2019 Charleston Conference Draft Program

The Eudora Welty Society is excited to host its conference for the first time in Charleston, South Carolina, a city Welty visited and photographed. Below is the program draft for “'The Continuous Thread of Revelation': Eudora Welty Reconsidered," February 21 to 23, 2019. More than 45 Welty scholars will discuss her fiction, photography, memoir, letters, archival documents, and more.

The conference will also offer a Charleston Writers panel featuring Marcus Amaker, Harlan Greene, Josephine Humphreys, and Michele Moore, as well as a dramatic reading of “Moon Lake” performed by Welty scholars and directed by Brenda Currin. We plan pre-and post-conference opportunities for literary and historical tours, and a Sunday morning visit to Southbound, a Halsey Museum exhibit of 220 photographs.

Please contact conference director Harriet Pollack at  ewsconf@cofc.edu for any further information.

Register for the conference here.

Conference Draft Program

“The Continuous Thread of Revelation”: Eudora Welty Reconsidered

An International Welty Conference, College of Charleston, February 21 to 23, 2019

Thursday, February 21

Registration and sessions on 2.21.19 will be in the Stern Student Center Ballroom, 71 George Street

Moon Lake Rehearsal 10-11 will be in the EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth Street

Session times subject to slight adjustment as the program is finalized. See updates at http://eudoraweltysociety.org


11:00 and then ongoing:  Registration

12:00 Opening remarks


12:15-1:30 Memory, Time, Confluence, Crossroads

Chair, Harriet Pollack, College of Charleston

Burning the Breadboard: A New Approach to The Optimist's Daughter. Peter Schmidt, Swarthmore College

Welty’s “Circe” and the Original Time’s Up. Dawn Trouard, University of Central Florida

“The Burning”: Memory, Myopia, and Mirrors. Alex Werrell, Yale University

Confluence and/or Crossroads. David McWhirter, Texas A&M University


1:45- 3:00 Welty, her Contemporaries, and Later Artists

Chair, Julia Eichelberger, College of Charleston

Welty and Tennessee Williams. Gary Richards, University of Mary Washington

“The Pulse of Today”: Berenice Abbott and Eudora Welty. Annette Trefzer, University of Mississippi

Confluences of Isak Dinesen and Eudora Welty. Pearl McHaney, Georgia State University

Literary Friendships: Katherine Anne Porter and Eudora Welty. Mae Miller Claxton, Western Carolina University


3:15-4:00 Welty and Later Artists

Chair, Tom McHaney, Georgia State University

Mississippi Sounds: Welty and Jesmyn Ward in Harmony. Maria Mackas, Georgia State University

Reading Welty’s Photographs in the Dark Room of Race: Spectographia and the ‘Series of Exchange’ in Welty and the Art of Glenn Ligon. Randall Wilhelm, Anderson University


4:10-5:10 Reconsidering Welty’s Humor 

Chair, Jo Ellyn Clarey, Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council 

The Beauty Parlor as Comic Cauldron in “Petrified Man” and Steel Magnolias. John Lowe, University of Georgia

Leota’s Worry. Sharon Deykin Baris, Bar Ilan University

Welty’s Comedy: The Continuous Process of Revelation.  Lois M. Welch, University of Montana


5:30-6:30 Charleston Writers Discuss Their Beginnings 

Josephine Humphreys, Harlan Greene, Michele Moore, Marcus Amaker

Moderator: Julia Eichelberger, College of Charleston    

Book Signing and Reception to follow.


Friday, February 22

Registration and sessions on 2.22.19 will be in the EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth Street

Moon Lake Rehearsal 8:45-9:45 will be in the EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth Street

9:45 Continuing registration (EHHP Alumni Center anteroom)


10:00 Coffee, remarks & announcements

EWS Phoenix and Service Awards Presented


10:15-11:30 Using the Eudora Welty Collection at the Mississippi Department of Archives and History:

A Roundtable  

Chair, Julia Eichelberger, College of Charleston

Forrest Galey & Betty Uzman, Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Julia Eichelberger, Mary Scott Gilbert, Stella Rounsefell, College of Charleston


11:45 -12:30  Welty and Mystery

Chair: Jacob Agner, University of Mississippi

Eudora Welty’s Career in Mystery Fiction. Harriet Pollack, College of Charleston

Chester Himes, Harper Lee, Eudora Welty: The Civil Rights Movement on a Crime Fiction Continuum.  Jacob Agner, University of Mississippi


12:30-2:00 LUNCH BREAK


2:00-3:00 Welty and Mystery (Continued)

Murder, Mystery, and Motivation: Eudora Welty’s The Optimist’s Daughter and Agatha Christie’s The Body in the Library. Sarah Ford, Baylor University

Wanted Dead or Alive: Last Year’s Dead Branches. Rebecca Mark, Tulane University

“The Writer as Detective Hero”:  Eudora Welty and Her Late Fiction. Suzanne Marrs, Millsaps College


