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Ala. Writers' Forum Newsletter Dec08-Jan09

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  • Amos J Wright
    AWF Newsletter December 2008-January 2009
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2008

      < div align=left>AWF Newsletter                            December 2008-January 2009


      AWF wishes you a happy holiday season

      The Alabama Writers' Forum Board of Directors and staff wish you a safe, happy, and peaceful holiday season.  As you consider your holiday giving, please remember that a membership in the Forum makes a wonderful gift for a young writer or a friend who loves to read. With our new credit card service, it has never been easier to support Alabama writers and the literary arts.  

      Membership includes a sub scription to First Draft, a magazine to savor, with interviews, profiles, and essays by writers on writing. Gather Up Our Voice: Selected Writings from Recipients of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer 1998-2007 makes an excellent stocking stuffer, and we offer it as a premium at all levels of membership. Phone toll free 1-866-901-1117 or e-mail writersforum@... for details.



      Alabama Tourism wins three national awards for Year of the Arts campaign

      Governor Bob Riley announced recently that the Alabama Tourism Department won the Travel Industry Association's (TIA) highest honor for its Year of Alabama Arts campaign and two other national competitions.  The state agency was presented with TIA's Discover America marketing award and is featured in the November issue of National Geographic Traveler. The 2007 promotion also won the National Council of State Tourism Directors' Mercury award for best state promotion and Travel Weekly's Magellan award for promotion of culture and the arts in the U.S. and Canada .

      "To win one top award is outstanding, but to win the best in three separate competitions must be unprecedented," Governor Riley told tourism and arts representatives at a ceremony on November 5 in the State Capitol.

      The purpose of the fifteen-month Year of Alabama Arts campaign was "to put a huge spotlight on the arts, everything from architecture to dance and in between," state tourism directo r Lee Sentell said. "We had involvement from more than sixty communities which shows how important the arts are all over the state."

      Agency staff member Brian Jones created a fifty-six-page brochure that promoted exhibitions, festivals, and landmarks in sixty-four towns and cities. Four television commercials featuring the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, arts festivals, and Gee's Bend quilts were broadcast on Alabama Public Television, the Bravo network, and Raycom Media stations, Sentell said.

      A Web site created by Luckie & Company, a Birmingham ad agency, allowed individual artists to post profiles of themselves and works for sale, he added. Sentell said the Alabama Folk Art Exhibition sponsored with the Birmingham Museum of Art displayed works by some of the state's best-known "outsider" artists, including Lonnie Holley, Mose Tolliver, Jimmie Lee Sudduth, and Jerry Brown.

      "We were grateful that local newspapers in Alabama supported the arts campaign by focusing on hometown organizations, facilities, and artists," Sentell said. Many local groups included the campaign's colorful quilt logo developed in association with the Alabama State Council on the A rts. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Las Vegas , and Florida previously won the TIA Discover America award that is open to private companies and public agencies.

      This was the second time in three years that Alabama received the Mercury award for best statewide promotion, winning earlier for the Year of Alabama Food. The tourism agency also received the Southeast Tourism Society's top organization award for the arts promotion, the third time in four years to win. 

      Gov. Riley previously announced that 2009 will be celebrated as the Year of Alabama History and 2010 will be the Year of Small Towns and Downtowns.

      LEARN MORE...


      Gov. Bob Riley recognizes Alabama Book Festival

      Jay Lamar receives recognition from Gov. Bob=2  0Riley. (photo by Barbara Reed)

      Jay Lamar receives recognition from Gov. Bob Riley. (photo by Barbara Reed)

      Governor Bob Riley congratulated the Alabama Center for the Book (ACFTB), located at the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities at Auburn University , for its partnership with the Alabama Tourism Department in its award-winning Year of Alabama Arts campaign.

      ACFTB director Jay Lamar received a special certificate from the governor during an awards reception held at the State Capitol on November 5.  The certificate recognizes the Alabama Book Festival, designated the top literary event for the Year of Alabama Arts.

      "The Alabama Book Festival was just in its second year during the Year of Alabama Arts, and the support of the Tourism Department brought it enormous positive attention and traction," said Lamar.  "Its success as a statewide event owes a great deal to the support of Tourism director Lee Sentell and Year of Alabama Arts program manager Brian Jones."

