Picayune Writer’s Group unveils anthology

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2006

After more than a year’s effort, The Picayune Writers’ Group has unveiled its 2006 Anthology, A Showcase of Local Writers.

The book is comb bound, with a pearlized cover, featuring a burgundy portrait of Picayune native, Eliza Jane Poitevent Holbrook Nicholson, who wrote poetry as a teenager under the pen name of Pearl Rivers. Born in Pearlington MS in 1849, Eliza Jane, at the age of three, moved in with her aunt, Mary Kendall, to what is now the Hermitage plantation (old Crosby mansion). In her late teens, Eliza Jane moved to New Orleans and later became owner and publisher of the Times Picayune. A short bio and some of her poems are featured in the Anthology.

The publication contains 73 pages of stories, essays and poems, written by Picayune natives and those who have associations with this great city; some as young as seven years old. Editor, Jan Babin, with the help of Don Wicks, Group Chairman, and members Karen Polson and Wuanita Talley retyped the entries and prepared them in a format suitable for printing. Editing was limited to corrections in punctuation and grammar so that the raw talent of the writers could be displayed.

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“Publication of this Anthology is a dream come true,” said Don Wicks, theGroup Chairman. “When I first attended a writers meeting at Ladybug Books in 2002, I was met by an enthusiastic Lois Ellitt, founder of the group, and her husband Steve. At that time we read our works at the weekly meeting and received praise/criticizism as appropriate. At that first meeting, Lois expressed her dream for the Anthology. In August, 2005, the group officially formed and was named, The Picayune Writers’ Group. We set as our purpose: To promote, encourage, support and educate those engaged in the writing craft in Picayune and the surrounding area. Article X of the group’s by-laws states: The group shall endeavor to publish a yearly Anthology of local writers in all genres.”

“Then along came Katrina,” Don said “In spite of this massive setback, we forged ahead, and in January 2006, the group initiated a writing contest and issued a Call to Writers to submit literary works for the purpose of eventual publication. At the end of the contest, on May 31, 2006, after receiving over fifty submissions, the manuscripts were sent to three poetry and three prose judges for evaluation and scoring.”

“We were hoping to get a lot more entries,” said Jan Babin, Contest Chairman, “to pay for the cost of printing. We were determined to put out a quality product, so we had to solicit ads to make up the difference and we really appreciate all of the businesses that helped. A good thing resulting from the low number of submissions is that we were able to publish all entries, instead of just the winners, giving each writer a chance to see their works in print. Next year we plan to add a student division, essentially doubling the categories of the last contest. The 2007 contest will begin in January.”

Sale of the Anthology will be launched at the Picayune Street Fair, November 4th and 5th at the Group booth on West Canal. The price will be $7.95 per copy. Fair attendees are encouraged to support this local literary effort by purchasing a copy and enjoying the creative efforts of their friends and neighbors.

A complimentary copy of the Anthology is reserved for contest winners and will be available at the Writers’ Group booth.

After the fair, the Anthology will be for sale at selected local businesses. Copies will also be available by mail. Send $7.95 plus $1.50 shipping to The Picayune Writers’ Group, 12960 Indian Springs Road, Picayune, MS 39466.