Mississippi Sissy

Kevin Sessums

St. Martin's Press

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Mississippi Sissy is the stunning memoir from Kevin Sessums, a celebrity journalist who grew up scaring other children, hiding terrible secrets, pretending to be Arlene Frances and running wild in the South. As he grew up in Forest, Mississippi, befriended by the family maid, Mattie May, he became a young man who turned the word "sissy" on its head, just as his mother taught him. In Jackson, he is befriended by Eudora Welty and journalist Frank Hains, but when Hains is brutally murdered in his antebellum mansion, Kevin's long road north towards celebrity begins. In a memoir that echoes bestsellers like The Liar's Club, Kevin Sessums brings to life the pungent American south of the 1960s and the world of the strange little boy who grew there.

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Chapter One

Skeeter Davis, Noël Coward, and Eudora Welty

“Fuck,” said Frank Hains. “I knew I shouldn’t have given that last bourbon to Eudora.”

It had taken me almost a decade after that day of my mother’s funeral, but I had finally found the only equivalent that Mississippi offered to a What’s My Line? life. Frank—a John Daly–like presence in Jackson—was the arts editor of the state’s afternoon newspaper, for which he also wrote a column called “On Stage.” Eudora was writer Eudora Welty. We were at a cast party for New Stage Theatre’s latest production, Long Day’s Journey

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Praise for Mississippi Sissy

Mississippi Sissy is a book I’ve been waiting for most of my life, though I didn’t fully understand that fact until I read the book.  We have, as it turns out, been sorely missing a book by a writer who is equally at home with Flannery O’Connor and Jaqueline Susann; who understands that Eudora Welty and Johnny Weismuller are not only members of the same species but are intricately related; whose wit and insight are up to the highs, lows, and in-betweens that compose life as we know it.  Kevin Sessums is some sort of cockeyed national treasure.”—Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours
 “Mississippi Sissy is an unforgettable memoir.  I think it will strike a strong chord with many, many readers.  It’s a far different book than “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” but it cast the same kind of spell over me while I was reading it."—Mark Childress
"What a writer!  What honesty!  Kevin Sessums seamlessly weaves his heart-breaking, funny, outrageous, can't-put-it-down story.  Read it! Read it! Read it! Then read it again."
Ellen DeGeneres
"Kevin Sessums is a brilliant writer.  He is also a courageous one.  Mississippi Sissy is beautifully told - hilarious yet harrowing, tragic yet inspiring.  This book will deeply touch anyone who has ever felt different, which means every single one of us."—E. Lynn Harris
"The depth of the writing equals the depth of his wounds and yet there is an optimism, a surviving instinct, an honesty and an incredible dignity throughout.  This book is very powerful!"—Diane Von Furstenberg
"I could not put Kevin Sessums memoir down. A young, white, gay boy, who grew up in a whirl and survived the injustices of class and prejudice, Sessums lyrically, narrates his escape from this tyranny of southern hate. This is the story of an angel with asbestos skin. Were this fiction, it would be on a par with John Kennedy Toole's The Confederacy of Dunces." –Andre Leon Talley, Editor at Large, Vogue
"Wow!  What a book!  I was both shocked and moved by it.  It is said that an unexamined life is not worth living.  Kevin Sessums examines his with wisdom and humor and a true writer's sense of grace.  This book will create more than the proverbial buzz.  It will cause a sensation."
David Geffen
"I was so moved by Kevin Sessums's funny, sad evocation of his childhood and teenage years in Mississippi Sissy.  His youthful instinct for finding the theatrical, musical, and literary locals who opened his eyes to the outside world that he yearned to know about is wonderfully touching."
Dominick Dunne
"Mississippi Sissy manages to be both hilarious and heartbreaking, often in the same moment. It is a poignant story of innocence and sexuality; tragedy and courage. But it is ultimately a tale of perseverance of the human spirit. Kevin Sessums not only has a great story to tell, he is a great storyteller." –Carole Radziwill 
"Gutsy, moving, richly-textured and immensely funny revelation, and a precisely remembered evocation of the southern political and cultural landscape in the 60s and 70s."—Patti Carr Black

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About the Author

Kevin Sessums

KEVIN SESSUMES is currently a contributing editor at Allure magazine after spending fourteen years at Vanity Fair in that same capacity. Before joining Vanity Fair, he was executive editor for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. His work has also appeared in Elle, Travel + Leisure, Playboy, Out, and Show People magazines. He was born and raised in Mississippi and now lives in New York City.

Kevin Sessums


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Available Formats and Book Details

Mississippi Sissy
Kevin Sessums


Lambda Literary Awards - Winner

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
March 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429917056
ISBN10: 1429917059
320 pages

Abridged Digital Audio

Abridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
March 2007
Abridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781427200402
ISBN10: 1427200408
Audio Run Time: 6:00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
March 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312341022
ISBN10: 0312341024
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 320 pages

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St. Martin's Press

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