• 72°

Lunch at the Library series starts this month

Lunch at the Library 2009 opens Thursday, Jan. 22 and continues through Wednesday, May 6, with seven authors scheduled for this popular series.

This project has brought “hours of fellowship and learning to the community,” said Becky Nichols, library director.

Phil Hardwick, author of “Mississippi Mysteries,” begins this year’s series. He is coordinator of capacity development at the John C. Stennis Institute of Government at Mississippi State University and writes a bi-weekly column in the Mississippi Business Journal. He is the author of 11 books, 10 of which are short novels set in Mississippi towns.

He is the author of the popular Mississippi Mystery Series, a 10-book collection of short novels featuring private eye Jack Boulder. He lives in Jackson, Mississippi.

Wednesday, Feb. 11 — Tinnie and Minnie Pettway will present “That’s ‘Sew” Gee’s Bend!” and the story of what began as a way to pass the time that held a family’s history and held a story in every stitch. These two Gee’s Bend women began as early teenagers to make people “feel comfortable, relaxed, beautiful, loved, at ease, yet special,” they say. These intentions have been put into their line of quilts, which they have named “Tinnie Pieces with Minnie Designs.”

Quilting, Minnie Pettway said, “may now be considered a hobby, but growing up, it was part of survival. Now, what was once a tool of necessity is now hanging on walls in the homes of the rich and famous.”

In keeping with the Pettway spirit, they continue to quilt after more than 50 years.

Thursday, Feb. 19 — Dr. Richard Arrington, mayor of Birmingham from 1979-99, will be the featured author, discussing his book “There’s Hope for the World: The Memoir of Birmingham’s First African American Mayor.” The son of sharecroppers was educated to be a teacher, a future he postponed for a historic career in politics. Under his leadership, Birmingham rebuilt itself from a steel-driven industrial center to a diversified metropolitan area, with its economy fueled by health care, biomedical research, engineering, telecommunications and banking. He left an impressive economic legacy when he stepped down in 1999 shortly before his fifth term ended.

Thursday, March 19 — Mary Ward Brown, a Perry County native, will bring “Fanning the Spark-A Memoir.” She is the recipient of a number of literary awards, among them the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Her best known works include “Tongues of Flame” in 1986 and “It Wasn’t All Dancing and Other Stories.”

She was raised on a farm in Hamburg, edited her high school newspaper and studied journalism at Judson College, later becoming publicity director. A number of her short stories, usually set in the South of the 1950s-1970s, have been published in popular and literary magazines.

To make reservations for the opening 2009 luncheon, call 874-1725. The luncheons are scheduled to allow 30 minutes for convivial enjoyment of library staff food specialties. “Always something you can eat on your knee,” Nichols said.

After lunch, the guest author speaks for 30 minutes, with time given for questions from the audience. Books and autographs are always available, and reservations are required for the lunch, which costs $7. There is no charge for the program, and those who prefer to skip lunch may do so, Nichols said.

Three other authors will be featured later in the spring at Lunch at the Library — Val McGee, Gin Phillips and Kathryn Tucker Windham.