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Ala. Writers' Forum Newsletter Feb09

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  • Amos J Wright
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      < FONT style="LETTER-SPACING: 3pt" face=arial,helvetica,sans-serif color=#ff0000 size=2>AWF Newsletter                      February 2009




      ABF calls for volunteers

      On Saturday, April 18, more than fifty novelists, poets, artists, illustrators, playwrights, and children's writers will converge on the grounds of Old Alabama Town for the fourth annual Alabama Book Festival (ABF).

      The Festival needs help. Helpers, that is. Author escorts, children's area helpers, gate counters, and greeters are among the tasks of the day. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt and the satisfaction of having helped with a signature event that celebrates Alabama 's r ich literary culture and the joy of reading.

      Volunteers must be at least sixteen years old, unless they are participating as a group to handle a group activity. Most volunteer shifts are expected to last two hours.

      The 2009 Festival will include readings and signings by Harper Lee Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, Alabama 's beloved Kathryn Tucker Windham, acclaimed photographer Beth Maynor Young, and Chef Frank Stitt. Author Warren St. John will premiere his forthcoming book.  Again this year, the Forum will sponsor the Poetry Tent in front of its Haigler House office.

      A dedicated children's area will feature Magic Tree House author Mary Pope Osborne, among others.

      ABF will kick off readings and activities at 10 a.m. and go until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to all.

      For more information, visit the Alabama Book Festival Web site or phone the Alabama Center for the Book at 334-844-4946.


      Joshua House Writers inaugurates Montgomery reading series

      Jim Murphy (photo by Glory McLaughlin)

      Jim Murphy (photo by Glory McLaughlin)

      Poet Dennis Sampson kicked-off the Joshua House Writers reading series on January 29 at the Church of the Ascension in Montgomery .  Sampson read from and signed copies of his collected works.

      Future writers in the series include poet Jim Murphy, who will read on February 26 at 7 p.m. An associate professor of English at the University of Montevallo , Murphy has published a chapbook, The Memphis Sun, and his book Heaven Overland is forthcoming from Kennesaw State University Press. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Southern Humanities Review, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and others.

      Writer Anita Miller Garner will present her work on March 26 at 7 p.m.  An Alabama State Council on the Arts Literature Fellowship Recipient, Garner has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in Black Warrior Review, http://www.storysouth.com/, Apalachee Review, and other literary journals for more than thirty years. She blogs about Southern life and culture at "Talking in Accents."

      Emma Bolden is scheduled for April 16 at 7 p.m. An award-winning poet, Bolden has published two chapbooks, How to Recognize a Lady and The Mariner's Wife. She has a forthcoming chapbook, The Sad Epistles. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, the Indiana Review, Feminist Studies, The Journal, and Verse. She blogs at "A Century of Nerve."

      The Joshua House Writers series is sponsored by the Montgomery Episcopal Campus Ministry and the Alabama Writers' Forum. All events are free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase at each reading.

      The Church of the Ascension is located at 315 Clanton Avenue , Montgomery , AL 36104-5541 . For more information, phone 334-263-5529.

      Wayne Greenhaw to deliver Davis Lecture

      Wayne Greenhaw (photo by Sally Greenhaw)

      Wayne Greenhaw (photo by Sally Greenhaw)

      Wayne Greenhaw, 2006 Harper Lee Award winner, will deliver the Neil and Henrietta Davis Lecture on Friday, February 25, at 5 p.m. at the Hotel and Conference Center in Auburn.20The program is presented by the Auburn University Department of Communication & Journalism and is open to the public.

      Born in north Alabama , Greenhaw has published twenty-one books of fiction and nonfiction. As a columnist and reporter, he has published hundreds of articles in regional, national, and international publications including The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Reader's Digest, and The Writer. He has also written for stage and television and worked as an editor and writing teacher.

      "I consider it a great honor personally and professionally to be chosen to give a lecture in the name of my old friend Neil Davis and his wife Henrietta," Greenhaw said. "For me, Neil Davis personified the essence of good journalism. He was not only a top-flight professional with the highest ethical priorities, he was a true gentleman in every sense of the word."

      Greenhaw was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in 1972-73 while he was a reporter for The Alabama Journal in Montgomery . In the 1980s he was editor and publisher of ALABAMA Magazine, a political, financial, and lifestyle monthly. In the early 1990s he was a columnist with The Alabama Journal and The Montgomery Advertiser.