3:15-4:30 Reconsidering Welty & Place 

Chair, Stephen Fuller, Middle Georgia University

Eudora Welty and the House of Fiction. Michael Pickard, Millsaps College

Welty at the University of Cambridge: Beginnings of “Place in Fiction.” Debra Dobkins, Brenau University

The Soundscape of The Golden Apples: The Beat of Time and the Melody. Matthew D. Sutton, East Tennessee State University

Precarious Memory: The Mississippi Lunatic Asylum. Keri Watson, University of Central Florida


4:45-5:45 Teaching Welty in the High School Classroom: A Student/Teacher Roundtable

Chair, Rebecca Harrison, University of West Georgia

Paisley Sloan Burklow, Morgan Murphy, Susie Chestnut Sewell, Abigail Smith, and Arielle Vaughan, University of West Georgia


5:45 Reception


6:15 A Dramatic Reading of “Moon Lake” by Welty Scholars 

Adapted and Directed by Brenda Currin

Dramatis Personae (in order of appearance)

NARRATOR                                             Gary Richards

LOCH MORRISON                               Jacob Agner

GIRL 1 (Morgana)                                 Rebecca Mark

MRS. GRUENWALD                            Annette Trefzer

JINNY LOVE STARK                            Suzanne Marrs

MISS PARNELL MOODY                   Jo Ellyn Clarey

GIRL 2 (Morgana)                                 Sarah Ford

GIRL 3 (Morgana)                                 Candace Waid

NINA CARMICHAEL                           Pearl McHaney

EASTER N(arrator)                              Julia Eichelberger

EASTER                                                      Carol Ann Johnston

NINA N(arrator)                                    Harriet Pollack

GERTRUDE BOWLES                         Laura Wilson

ETOILE                                                       Peter Schmidt

GENEVA                                                    Debra Dobkins

EXUM                                                         Peter Schmidt

ELBERTA                                                  Sarah Ford

TWOSIE                                                    Rebecca Mark

NIGHT                                                        Gary Richards, Jacob Agner, Peter Schmidt

MISS LIZZIE STARK                            Peggy Prenshaw


Saturday, February 23 

Sessions on 2.23.19 will be in the EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth Street and later, Randolph Hall, Cistern Yard


10:00-11:30 Welty on Gender: Femininity, Subversion, and Escape EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth St

Chair: Peggy Prenshaw, Millsaps College

Women!! Make Husband in Own Home!: Welty’s Use of Sewing as Subversive Practice.   Monica Miller, Middle Georgia University

“A lady couldn’t expect to travel without a hat”: Disembodied Cultural Capital, Gender, and Sexuality in Welty’s Short Fiction. Laura Patterson, Seton Hill University

“All new things in life were meant to come like that”: Women’s Mobility in Welty’s Fiction. Allison Rittmayer, Northwestern Louisiana State University

“The birds that flew were caged . . . and could not fly out”: Delta Wedding and the Politics of Travel, Khirsten Doolan, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

The Post Office and the Pedestal: Sexual Tyranny in Welty’s Fiction. Donnie McMahand and Kevin Murphy, Towson University


11:45-12:45 Welty, Gender, and Craft EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth St

Chair, Pearl McHaney, Georgia State University

The Experimental Welty: Eudora’s Forms Realize the Novel. Candace Waid, University of California, Santa Barbara

Revisions and Revelation in A Curtain of Green and Other Stories. Caroline Brandon, Mississippi State University

The Bride of the Innisfallen and Welty’s Battles with Discourse, Carol Ann Johnston, Dickinson College


12:45-2:45 LUNCH BREAK


2:45-4:45 Reconsidering Welty, Whiteness, and Race EHHP Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth St

Chair, Rebecca Mark, Tulane University

Performing Blackness/Revealing Whiteness: Eudora Welty’s Stories of Race. Suzan Harrison, Eckerd College,

Crusading Is for the Birds. Elizabeth Crews, Blue Mountain College

White Loyalty and the Politics of Author Societies. Jean C. Griffith, Wichita State University

Losing Battles and the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Adrienne Akins Warfield, Mars Hill University

Turning to Stone: Reading ‘Old Mr. Marblehall’ and ‘Petrified Man’ as Meditations on White Anxiety in the Jim Crow South. Katie Berry Frye, Pepperdine University

Making Whiteness Visible: Violence, Hate Speech, and Eudora Welty’s Civil Rights Stories. Susan Donaldson, William and Mary College


5:00-6:30 Welty in the 21st Century: A Roundtable Discussion and Closing Reception  Randolph Hall, Cistern Yard

Chair, Harriet Pollack, College of Charleston

Have a glass of wine while speakers discuss where we’ve been and where we are going.

Rebecca Mark with commentary on the conference and new directions. David McWhirter on post-southern Welty. Sarah Ford on 21st century intertextuality. Harriet Pollack with news, CFPs, appreciations, and final thoughts.


Sunday, February 24

Guided tour of Southbound: Photographs of and about the New South exhibit, Halsey Museum, 161 Calhoun Street, at 10 AM Sunday. Free. Sign Up Required.