This year's Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium is planned for October 20-22, 2016. Our theme will be "Overcoming the Silence: To speak out when "'It warrants no stir.'"
The theme is taken from Eudora Welty's story "The Demonstrators," which was published in The New Yorker in 1966 and appears in The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. It is a story about a double-homicide, the truth of which is never fully revealed. Though the newspaper article within the story claims the two African American lovers killed each other with an ice pick, there are many clues to indicate more might be going on. The Mayor quickly asserts of the crime "It warrants no stir," claiming that it did not "carry racial significance" since "no outside agitators were involved." One of the murder victims was found covered in cotton seed, yet the article explicitly states there was no trouble at the mill. Cotton is also mentioned as part of another lie told (and published) in the story. Even the title suggests more than a lover's domestic dispute, yet no one will speak up and reveal the truth, not even the doctor who heard the murdered man's last words, "Hide me."
Our theme this year also complements the W's commemoration of 50 years since the school was integrated and the "Those Who Dared" project conducted by students and faculty from the Department of History, Geography, and Political Science to explore the archives, collect oral histories, and give a voice to stories that have long been silent. Civil rights and integration are prominent in Welty's story and in the theme; writers whose work deals with these issues and with other contemporary issues that often are silenced will soon be invited. Check back over the summer to see how the program develops!