      "What's inspiring about Wayne Greenhaw and writers like him is that they are continuing the courageous, diligent work of Neil and Henrietta Davis," said John Carvalho, AU journalism program director. "The Davis family=2 0did more than establish this lecture series; they inspired the lecturers."

      The Davis Lecture Series was established in 1996 to honor the late Neil O. and Henrietta W. Davis and encourage excellence in journalism. The series features distinguished journalists who can inspire students to follow the spirit and the principles embodied in the couple's life and work. The lecture is endowed by the gifts of the Davis family and friends, distinguished journalists, their newspapers, AU alumni, and faculty.

      For more information, e-mail willik5@... or phone 334-844-4579.

      LEARN MORE...

      AWC announces its annual writing contest

      The Alabama Writers' Conclave (AWC) has announced its annual writing contest. Postmark deadline is April 30.

      AWC will award prizes at its annual conference at the Birmingham Hilton Perimeter Park Hotel on July 19. Prizes include $100, $75, $50, and $25 with up to four honorable mentions, plus online publication of the first-fourth place winners in the online journal Alalitcom.

      Categories and maximum word limit include Fiction (2,500), Short Fiction (1,000), Juvenile Fiction (2,500), Nonfiction (2,500), Traditional Poem (any form-maximum forty lines), Free Verse Poem (sixty lines), Humor (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry-2,000 words or fifty lines for poem), First Chapter Novel (up to ten double-spaced pages).

      An entry fee for each submission in all categories is required: $5 for AWC members; $8 for non-members; with the exception of fees for First Chapter Novel: $10 for members; $12 for non-members; and for all poems: $3 per poem for members; $5 for non-members.

      Multiple entries will be accepted, but applicants may win only one prize per category. Entries must be original and unpublished, and they may not have won a money prize in any contest.


      Organized in 1923, AWC is the oldest continuing writers' organization in the United States . Writers, aspiring writers, and supporters of the writing arts may join. The Conclave is also responsible for nominating, for the governor's appointment, the Alabama Poet Laureate, a post currently filled by Sue Brannan Walker.


      The Southern Literary Trail to open its 2009 season

      Lillian Hellman's inspiration: Gainesville in Demopolis

      Lillian Hellman's inspiration: Gainesville in Demopol is

      The Southern Literary Trail debuts in March 2009 with celebrations at literary landmarks and the homes of famous twentieth century writers of Southern fiction in Alabama , Georgia , and Mississippi .  Trailfest, the tri-state literary festival and a "first in the nation," includes panel discussions, dinners, tours, pilgrimages, play performances, and film screenings from the works of honored writers. In Alabama , the Trail and Trailfest are sponsored by the Alabama Center for the Book and the Marengo County Historical Society with the support of the Alabama Humanities Foundation.

      Some of Alabama 's outstanding scholars and contemporary writers will participate in the programs.  Most of the events are free or require minimal admission costs.   

      Alabama Trail writers and their towns include Lillian Hellman, Demopolis;  William Bradford Huie, Hartselle;  William March, Albert Murray, and Eugene Walter, Mobile;  Truman Capote and Harper Lee, Monroeville;  Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Montgomery; and Ralph Ellison and Albert Murray, Tuskegee.

      Trailfest events in Alabama will feature performances-with panel discussions-of Hellman's The Autumn Garden in Demopolis;  a William Bradford Huie Tribute Weekend in Hartselle;  the annual Fitzgerald House Gala in Montgomery;  a Eugene Walter Literary Dinner at the Pillars Restaurant in Mobile;  a panel of scholars who will discuss Mobile's Literary Gumbo on the grounds of Oakleigh;  a picnic with the childhood friends of Harper Lee and Truman Capote in Monroeville; and the Ralph Ellison Lecture Series at Tuskegee University.

      For a complete list of the events in Alabama and all the participants, visit the Trailfest calendar.  Visit the Trail's general menu to access events in every state and to hear an exclusive interview with Oscar-winning actress Patricia Neal, who worked with Hellman, Capote, and Tennessee Williams.

      For more information, contact William Gantt, Alabama Project Director of the Southern Literary Trail, at wgg@... or phone 205-297-8849.


      Register now for Writing Today 2009

      Register now for Writing Today 2009, March 13-14, on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College . Writing Today is an annual writers' conference, focused on the art and skill of creative expression through words. The varied program offers readings from distinguished authors, breakout sessions on magazine and book publishing topics, and networking opportunities for aspiring writers.

