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Celebrated Artist William Dunlap to Appear in Oxford for This Weekend

Just in time for the Double Decker Arts Fest, University of Mississippi alumnus and internationally-known artist William Dunlap will be signing his newest book, “Short Mean Fiction,” at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 21 at the Off Square Bookstore.

William Dunlap (photo courtesy Facebook)
William Dunlap (photo courtesy Facebook)

The book, published by Oxford-based Nautilus Publishing Company, features four decades’ worth of sketches and journaling that lend the readers a window into Dunlap’s creative mind. But it’s not a window into his personal life but rather a window into the “hypothetical realism” imagined by Dunlap.

Dunlap wrote in his foreword: “When asked, I call what I do Hypothetical Realism. The places and things I paint are not real, but they could be. The same holds true for ‘Short Mean Fiction.’ None of what I have written really happened, but it could have.”

The stories include scenarios like a young man recounting his grandfather’s stories of the Civil War, a woman disguising as a man in order to travel across Native American lands and a boozy dinner as a writer recounts his globe-trotting adventures. At the end of the book, Dunlap left blank papers save for a line at the top of each page: “Make your own sketches here.” The readers may be inspired to step into the world of hypothetical realism after reading so many fictional stories that sound as true as a memory.

Dunlap is greatly looking forward to the book signing tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.

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He said, “When this event is over, we will all flow down to Southside Gallery where my wife Linda Burgess and daughter Maggie Dunlap have an exhibition. There will be more drinking and laughing all about the same things: art and literature alive again on the Square.”

Dunlap has kept an old family home just south of Oxford in Webster County, so he will be staying there for the Double Decker Arts Festival.

“It’s good serendipity that it’s the Double-Decker weekend, which always gives immense pleasure and is remarkable to watch,” Dunlap said. “It’s a pleasure and an honor to be a part of it.”

Dunlap is also looking forward to returning to his old stomping grounds at the University of Mississippi where he earned his M.F.A. He said, “My time at Ole Miss was quite significant, ours was a remarkable group of students and faculty ,many have had significant careers and stayed in touch.”

He may be spotted at the Meek Hall where the art department is located.

“I’m always excited to by the art department and see what’s new, what’s going on with the current crop of student artists,” Dunlap said. “Would that Meek Hall, the art department’s home since being moved from Bryant Hall, were four times as big, and better appointed, it’s an energetic and burgeoning department and deserves an art building commensurate with its students, faculty and mission.”

Overall, the people of Oxford and students at University of Mississippi will have a chance to meet one of the most successful Mississippian artists this weekend. For more information on William Dunlap, visit his webpage: www.williamdunlap.com.


Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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