John Evans is the owner of Jackson’s treasured independent bookstore, Lemuria Books. He grew up in the Fondren neighborhood, just a stone’s throw from where his store sits in Banner Hall. “It was the early 70s, I was 24 years old, and I couldn’t find the books I wanted locally,” remembers Evans. “So I opened my own place. Now, I’ve been bookselling in the community I’ve always called home for 48 years.”

John says being a bookseller in Jackson has been extra special thanks to an extremely supportive community and rich literary history.

We have a lot to offer folks coming through town.

John’s Literary Must-Dos

(in addition to a stop by Lemuria, of course!)

Eudora Welty House & Garden

1119 Pinehurst Street

Step inside writer Eudora Welty’s world at her home and garden. Welty, a lifelong Jackson resident, was one of America’s most significant authors and visitors can tour her home and interpretive museum exhibits, and take a leisurely walk through her historic gardens.

“Miss Welty’s house is a real gift to this community and a highlight of Jackson,” says John. “She was a great friend to our store and I try to make sure everyone that comes through knows her home is open to the public.” Learn more.

The Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University

Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University

Ayer Hall, 1400 J.R. Lynch Street

This museum is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of African American history and culture. In 1968, poet Margaret Walker founded the Institute for the Study of the History, Life, and Culture of Black People at Jackson State University. Now named for its founder, the Center houses significant records like Walker’s papers, those of former US Secretary of Education Roderick Paige, and an oral history department including nearly 1,000 interviews.

“Margaret Walker is probably the leading Black writer in our community from a heritage perspective,” says John. “She was so influential and has influenced so many young, black writers in Mississippi. She broke the ground for them.”

Learn more.

Mississippi Book Festival, August 2023

Mississippi State Capitol Grounds, 400 High Street

Our annual Literary Lawn Party is a must for any literature lover. Here, you’ll find a crowd of authors and booksellers, family friendly activities, informative panels, and inspiration to go around.

“The Mississippi Book Festival is one of the most interesting and vibrant things going on in Jackson,” says John. “It’s important and nationally appealing.”

Learn more.