New & Noteworthy
Story State spotlights new era of Mississippi storytellers

Everyone knows — Mississippi is the story state. Starting this year, Mississippi State University will make an extra effort toStory State 2021 recognize those who are continuing the state’s storytelling tradition. 
On Feb. 25, the Communication Department at Mississippi State will premiere Story State: Fostering Innovative Storytelling. As part of the event, more than a dozen storytellers working in different genres will share their tips, experiences, and stories. The event will be broadcast at 1 p.m. from the Story State website:
Leading this year’s slate of storytellers is Anna Wolfe, a Mississippi Today reporter and one of the state’s top investigative journalists. Wolfe will give a behind-the-scenes look at her experience reporting on the state’s “restitution centers” -- what in plain terms could be called debtors’ prisons.
The list of presenters includes Rick Looser, who worked to overturn stereotypes about Mississippi with his Mississippi Believe It! campaign. 
Ryan Starrett, the author of “Dallas Tough: Historic Tales of Grit, Audacity, and Defiance” will urge viewers to listen to the stories of the dead. 
Francine Reynolds, the artistic director at New Stage Theatre, will share why she thinks Mississippi history makes the perfect subject for theatre. 
Zach Lancaster, a core crew member for HGTV’s “Home Town,” will provide a look at the show’s production. 
And what Mississippi storytelling event would be complete without a bluesman? Duwayne Burnside will expound on Hill Country blues -- and play a little, too. 
As part of the event, the Communication Department will also give out “Master Storyteller” awards to three undergraduate students, from universities and colleges around the state, who have created podcasts, films, or written narratives.  
“Everyone knows about Faulkner, Welty, Elvis and Robert Johnson,” said Josh Foreman, chairman of the 2021 Story State planning committee. “But there are a whole lot of other great storytellers in Mississippi. They’re doing their things, right now.”