Ford is the keynote speaker for the Mississippi Philological Association's 2012 conference.
"Richard Ford is an old friend of Delta State and the Division of Languages and Literature," said Dr. Bill Hays, Division of Languages and Literature chairman.
"Ford gave his first reading here at Delta State back in 1986, which was before he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel, 'Independence Day,'" Hays added.
"He has become an increasing difficult speaker to lock-in because of his extremely busy schedule and his creative activities," he said.
Ford has a new novel scheduled to come out this May titled, "Canada." Ford will be reading a revised selection from his new novel on Friday night.
"We hope as many faculty, students, and members of Delta State as well as the community will attend the reading," he said
Friday's reading is free and open to the public.
The reading is part of the MPA's annual conference, which features writing from scholars and students from across Mississippi and the surrounding states.
"The M.P.A. is one of the oldest and most prestigious learned societies in the region," Hays said.
Despite being the "Mississippi" Philological Association, the organization draws scholarship from outside the state as well.
"Historically we have drawn people to come and read scholarly papers and other creative work from all over the country," he said. "We've had presenters come from as far north as Delaware.
"This year we will have participants representing 20 different colleges and universities from five states including Mississippi,"
"In my tenure at Delta State University, this is our fourth time hosting the conference,"
The M.P.A. also publishes a scholarly and creative journal called POMPA, which for many years was edited at Delta State by Susan Alan Ford and Bill Spencer.
"Currently the journal is being edited by J.B. Potts of Mississippi College," said Hays.
Each year the host school selects a president to head the M.P.A for that year. This year, Dr. James Tomek, professor of French at Delta State, is serving the position.
"Dr. Tomek has done a marvelous job of planning the conference this year," Hays said.
"He has selected a wonderful variety of scholarship and creative productions to be delivered at the various sessions, and was very instrumental in getting Richard Ford to speak at the conference."
There is a wide range of scholarship being presented at this year's conference from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to contemporary fiction and poetry. A number of former Delta State students will be presenting scholarship as well.
"Although the conference for the most part is for members of the organization, we encourage everyone to attend Friday's reading by Richard Ford," said Hays.