      The Alabama Book Festival is supported by more than twenty-five entities from around the state, including the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Alabama Writers' Forum, and Alabama Public Television.   The 2009 Book Fest will be held on April 18 at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery .



      Gov. Riley also honors Valentina Fogher

      Gov. Bob Riley congratulates Valentina Fogher. (photo by Barbara Reed)

      Gov. Bob Riley congratulates Valentina Fogher. (photo by Barbara Reed) 

      Valentina Fogher, Collaborator of Cultural Activities, Pietrasanta, Italy, was also recognized by Governor Bob Riley for the partnership of the City of Pietrasanta with the State of Alabama in the Alabama Tourism Department's award-winning Year of Alabama Arts campaign.

      The governor presented Fogher with a special certificate during the November 5 awards reception at the State Capitol.  The certificate recognizes the cultural exchange between Pietrasanta and Alabama .

      The Fall 2008 issue of First Draft features Jeanie Thompson's profile of the Alabama Festival: Freedom Dream held last summer in Pietrasanta.  Italian artists, scholars, and public officials will visit Montgomery next spring.



      Writing Our Stories celebrates its eleventh year

      A newly published writer reads his selections in Open the Door 11. (photo by Jamie Martin)

      A newly published writer reads his selections in Open the Door 11. (photo by Jamie Martin)

      Writing Our Stories: An Anti-Violence Creative Writing Program, a partnership of the Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) and Alabama Writers' Forum, celebrated its eleventh anniversary this fall with the release of three new student anthologies of poems, stories, and memoirs.

      On October 23, one published writer read his selections from A Long Time Coming in the chapel of the DYS Vacca Campus in Birmingham .  Seven students from the new class read their favorite poems from the anthology and shared some of their work.  Danny Gamble, former teaching writer at Vacca's McNeel School , offered the keynote address.

      "Writing is hard work, perhaps the hardest work you've ever done," said Gamble.  "It takes effort.  It takes discipline. It takes patience. It's painfully frustrating. But writing a polished piece for publication is greatly rewarding.  When you new student writers sit here next year with your book in your hands, you'll know this feeling of accomplishment."  

      Gamble leaves the program after nine years to assume communication duties at AWF. Tony Crunk has joined WOS as teaching writer at McNeel School .

      DYS Executive Director J. Walter Wood J r. welcomed the assembled guests to the DYS Mt. Meigs campus on October 30 for the release of Open the Door 11.  "You're published writers now," Wood told the twelve student writers.  "That's something no one can take away from you.  You make us proud."

      The Honorable Brian Huff, Presiding Circuit Judge of Family Court in Birmingham , delivered the keynote address.  "You can do anything you set your mind to, and this book is proof," Judge Huff said, addressing the Open the Door 11 writers.  "This book gives you young men the inspiration, the realization that you can accomplish your goals.  Hold on to this talent, use it, make the most of it."

      According to Marlin Barton, Assistant Director for Writing and Our Stories and the teaching writer at the Lurleen B. Wallace School at Mt. Meigs , Open the Door 11 is the largest anthology he has published in his eleven years with the program.  "Forty students contributed to this book," he said.  "This was a group of most talented students who produced quality work."

      On November 6, Birmingham Weekly managing editor Glenny Brock addressed the audience at The Open Window book release event on the DYS Chalkville Campus.  "As I grew up, I came to learn about writing as a refuge and as a gateway," she said, alluding to a fatal auto accident in which she lost her mother when Brock was eight years old.  "Writing is not a way out of life-crushing events, but it is a way of wrestling with them. I hope so much to impart to you that what you've done is important.  There are examples in your anthology of your already using your writing as a refuge and as a gateway. I hope you continue."

      Before introducing her four returning and one remaining student authors, teaching writer Priscilla Hancock Cooper applauded the ten-year relationship between DYS and AWF at Sequoyah School at Chalkville. "This type of program and partnership is so unique, and we appreciate our continuing partnership," she said.

      After she read selections of her newly published poems, an emotional L.M.C. told the new class, "Keep going.  Keep writing.  You have talent that's never going to leave.  You may be in here now, but you'll get out.  Keep writing then.  It's helped to keep me moving, to keep striving." Student writers are identified by their initials to comply with DYS policy.

