MSU to host New Narrative Festival

The second annual Mississippi State New Narrative Festival and Conference will take place at The Mill on March 22 and 23. Students, faculty and members of the community alike will have the opportunity to hear from and build connections with business professionals, artists, poets, musicians and leaders in an exhibition of talent and knowledge.

The idea behind this event is to highlight and give a platform to some of the best and brightest talent the state has to offer. People from all walks of life will have the opportunity to meet and build relationships.

Mississippi is the birthplace and home to a number of famous names. Britney Spears was from McComb, Elvis Presley was from Tupelo, Oprah Winfrey came from Kosciusko, Brett Favre came from Gulfport, Jerry Rice was born in Starkville and the list goes on. Such a number of talented individuals from Mississippi, in fact, that professor Phillip Poe of the communication department said he believes there must be something in the water.

“In terms of per capita, nobody produces artists, writers, musicians like we do,” Poe said. “It’s just something in the water, in the air—it’s a very unique place … In the terms of our state’s outsized contribution to narrative and storytelling, we were looking for a way to reemphasize that and make Mississippi State the home of that advocacy. We are showcasing thought leaders and communication leaders from various industries, certainly student leaders who are leading the way, musicians, artists, writers.”

Poe said he hopes MSU will be a representative for the southern narrative.

“We want Mississippi State as the state’s advocate for what we consider to be narrative. And our definition of narrative is very broad, everything from corporate communication to poetry … We are all telling stories, and we are trying to unite people under this umbrella of how we have told stories, what concepts can we take from the past and apply to the future, filtered through new technologies,” Poe said.

Imagine getting the opportunity to sit across the table from the CEO of a fortune-20 company and getting to chat with them over breakfast. The Mississippi State New Narrative Festival and Conference will provide this opportunity. 

Speakers of this year’s event include Steve Azar, former Congressman Gregg Harper, Charles McNair and MSU’s president, Mark Keenum. Student performers are welcome to register at the event’s website.

The event will allow those inclined to showcase their skills through music, dance, speech, poetry or other forms of communication.

John Forde, the head of the Department of Communication, encourages all students to attend. This is the second year the event has been held, and he plans on this year to be greater than the last.

“We are very excited about the event, and invite anyone to attend. There should be something for everyone. This was a great event last year, except for the tornado warning,” Forde said. “We are continuing many of the general program ideas from last year, but we’re also adding more music and food.”

The MSU Department of Communication is hosting the festival and conference as a nonprofit event. The attendance fee of $45 will cover the cost of the conference, several meals served and will go toward the improvement of the TV studio in the Mitchell Memorial Library. Entry and registration for individuals interested can be found on the event’s website,

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