Alabama Writers' Forum E-newsletter March 2008
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The Alabama Writers' Forum E-Newsletter March 2008
AWF names new Board members
Lynne Berry onstage at the Apollo Theater
The Alabama Writers' Forum welcomes new Board of Directors members Lynne Berry, Marianne Moates Weber, and John W. Nixon Jr.
"We are so fortunate to have these board members who bring a wide variety of experience to our table," said AWF Executive Director Jeanie Thompson. "I feel personally encouraged to have these three new board members with us."
"Lynne is a writer and is very involved in her community in Huntsville , but also in statewide activities such as PARCA, the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama," she continued. "Marianne, whose book on Truman Capote is being reissued by the University of Alabama Press , has relocated to Montgomery and recently remarried. Her long-standing association with the Writing Today conference gives her much insight into marketing and promoting literary arts. I met John when we both served on the Board of Trustees of the Alabama School of Fine Arts, so I know that he is dedicated to the importance of arts education in Alabama ."
Berry is president of Berry Millsaps Properties, her family's real estate management business. A native of Huntsville , Berry is a graduate of Lee High School and Vanderbilt University . She has been a high school teacher and a NASA department head. She has worked to promote Huntsville 's tourist attractions and to preserve its historic sites. She has served on the staff of a Democratic Congressman, Bud Cramer, and a Republican Senator, Jeff Sessions.
Berry is currently the Secretary of the Alabama Humanities Foundation. She also serves on the boards of Leadership Alabama, which she chaired in 2005, The Nature Conservancy ( Alabama chapter), and the Madison County Personnel Board.
Marianne Moates Weber is a graduate of the University of Alabama and author of Truman Capote's Southern Years and other publications. In addition to writing, she also serves as a hospice social worker.
"As a child growing up in Andalusia ," said Weber, "I plundered the school library for every biography and mystery novel on the shelves. The keys to the world were in that room with books piled high and deep, and there I satisfied my appetite for secrets about the human spirit."
"I see that small library as a microcosm of the Alabama Writers' Forum," she added. "The Forum is the vehicle to connect writers today around the corner and around the world."
Nixon received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowie State University . He earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas South University. He presently serves as Chief of Staff for Susan Parker, Commissioner, Place No. 2, Alabama Public Service Commission.
He is also Chairman of the Alabama School of Fine Arts Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Annual Gala Fundraiser, Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Alabama , and serves on the Board of Directors of City Stages. Nixon is involved in several community organizations in Birmingham such as Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center and the A. G. Gaston Boys and Girls Club.
Alabama Book Festival to feature children's and young adult writers, activities
Curious George enjoys the children's tent at the 2007 ABF
People can encourage reading-and have fun at the same time-at the upcoming Alabama Book Festival on April 19, in Old Alabama Town in Montgomery. The festival will celebrate books and reading for all ages and offer special programming for young readers and families.
Authors, illustrators, theatre performances, and storytelling are among the special children's offerings, many of which will be located in the children's tent, an area designated specifically for young readers. Interactive crafts, book-related activities, and book characters in costume are also among the offerings.
This year's lineup includes Deborah Wiles, whose first novel, Love Ruby Lavender, won wide acclaim, including selection as an ALA Notable Children's Book. Her picture book One Wide Sky was a Children's Book of the Month Club selection, and her novel Each Little Bird That Sings was a National Book Award finalist. At the festival, she'll read from and talk about her latest book The Aurora County All-Stars.
Children's book illustrator Elizabeth Dulemba will be on hand to talk about her just released Paco and the Giant Chile Plant, a bilingual children's book. Her first picture book, The Prince's Diary, was named Number One 2006 Valentine's Day Pick by Book Sense.
Storytellers Wanda Johnson, recipient of the Storytelling World award, and Joseph Trimble, whose books include Marty and the Million Man March, will join Janet Chambers, author of Ready, Set, Read, and magician Russell Davis in the festival's children's area.
Amadeus the Traveling Dog, a four-year-old Great Pyrenees whose books for children include Friendship Rules, will be on hand, and a special performance by the award-winning Children's Educational Theater will take place in the children's area. Clifford the Big Red Dog will be available throughout the day to greet children and sign autographs.
Alabama Public Television will give its Reading Rainbow awards at the festival. A noon program showcasing the winners reading their own work will be open to all.
A new venue at this year's festival is Poetry South / West, a tent in front of the Alabama Writers' Forum office at the corner of Columbus and Hull dedicated to poetry. Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey, Red Hen Press (California) poets Nickole Brown, Doug Van Gundy and Kate Gale, Alabama poet laureate Sue Brannon Walker, and a dozen others will appear.
The Alabama Book Festival is a free event for all ages. Sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book, Old Alabama Town , the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alagasco, AT&T, Auburn University 's College of Liberal Arts , and many others, the festival is a signature literary event for the entire state.
Workshop deadline approaches for Montevallo Literary Festival
The Sixth Annual Montevallo Literary Festival will offer two days of readings, workshops, discussion panels, and social events in a bucolic setting at the University of Montevallo . A $45 registration fee covers all events, parties, and three meals. A $95 registration fee covers the entire conference plus personalized workshop critiques. Registration is open now. Deadline for workshop registration is April 1. One may register online or print and mail a registration form.
This year's festival will feature Southern Progress Keynote Speaker Barry Hannah. Workshop leaders include Pulitzer Prize winning poet Claudia Emerson, fiction writer Inman Majors, and playwright and actor Steve Harper. The weekend event will also include a special salute to Harper Lee Award winner Wayne Greenhaw.
Hannah's novels include Yonder Stands Your Orphan, High Lonesome, Bats Out of Hell, and Never Die. He has received the William Faulkner Prize and the Award for Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He is director of the creative writing program at the University of Mississippi .
Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Emerson is the author of Late Wife: Poems, Pharaoh, Pharaoh, and Pinion: An Elegy. She has received a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. She is an associate professor of English at Mary Washington College .
Majors is the author of the novels Wonderdog and Swimming in the Sky. A graduate of Vanderbilt University , he received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama . He teaches fiction writing at James Madison University .
Harper's plays include Urban Rabbit Chronicles, The Escape Artist's Children, Wheelchair Pornography, and the musical Brink of Life. As an actor, he has appeared on stage and television. He attended Yale University , the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard, and the playwriting program at Juilliard.
Recipient of the 2006 Harper Lee Award for Alabama 's Distinguished Writer of the Year and the 2005 Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction, Greenhaw is the author of seventeen books. He is a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard Univeristy.
The festival will also feature writers Philip Shirley, Chad Davidson, Todd Dills, Susannah Felts, Tina Harris, Pete McCommons, Aaron Parrett, Chelsea Rathburn, and Jeff Weddle.
Red Mountain Theatre Company to stage Call Me Black Woman
Priscilla Hancock Cooper (photo by Dafina Cooper Ward)
Red Mountain Theatre Company will present the new, staged version of Priscilla Hancock Cooper's popular one-woman show, Call Me Black Woman, April 4-5 at 7:30 p.m. at its Cabaret Theatre in Birmingham . Ms. Cooper will collaborate with director and choreographer Jacqueline Crenshaw-Lockhart to create an expanded production based on her poetry collection. The original production of Call Me Black Woman toured to dozens of colleges through Alabama and across the country in the mid-1990s. It has been performed by request for Birmingham audiences. The show blends an intriguing mix of drama, poetry, and music on a variety of themes, including African-American heritage, social issues, and male/female relationships.
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute with support from the Alabama State Council on the Arts will sponsor a matinee performance for high school students on April 4.
Cooper is a teaching writer in the Writing Our Stories program and Vice President of Institutional Programs at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.
Alabama poet takes Second Place at the Southern Slam Queen Competition
Jerri Hardesty of Brierfield took Second Place in the final round of the Third Annual Southern Slam Queen Competition in Greenville , South Carolina , on March 2. Gypsee Yo of Atlanta made a perfect score, besting Hardesty by one tenth of a point and taking First Place . Theresa Davis, also of Atlanta , placed third.
The Southern Slam Queen Competition is an annual poetry slam held in Greenville . The tournament is open to women living in the South. Women perform their own poetry, are judged by randomly selected audience members, and are scored based on the content and performance of their verbal creations. Each poet performs one poem per round and are limited to three minutes per poem. Southern Slam Queen is a three-round event.
Hardesty will be Alabama 's representative at the first annual Women of the World Poetry Slam in Detroit , March 13-15. Hardesty is also a member of the 2008 Montevallo Poetry Slam Team.
Limestone Dust Poetry Festival returns for seventh year
Poet Teresa Davis at the 2007 festival
The seventh annual Limestone Dust Poetry Festival will be held on April 26 at the Huntsville/Madison County Public Library, 12:30-5 p.m. The festival celebrates poetry in a sense of community and provides a forum for the best from all genres of poetry from the academic to the emerging poet, from the poems of farmers to spoken and performance poetry.
This year's poets include Marianne Worthington, author of Larger Bodies Than Mine; Tony Crunk, author of Living in the Resurrection and winner of the 1994 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize; and Stefen Micko, a performance poet from Atlanta. Emcee Joe Berry will offer down-home humor.
Admission is free, though donations are greatly appreciated. Food and beverages will be available for sale. Door prizes will be given away between readings, and an open mic session is reserved at the end of the day. The book table will offer the 2008 Limestone Dust Poetry Anthology, books by guest speakers, and books by attendees who care to sell their work.
Olde Towne Coffee Shoppe will host an open mic with poets from Huntsville and beyond on April 25. The coffee shop is located at 511 Pratt Avenue in Five Points.
During the festival, judges will choose twenty-thirty poems for the annual anthology. Each winner will receive a free copy of the anthology at the festival and is invited to read his or her poem(s) on stage. Deadline for entries is April 1.
Area high school students hone writing skills in Birmingham-Southern College workshop
Students & faculty at the Writing Today high school workshop
Students from eight Birmingham area high schools participated in a one-day writing workshop on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College on February 5. Attending the workshop were twenty-six students from five high schools from Jefferson County Schools-Clay-Chalkville, Corner, Fultondale, Gardendale, and McAdory-and three high schools from Birmingham City Schools-Ramsay, Parker, and Woodlawn.
The high school writing workshop was a project of Writing Today, a writers' conference held annually on the Birmingham-Southern College campus. All students and teachers attending the high school workshop were invited to attend Writing Today as guests of the conference, March 7-8.
Dr. Peter Donahue, director of the creative writing program at Birmingham-Southern, is the 2008 Writing Today chairman. Workshop coordinators were Mary Johnson-Butterworth, Flo Jackson, and Nabella Shunnarah, members of the Writing Today Advisory Committee.
Students were divided into three writing groups to hone their skills in writing poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction. Daryl Brown, who teaches at the University of North Alabama , led the short fiction session. Tina Harris, a teacher at UAB, was session leader for poetry, and Victoria Coman, a Birmingham News reporter, led the nonfiction group. Birmingham performance poet Sharif Simmons closed the workshop with a reading of his poetry.
"This workshop helped me develop my writing skills even in the little time we were here," said Terranique Harris, a student from Woodlawn High School .
"I spent most of my time with students in the poetry and fiction sessions," said Carrie Gantt, a teacher from Clay-Chalkville High School . "They seemed excited and actively participating. I am so glad they had this opportunity."
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