Dispatches | December 06, 2011

Head to KBIA to listen “Hannibal: living in the shadow of Twain,” a walk through one of America’s great literary meccas (during the off-season.)

Like a great white knight of Missouri lore, Mark Twain tends to pop his head up every now and then, just to ensure his legacy’s still intact. (It is.) 2010 was a big year for Twainiacs, as they’re probably called by someone, with the “Event”-style publication of the first volume of his autobiography. Last Wednesday was Twain’s 176th birthday, and this one was a little quieter. But earlier this year the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal released a compilation called “Mark Twain: Words and Music,” featuring an impressive lineup of country musicians performing songs about Twain and the voice talents of (seriously) Garrison Keillor, Clint Eastwood and Jimmy Buffett.

I went to Hannibal to find out what experts and everyday locals thought of living in a town famous for being home to one of America’s most complex literary minds and also home to, I’m not kidding, “Mark Twain Auto & Tire Repair.” This is their story.