Dr. Nadia Alexis has been selected to represent the Mississippi School of the Arts as a Vance Fellow at the 35th annual Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration (NLCC) to be held February 22-24, 2024, in Natchez, Miss.

Since 2001, the NLCC has awarded the William and Harriet Vance Memorial Fellowships to outstanding teachers who are nominated by a top administrator at their school. Vance Fellows must be certified teachers in grades 1–12 in an accredited school in Mississippi or Louisiana. They attend the NLCC and take what they learned back to their classrooms to share with their students.

“The Mississippi School of the Arts is honored that Dr. Nadia Alexis has been chosen as a Vance Fellow. Dr. Alexis leads our award-winning literary program and is an author/photographer as well. This opportunity will honor her work as an artist and as an educator. The Natchez Literary Festival has been a longstanding resource for the students of MSA literary arts program. We are grateful such a wonderful organization exists in southwest Mississippi and recognizes the contributions of Dr. Alexis,” said Dr. Suzanne Hirsch, executive director of the Mississippi School of the Arts.

Dr. Nadia Alexis is a poet, writer, photographer, and educator born and raised in Harlem, New York City, and she has lived in Mississippi since 2016. Her debut full-length collection of poems and photographs, Watersheds, will be published by CavanKerry Press in Spring 2025. Her writing has appeared in Poets & Writers, The Global South, and Shenandoah, among others. She has also contributed to anthologies like Wild Imperfections: An Anthology of Womanist Poems. Nadia has received several awards and honors, including a 2024 Artist Mini-Grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission, the 2023 Poet of the Year Honoree of the Haitian Creatives Digital Awards, a 2020 semifinalist position in the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, and the 2019 honorable mention poetry prize from the Hurston/Wright College Writers Award. Nadia is a fellow of the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop and The Watering Hole. She holds a PhD in English with a Creative Writing Concentration from the University of Mississippi, where she also earned an MFA in Creative Writing with a focus on Poetry.

These fellowships are given by family and friends in memory of William Jackson Vance, 1914–2001, and Harriet Mitchell Vance, 1917–1996, of Natchez, Mississippi, who were longtime supporters of Copiah-Lincoln Community College and the Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration.

About the 35th annual NLCC

Using the theme, “Rites, Rituals, and Religion in the Deep South,” this year’s conference will explore life and death experiences in a series of presentations on religious traditions, burial rituals, cemetery history, mourning practices, and historic holidays which are all deeply embedded in the Southern Experience.

This two-and-a-half-day event will feature scholars whose presentations will parallel an evolving historical American narrative of the living and the dying based on both “Old World” traditions combined with a profound sense of democracy, race, and ingenuity. This mix of the old and new has created an eccentric culture we proudly call Mississippi. Most conference events are free of charge and held at the Natchez Convention Center. The full agenda for the NLCC can be found at www.colin.edu/nlcc.