Susan Cushman was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and attended Ole Miss, where much of John and Mary Margaret is set. Her other books include Pilgrim Interrupted (essays), Friends of the Library (short stories), Cherry Bomb (a novel), Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer’s (a memoir), and three anthologies she edited. Cushman writes with deep insight into the South's storied past, bringing elements of hope and healing to her work, honoring the heart, soul, and history of the South.
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
State Capitol, House Committee Room 2
Human(un)kind: Addressing Racial and Social Justice through Fiction
Johnnie Bernhard, Susan Cushman, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and John Warner Smith with Robert Mann
2:15 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Cavalier House Bookselling Tent
John and Mary Margaret: A Novel
We first meet Susan Cushman's characters, John and Mary Margaret, in her short story collection, Friends of the Library. In her second novel and seventh book, Cushman fleshes out their stories, covering over fifty years of their lives in Mississippi and Memphis against the backdrop of the civil rights movement and continuing through current-day events.
John and Mary Margaret is an insider's look into the White-privilege bubble of a young girl growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, and participating in sorority life on the Ole Miss campus in the late 1960s. But it's also a candid portrayal of a young Black boy from Memphis who follows his dream to study law at the predominately White university. What happens when their shared love for literature blossoms into an ill-fated romance? Set squarely in the center of decades of historical events in Mississippi and Memphis, here their story brings those events to life.
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