Dedication for Mississippi Writers Trail marker in honor of the late  Professor Dorothy Shawhan set for July 23 at Delta State

Published 4:30 pm Sunday, July 25, 2021

 CLEVELAND, Miss.—With the goal of spanning the entirety of the state, the Mississippi Writers Trail will soon include a stop at Delta State University in honor of long-time English chair and professor, Dorothy Shawhan.


A ceremony for the placement and dedication of a Mississippi Writer’s Trail marker honoring Shawhan will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, July 23, in the Wright Gallery of Kethley Hall, located on the campus of Delta State.

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The event is open to the campus community and the general public.


An accomplished author and scholar, Shawhan published numerous books and articles including two with University Press of Mississippi (UPM)—“Fannye Cook: Mississippi’s Pioneering Conservationist” and “Spirit of the Delta: The Art of Carolyn Norris.”


In conjunction with the marker, UPM has announced the generous contribution from the DSU Foundation, the Delta State University Division of Languages & Literature, and friends and family of Shawhan to the UPM First Author’s Fund.


The UPM First Author’s Fund, established through gifts from Press authors, supports the publication of books by emerging scholars, nontraditional authors, and authors from a wide variety of backgrounds. The combined gift in Shawhan’s honor totals more than $2,500.


“We are excited to continue our work with the support of Delta State University and to continue Dorothy Shawhan’s legacy as a writer and teacher. Dorothy was a long-time supporter of the Press and a friend. The support of dedicated individuals like Dorothy Shawhan will help the Press continue its mission well into the future,” said UPM Director Craig W. Gill.


Shawhan served the Delta State community beginning in 1981 as an instructor in English and moved on to chair the Division of Languages and Literature in 1992.


She was the recipient of the Mississippi Humanities Council Teacher Award in 2004 and the S. E. Kossman Outstanding Faculty Award in 2006. She presented the keynote address at Delta State’s 2006 Fall Commencement. After retiring, Shawhan continued teaching part-time as Professor Emerita of English. She passed away Dec. 21, 2014, at the age of 72.


“Dorothy Shawhan was a prolific and generous storyteller–not just on her front porch, but also in her biographies of Mississippi’s Judge Lucy Somerville Howorth and Fannye Cook, her novel, ‘Lizzie,’ and countless short stories,” said Professor of English Emerita Susan Allen Ford, a colleague and friend of Shawhan’s for more than 30 years.


“She also taught generations of Delta State students all kinds of writing–including journalism as well as the art of fiction and creative nonfiction.”


The Mississippi Writers Trail pays tribute to the state’s most acclaimed and influential writers through a series of historical markers that recognize the importance of place in an author’s life while educating the public about the history and legacy of Mississippi writers.


​The Trail is an initiative of the Mississippi Arts Commission, in partnership with Visit Mississippi, the Community Foundation for Mississippi, Mississippi Book Festival, Mississippi Humanities Council, Mississippi Department of Archives and History and Mississippi Library Commission.


The cast aluminum markers, shaped like an open book, inform travelers and highlight information about local authors including their birthplace, home, gravesite, museum or literary locale.


To learn more about the Mississippi Writers Trail, visit


Founded in 1970, UPM is the largest and only non-profit publisher in the state. The Press publishes books that interpret the South and its culture to the nation and the world, and scholarly books of the highest distinction. To learn more, visit


For questions or more information, contact the Division of Languages and Literature at (662) 846-4060.