AUGUST 3, 2002

10:00 a.m. to noon       Presentations on Hancock County's Literary Heritage                Courthouse

                        John Rozier, Local Historian

                        Kent Anderson Leslie, Agnes Scott College

                        Charles Scruggs, University of Arizona

                        Carlton Morse, Native of Sparta, Resident of Fort Valley


All day                         Book Fair on first floor of courthouse


Noon                           Holcombs BBQ for those who pre-register & pay $5                Courthouse


1 p.m.                          African American Folktales Performed by Akbar Imhotep         Library


1 to 4 p.m.                   Ramble to Literary Sites in Hancock County                             Sparta/county  

                                    In Sparta, Mt. Zion Church, Dickson Place, Covey Rise                                   


3 p.m.                          African American Folktales Performed by Akbar Imhotep         Library



On August 3, 2002 the Georgia Literary Festival (formerly known as the Eatonton Literary Festival) will hold its annual pilgrimage in Sparta rather than Eatonton.  Co-sponsors of the daylong event include the Sparta—Hancock Area Revitalization and Empowerment Board directed by Ms. Cleventeen Walker and the Sparta—Hancock County Historical Society, directed by Ms. Catherine Cook.  Rather than focus on Joel Chandler Harris, Alice Walker, and Flannery O'Connor, as has been the case for the three previous Festivals, this year's event will center on Jean Toomer and other writers connected with Hancock County.


During 1921, Toomer taught at the Sparta Agricultural and Industrial School, and from this experience wrote Cane, which is one of the seminal works of the Harlem Renaissance.  The 2002 Georgia Literary Festival will celebrate Cane.  It will also recognize significant writers from the area including Richard Malcolm Johnston of Dukesboro Tales fame, the Beman brothers of Mt. Zion Church, as well as novelist Joe David Brown of Covey Rise Farm who wrote Paper Moon.


On the day of the festival, talks will occur in the morning in the courtroom of the Hancock County Courthouse.  Local historian John Rozier will speak on the literary heritage of Hancock.  Professor Kent Anderson Leslie of the Department of History, Agnes Scott College, will discuss Amanda America Dickson and her ties to Nathan Toomer.  Professor Charles Scruggs of the Department of English, University of Arizona, will evaluate how Sparta influenced the writing of Cane.  Native Hancock Countian Carlton Morse of Fort Valley State University will discuss life as a student and principal at Sparta A & I in the years after Toomer's affiliation.


A book fair will occur on the first floor of the striking and historic Hancock County courthouse which will serve as the headquarters for the day-long free event.


In the afternoon Festival attendees can take self-guided tours of sites relating to the literary heritage of Hancock County.  In Sparta patrons will visit the new museum created by the SHARE Board, the headquarters of the local historical society in the old county jail, the Richard Malcolm Johnston House on Maiden Lane, Sparta A & I, and other sites referenced by Toomer in Cane.  In the county, docents will be on site at Mt. Zion Church, the Dickson family place, and Covey Rise Farm.  At 1 and 3 p.m., the noted storyteller Akbar Imhotep will present the African American folktales made popular by Harris in performances at the Sparta—Hancock County Library which is a branch of the Uncle Remus Library System.


In keeping with the Georgia Literary Festival's statewide approach, next year's event will travel to Madison on August 2, 2003 where it will celebrate the comic writer of the early republic, William Tappen Thompson, and the postwar novelist Raymond Andrews among others.


All events are free and open to the public.  A boxed lunch by Holcombs BBQ of White Plains that includes a barbecue sandwich, slaw, chips, and tea will be available for people who pre-register on this form and pay a $5 fee per lunch to the Georgia Literary Festival, P. O. Box 4595, Eatonton, GA.  31024 by July 29, 2002.  Please note that the canceled check will serve as a receipt.  For additional registrations, please copy this form and share it with others.  Any donations received support the work of the nonprofit Festival and are completely tax deductible.  We hope to see you in Sparta on August 3rd.



August 3, 2002


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Please send checks to: Georgia Literary Festival,  P.O. Box 4595,  Eatonton, GA, 31024. Thanks!