faulkner’s house Rowan Oak, and a visit to the literary archive at Ole Miss, where Faulkner’s Nobel Prize Medal resides. Author events begin at 5 p.m. and will be followed by socializing and drinking at the City Grocery restaurant.

All events will be free and, promises store manager Lyn Roberts, if not cool, then at least bug-free. “Since what we have planned mostly will be indoors, there won’t be any insects,” said Roberts.

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