      This year's conference features two Major Speakers: Mark Winegardner and David Kirby. Winegardner, best-selling novelist and journalist, is author of The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge.

      Kirby, noted poet and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University , is author of The Temple Gate Called Beautiful, What Is a Book, and The House of Blue Light. He has been called "one of the top poet-critics working in the United States today," with praise for his "literary range, his quintessentially American open-mindedness, and his humane sensibility."

      Other faculty scheduled to present workshops and sessions include Logan Ward, freelance journalist and author of See You in a Hundred Years: Four Seasons in Forgotten America; Elizabeth Lyon, independent editor and teacher, whose Manuscript Makeover was recognized as a Best Book for Writers in 2008 by The Writer; and Toni McElory Ansa, storyteller and novelist, who launched an independent publishing company, DownSouth Press, which focuses on African-American literature.

      New to this year's conference are Hands-on Workshops, two-hour intensive critique sessions, limited to twelve participants. During the sessions-one each devoted to poetry, novel/fiction, non-fiction, and memoir-participants will receive feedback on their work and provide critiques of other's submissions in a structured, directed environment. The workshops will be led by conference faculty Ward and Lyon, the Big Table Poets, and Dr. Myra Crawford.

      To review the complete conference schedule and to register, visit the Writing Today Web site, or phone 205-226-4921 to receive printed registration materials.


      Alabama Bound! is coming March 28

      Former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington Jr. to appear at Alabama Bound!

      Former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington Jr. to appear at Alabama Bound!

      Mark your spring calendar now for Alabama Bound!, a celebration of books and authors with Alabama connections, on Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Birmingham Public Library. Meet and mingle with authors and hear all the news about their latest and future books. The event is free and open to the public.

      This year the Alabama Bound! ranks include the former mayor of Birmingham , Richard Arrington, author of There's Hope for the World: the Memoir of Birmingham, Alabama's First African-American Mayor. Horror fans will be pleased to welcome back another Birmingham resident, Robert McCammon (Queen of Bedlam), and poetry lovers will turn out for Sonia Sanchez (Homegirls and Handgrenades).

      With the recent popularity of graphic novels, the event will feature Scott O. Brown, whose Atlantis Rising has been optioned by DreamWorks for a live action film. Also scheduled are Cody Miller (Youth Defenders) and Mark Waid (Brave and the Bold), editor-in-chief at Boom! Studios.

      An event for all ages, Alabama Bound! features excellent choices for young readers. Local poet Charles Ghigna, aka "Father Goose," will be on hand with Snow Wonder. Fans of Young Adult fiction will not want to miss In the Company of Owls, the latest novel from Peter Huggins, or The Pledge by Chandra Sparks-Taylor.

      Fans of mainstream fiction will relish The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips, and followers of Christian fiction will want front-row seats for Vanessa Davis Griggs (If Memory Serves). If the March weather is icy, Mary Monroe should generate plenty of steam heat with She Had It Coming, but readers who prefer the cold can visit with mystery writer Thomas Lakeman (Chillwater Cove) for s hivers and thrills.

      Attendees who prefer non-fiction will be riveted by Melissa J. Delbridge and her autobiography Family Bible, an account of her Southern childhood that is by turns heartbreaking and humorous. Political science devotees will want to examine the latest thoughts on the JFK assassination from James W. Douglass (JFK and the Unspeakable). Local history fans will welcome another venture into nostalgia from Birmingham author Tim Hollis (Selling the Sunshine State), and researchers pursuing their own family history can pick up pointers from Frazine Taylor (Researching African-American Genealogy in Alabama). Lovers of the great outdoors will want to come inside for at least long enough to meet with Floyd Edwin "Ed" Mashburn (Fishing Alabama) for updates on the best fishing spots in the state.

      Alabama Bound! will also welcome representatives from various writers' groups throughout the state, including the Alabama Writers' Forum, the Booker T. Washington Magnet School Creative Writing Class, Women Writing for (a) Change, and many more.

      All Alabama Bound! activities and presentations will take place on the first fl oor of the Central Library. Library staff will be operating the Atrium Café, and attendees are encouraged to visit the book sale area.


      February book reviews offer readers the best in poetry, fiction, nonfiction

      Rise to the top of the country music charts with Randy Owen.  Slog through the swamps of Arkansas in search of Big Foot with Gregory Reece

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