Natchez Literary & Cinema Celebration 2020: Visits, Vittles & Vines

The 31st annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration, February 27-29, is just around the corner! This year’s theme, “Visits, Vittles & Vines: The Culture of Southern Hospitality,” will explore how the many aspects of hospitality contribute to southern identity. Presentations and events will highlight films, research, books and the culinary and performing arts that celebrate the many rich cultures and traditions that make up the food, gardens, and entertaining for which our region is so well-known. With such a variety of engaging topics and speakers, this will be a year not to be missed!

The NLCC festivities will kick-off on Thursday evening at 5 p.m. at the Natchez Convention Center, 211 Main Street, for a 26-minute documentary on Faulkner family life in Oxford, Thinking of Home: Falkner House and Rowan Oak, presented by producer Kathleen Wickham and narrator Larry Wells. Wells was married to Faulkner’s late niece, Dean, and has lived in Falkner House for over 45 years. This heartwarming film contains unpublished family stories and photographs.

We are very excited to then host Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters, who will be presenting their Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) TV Series, Palate to Palette. Robert is a Mississippi restaurateur, chef, columnist, and author, who is known throughout the Southeast region and beyond. Wyatt is an award-winning Mississippi artist known for his on-location watercolors of Southern culture. Together, these two friends and experts in their fields will bring foodways and cultural arts to life for the audience.

Friday’s programming, beginning with an opening ceremony at 8:30 a.m., will focus on cultural identity through foodways and hospitality with speakers such as Andrew Haley, University of Southern Mississippi; Southern Foodways Alliance’s oral historian Annemarie Anderson; Ebony Lumumba, Tougaloo College and First Lady of Jackson; Ashli Quesinberry Stokes, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Wendy Atkins-Sayre, University of Memphis; and archaeologist Meg Kassabaum, University of Pennsylvania.

This year we are honored to present Ann J. Abadie, professor emerita, University of Mississippi, and founding member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, with the Thad Cochran Award for Achievement in the Humanities.

Saturday morning, we will hear from Adrian Miller of Denver, award-winning author of Soul Food and most recently, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet; followed by the presentation of the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence to the well-known and gifted chef and author, Martha Foose.

That afternoon, we will switch gears to focus on garden culture. Felder Rushing, MPB’s The Gestalt Gardener, will explore the social glue that is garden culture, and then Natchez’s very own John Grady Burns, will dive into Southern garden design. Next up, we will welcome a Food Network Chopped Champion, Chef Nick Wallace, to the stage to talk to us about farm to table and his new ventures in Natchez. 

What better way to end our weekend lecture series than with a nod to the drinking culture of the New Orleans and the South with Liz Williams, founder of the National Food & Beverage Foundation.

There will be book signings throughout the weekend, an on-site book store, and an Art Market to showcase local artists and their works that are available for purchase.

In addition to all the wonderful discussions, the weekend also boasts 5 ticketed events. These collaborative events will be a complement to our topics and highlight some of the gems of Natchez hospitality. These events include a home tour, a dinner, a Saturday luncheon, a cocktail party, and a musical evening that will bring Broadway to Natchez!

The NLCC is sponsored by Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, the Mississippi Humanities Council, the Natchez Convention and Promotion Commission, the City of Natchez, Adams County Board of Supervisors, and the generous donations from throughout the Miss-Lou region and beyond.

For more information, you can visit our website at To purchase tickets for select events, please call 601.446.1104 or email