Why There Are So Many Great Mississippi Writers

Brownwater

(Photo by Bill McKinney)

I always wondered how Mississippi–and in particular, Greenville–grew such a large crop of brilliant writers, such as Shelby Foote, Walker Percy, Ellen Douglas, etc. etc.  After a recent visit to that Delta city, I found the answer in a terrific independent bookstore.  McCormick Book Inn, overseen by curmudgeonly Hugh McCormick, is only too happy to enlighten the curious.

It’s the brown water.  See, Greenville’s water isn’t crystal clear due to the tannins that give it a rather distinctive beigey cast.  "We believe these tannins, not unlike those in fine wines, tend to make us Deltans (and Greenvillians in particular) extremely creative, rather interesting, and inclined to pursue literary enterprise and entertainments," claims Hugh.

I don’t know if I’m convinced, but just in case, I bought a bottle of "Genuine Brown Water" from the bookstore.  I’m now waiting for a Pulitizer Prize-winning novel to magically spring from my fingertips.

COMMENTS

  1. Just Plain Jane

    We were on the Mississippi River on the RiverBarge for an Elderhostel program years ago and I still remember a gentleman who was in our group. He looked much like Colonel Sanders, was a resident of Biloxi and he made the comment that there were more writers in Mississippi than people who could read. I didn’t quite believe that, but I was amused, and since he was a native son, he got away with the comment.

    June 20, 2008 at 9:31 pm
  2. Wanda McKinney

    There definitely are a large number of fine writers that hail from the Magnolia State. Thanks for the comment!

    June 21, 2008 at 12:17 pm
  3. Rebecca McCormick

    Can’t claim any kin to Hugh, but we certainly share a love for books.

    July 7, 2008 at 8:09 am
  4. M G Slade

    We are an internet bookstore in Greenville. It has been repeated in different sources that Greenville has more writers per capita than any other city in the world. There are currently 33 listed.
    A little on the funny side: Many of the hotels have notes in the bathroom stating that the toilets aren’t dirty, thats the color of the water.

    July 24, 2008 at 8:23 pm
  5. Lavender

    The brown water isn’t what does it. It’s called being born and raised in the Miss Delta, where mosquitos sound like air planes, our grandmothers were members of the Daughters of the Confederate, and men and women follow HWY 61 to get to any place deemed important.
    The idea that there are more writers in Miss. than anywhere else is not only essential to a Mississippian’s life. Most who claim their birthplace as Mississippi, especially the Delta, are bred to be storytellers in an area where the culture is rich and the humidity is thick. I couldn’t be more proud.

    November 6, 2008 at 11:41 am
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    I don’t know if I’m convinced, but just in case, I bought a bottle of “Genuine Brown Water” from the bookstore. I’m now waiting for a Pulitizer Prize-winning novel to magically spring from my fingertips.

    July 18, 2010 at 10:31 pm
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    Why There Are So Many Great Mississippi Writers … These are the chips that were flying in all directions, when the evil power poured forest of great accomplishments. Especially a lot of writers – both repressed and incitement to suicide – on account of scale and a long historical experiment in our country.

    November 10, 2010 at 9:55 am
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    I think that in all the places there are many writers. Indeed, in my town there are good writers. Congratulations to to the writers and continue working very hard.

    November 10, 2010 at 11:29 am