      Copies of the new anthologies are available at the Forum for a $5 shipping and handling fee for each book.  E-mail writersforum@... for more information.



      Three Alabamians inducted into UA C& IS Hall of Fame

      Harper Lee (photo courtesy of UA University Relations)

      Harper Lee (photo courtesy of UA University Relations)

      Three renowned communication and information leaders were inducted into The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame on November 6. This year's honored individuals include Nelle Harper Lee, Dr. James D. Ramer</ STRONG>, and H. Pettus Randall III.

      Lee's 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, required reading in most American schools, is the novel most often chosen in the "one community reads one book" programs, and is read around the world in thirty different languages. The book has sold more than thirty million copies and won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize. The movie version won Academy Awards for actor Gregory Peck and screenwriter Horton Foote.  In 2007, Lee received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George Bush, who called the novel "a gift to the entire world" and praised Lee's "wise and kind heart."  During her four years at UA, she wrote for The Crimson White and the Rammer-Jammer.

      Ramer was the founding dean of the UA School of Library and Information Studies, where he was instrumental in establishing a strong and successful program that has been continuously accredited since 1972, developed the Master of Library Service degree and the educational specialist degree in librarianship, and helped develop the philosophy in librarianship program. Ramer also oversaw the development of one of the few Master of Fine Arts in book arts programs in the country.

      Randall assumed control of the family business, Randall Publishing's Who's Who Among Students in American20University and Colleges and Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges, merged them with his own Award Company of America, and began an expansion into new and different areas and media.  Now Randall-Reilly Publishing, the company produces trucking magazines, especially Overdrive and Truckers News. It also publishes Equipment World, Top Bid, called "the bible" of off-highway and equipment auctions, Modern Woodworking, and Pumps and Systems. Randall-Reilly Publishing also conducts market research and supplies marketing services. The company produces thirty magazines, directories of periodicals, and more than thirty-five Web sites.

      Established by the C&IS Board of Visitors, the Communication Hall of Fame was created in 1998 to honor, preserve and perpetuate the names and accomplishments of civic and communication personalities who have brought lasting fame to the state of Alabama . The Communication Hall of Fame Gallery is located in the rotunda of Reese Phifer Hall on the UA campus. Permanent archives will be established and maintained for the collection of memorabilia related to the lives and careers of those chosen for placement in the Hall of Fame.



      Caroline Marshall Draughon Center to host Buddyfest


      Lewis "Buddy" Nordan

      Writer Lewis "Buddy" Nordan will be the focus of the second annual Pebble Hill Books Symposium, scheduled for Jan. 23, 2009, in Auburn . An international slate of scholars and writers-including Nordan himself and his friend and colleague Clyde Edgerton-will convene to celebrate the much beloved author of four novels, three short story collections, and a memoir. The program will be of interest to scholars, students, and the general public.

      The symposium, sponsored by the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts & Humanities in the AU20College of Liberal Arts and designed to showcase significant literary, arts, and cultural figures with connections to Alabama, follows the successful 2008 symposium on writer and critic Albert Murray.

      In addition to Edgerton, other writers include novelist and Professor of Creative Writing at Florida International University , John Dufresne, poet Jo McDougall, and Lee Martin, Chair of Creative Writing at the Ohio State University .  Scholars Manuel Broncano of the University of Leon, Spain, Edward Dupuy, Dean of Savannah College of Art & Design, Robert Rudnicki, Louisiana Tech, Mary Carney, Georgia State, and Roberta Maguire, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, will join Barbara Baker and Constance Relihan of Auburn University.

      Nordan, a 1973 AU graduate (Ph.D., English), served as writer-in-residence for the University of Pittsburgh until his retirement in 2005. He is best known for the comically heartbreaking collection Music of the Swamp (1987), which won the Porter Fund Prize, a best fiction award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Notable Fiction award from the American Library Institute of Arts and Letters. In Music of the Swamp, Nordan developed his signature gift for transforming memories from his southern childhood into magnificent and magical tales of transcendence and hope. His many other awards include the Southern Book Award, the  Gould Fletcher Award for fiction, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.



      ACETA calls for nominations; faculty, graduate, undergraduate papers

      The Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) calls for nominations for the 2009 Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinction in Literary Scholarship. The award will be made to a living, outstanding literary scholar who is from Alabama or has worked primarily in Alabama or <

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