We had our first organizational meeting yesterday for the Walker Percy Weekend 2015. Once again, Your Working Boy is in charge of programming. Next year, we’re going to expand the scope of the talks a bit, to take in a wider range of Southern literary and cultural experience, though still tying everything in to Percy. We may also be able to add a venue, which means adding two more talks/panels to the four we already have.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but if we have six talks, I’m thinking of making two of them concern Southern literary subjects only tangentially connected to Percy. Something about Eudora Welty, say, or Flannery O’Connor, or Shelby Foote. I’d like your input on this. Please suggest topics we could cover on Percy, and topics on other Southern literary topics. All serious suggestions will be taken seriously. I will do my very best to refrain from putting my thumb on the scale in favor of a Confederacy Of Dunces speech or panel. Also, if you came to this year’s event, do you think we would do better in 2015 to mix up the formats of the presentations? That is, do you think it would be better to have some panels, but some stand-alone talks?

Important thing to keep in mind: this is not an academic symposium, but a popular festival. We want the talks to be smart, but accessible.

We are also looking for speakers. As with this year’s festival, we can only offer an honorarium if we get enough funding in advance, so at this early point, all we can offer is the guarantee of a place to stay. But we can also offer a very, very fun time, if a hot and steamy one (we can’t move the date from the first weekend in June). The Bourbon Walk will be back. We intend in 2015 to repeat the crawfish boil in the park, but move it to the Saturday night. On Friday night, we are intending to put together a formal dinner, with music, in the ruins and gardens of Afton Villa plantation. Take a virtual tour to see where we will gather.  We will have to engage a bartender to make gin fizzes for this.

Soon I’ll be setting up a Kickstarter or Go Fund Me account for WPW ’15, so patrons can make tax-deductible donations to the Julius Freyhan Foundation, the 501c3 arts and culture philanthropy that sponsors the festival.

Anyway, this is simply to let you all know that we’ll be doing it again in 2015, and to invite your programming suggestions (and any other suggestions you care to make). We could also use your help. At this point, Walker Percy Weekend is a labor of love. It was such a special time for us all this past June. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a festival, literary or otherwise, that had so much good feeling attached to it.