Bestselling author Jamie Ford to speak at Tupelo Reads event

Jan. 25—TUPELO — Bestselling author Jamie Ford is set to speak at the Lee County Library next month as part of the 2023 Tupelo Reads event.

Tupelo Reads selected two of Ford's books this year: "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet," his debut novel published in 2009, and "The Many Daughters of Afong Moy," his latest novel released in August 2022.

Ford will deliver a lecture followed by a question and answer session and book signing.

Prior to the event, Ford will speak to Tupelo High School English students that morning at the Performing Arts Center on campus.

"They really enjoy having an author in their midst," Tupelo Reads chairman Lisa Reed said.

Tupelo High School art teacher Anna Garner's senior art students participate in an annual contest creating pieces based on the theme of each year's Tupelo Reads book. First, second and third place winners receive cash prizes and the pieces are shown at the high school for the visiting author to view.

The art students' projects this year will be based on "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet" while the library program will focus primarily on "The Many Daughters of Afong Moy," the newer of the two books selected this year.

Today Show host Jenna Bush Hager selected "The Many Daughters of Afong Moy" as her Read With Jenna book club pick the month it was released. She will also serve as an executive producer on an upcoming TV adaptation of the novel.

Ford recently made appearances at the Texas Book Festival and the Miami Book Fair, and he will speak at the Tucson Festival of Books in Arizona a month after his stop in Tupelo.

"We're in good company," Lisa Reed said.

Jack Reed Jr. said one of his goals when Tupelo Reads was formed in 2009 was to make Tupelo a center of lifelong learning. And a major part of that is bringing in authors like Ford to visit local schools and speak to the community.

In addition to speaking at the library and high school, Ford will sit down at Reed's Gumtree Bookstore for an interview with Jack Reed Jr. that will be posted on the store's Facebook page.

Ford's visit comes as Tupelo Reads was named the winner of a special distinction award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for its work promoting literacy in the Tupelo area.

The annual Tupelo Reads event will be held at the Lee County Library at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

blake.alsup@djournal.com