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Ala. Writers' Forum Newsletter March09

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  • Amos J Wright
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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 18, 2009

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      AWF Newsletter March 2009




      AAAE recognizes WOS with inaugural Impact Award

          Jeanie Thompson (l) & Cathy Wright (photo by Julian Green)

      Jeanie Thompson (l) & Cathy Wright (photo by Julian Green)

      The Alabama Alliance for Arts Education (AAAE) recognized Writing Our Stories (WOS) with its inaugural Impact Award for Innovative Curriculum at its second annual Arts Leadership Summit at Troy University on February 18. The Alabama Writers' Forum (AWF) has conducted the progr am in partnership with the Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) for the past twelve years. Eleven members of the WOS team attended the awards banquet.

      Jeanie Thompson, founding executive director of AWF, accepted the award. "To be presented with the inaugural Impact Award for Writing Our Stories is a highlight of my work with the Forum," said Thompson. "To receive this award from the arts education community validates my personal work in teaching creative writing to young people for thirty years. More importantly it validates the Forum's work and positions us in the community where there are so many opportunities to introduce Writing Our Stores to a wider audience."

      She added, "What makes this program work is the strong partnership between DYS and the Forum. People around the country recognize that Alabama has a model arts and juvenile justice partnership that encourages students to enthusiastically read great literature, study the craft of writing, and create their own stories and poems."

      AWF Assistant Director for Writing Our Stories and Master Teacher Marlin "Bart" Barton said, "It's a great honor for Writing Our Stories to receive the first Impact Award, and to have it bestowed by the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education validates what our program is all a bout, using the arts to reach and engage students that many people might consider unreachable." Barton has taught in the program on the DYS Mt. Meigs campus since its inception.

      The Forum also places teaching writers Priscilla Hancock Cooper on the DYS Chalkville campus and Tony Crunk on the Vacca campus. Danny Gamble taught at Vacca for nine years before assuming duties as communication specialist at the Forum in 2008.

      The Alliance also recognized recently retired arts educator and choreographer Cathy Hess Wright and Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders (D-Selma, District 23).

      "By inaugurating this arts awards program, we can recognize individuals, organizations, and elected officials who make a difference for arts education in Alabama ," said Donna Russell, AAAE executive director. "With the staggering decline in arts programs in schools in the past number of years, the work by nonprofits and individuals is even more important. Research has proven again and again that the arts are an integral part of the learning process, not a frill. These award-winners support and prove that research."

      “Writing Stimulus” Workshop set for April 17 in conjunction with ABF

          Andrew Hudgins (photo by Joanna Eldredge)

      Andrew Hudgins (photo by Joanna Eldredge)

      Poet Andrew Hudgins and fiction writer Erin McGraw, both award-winning writers, will conduct a day-long writing workshop open to the general public on Friday, April 17, the day before the fourth annual Alabama Book Festival (ABF). Limited to forty participants, the workshop takes place on the campus of Troy University-Montgomery Campus.


      Lunch is included in the $25 workshop fee, and both writers will read from their latest works during that hour.


      McGraw, author of The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard, named a Top Ten Book of 2008 by the Seattle Times, will open the workshop at 9:30 a.m. with a two–hour session on revising prose.


      Hudgins, recipient of the 2005 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer and author of Shut Up, You're Fine! Poems for Very, Very Bad Children, will follow after lunch with a two-hour workshop on writing poetry.


      “We know times are hard for writers as well as everyone else,” said Alabama Writers’ Forum Executive Director Jeanie Thompson, “so we are offering this ‘writing stimulus’ workshop at a reduced rate of $25 this year. The fee covers the materials and helps support the Book Festival.”


      The open-to-the-public workshop and the concurrent teachers’ workshop are supported by a collation of funders, including the Support the Arts Car Tag Fund and the Alabama Humanities Foundation, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. To register, contact writersforum@... or phone toll free at 866-901-1117.

      Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards celebrates its sixteenth year

      Rep. Tammy Irons-Hallman (l) with Senior Scholarship winners. (photo by Jamie Martin)

      Rep. Tammy Irons-Hallman (l) with Senior Scholarship winners. (photo by Jamie Martin)

      The Alabama Writers’ Forum hosted its sixteenth annual Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards on March 11 at the Alabama Department of Archives and History Alabama Power Auditorium. A diverse group of students from the Alabama School of Fine Arts, Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Briarwood Christian School , Crossroads Christian School , Eufaula, Lee ( Huntsville ), Mountain Brook , Opelika , and Pelham high schools attended the event to receive their awards for drama, fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. The audience also included teachers and parents. The Honorable Tammy Irons-Hallman, Alabama House of Representatives (D-Florence, District 1), gave the keynote address.


      Alabama State Council on the Arts Executive Director Al Head welcomed the audience. “This is a program we look forward to every year,” he said. “We congratulate the winners and thank the teachers and parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who support them. There are so many good things going on in our schools, and this is one of those good things.”


      “For many of you, this will be one of many awards and honors bestowed upon you in your lifetime,” said Rep. Irons-Hallman. “Your talent in=2 0writing will help open doors for you in the future. The art of writing did not come easy to me. I didn’t know until law school how important it is. You will use your talent daily, and you will have a leg up with the talent you have.”


      “The High School Literary Arts Awards is one of my favorite AWF programs because through it we encourage young writers to appreciate themselves and their talents,” said AWF Executive Director Jeanie Thompson. “We applaud their efforts and tell them that it’s okay to be a writer. I always remember writing poetry in high school with no instruction and little encouragement, and how it took me years to get to a level of craft that these students sometimes achieve before they are even seniors.”



      Erika Wade, a student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and winner of the B.T. Thompson Senior Portfolio Scholarship, said, “I’m very humble to win this scholarship. I appreciate the positive reinforcement=2 0for my art and future career.”


      UA Cason Award honors Roy Hoffman

      Roy Hoffman (photo by Bill Starling-Mobile Press Register)

      Roy Hoffman (photo by Bill Starling-Mobile Press Register)

      Roy Hoffman, an acclaimed novelist and journalist, received the 2009 Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing from The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences on March 5 at a dinner in his honor at the Hotel Capstone.


      Hoffman is a staff writer for the Mobile Press-Register and is the author of Back Home: Journeys Through Mobile, a collection of narrative nonfiction, profiles, and essays from the Press-Register, the New York Times, Newsday, Preservation, and Southern Living. He is also the author of the novels Almost Family, winner of the Lillian Smith Award and Alabama Library Association Award for fiction, and Chicken Dreaming Corn, a BookSense pick praised by Harper Lee as “a story of great appeal in prose—lean and clean..”


      A native of Mobile , Hoffman lived in New York City for twenty years=2 0where he wrote articles and reviews for numerous publications and penned speeches for the chancellor of New York University and the governor and first lady of New York before returning to Mobile with his family in 1996 to join the Press-Register.


      The journalism department in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at UA established the Cason Award in 1997 to honor exemplary non-fiction over a long career. All of the recipients have had strong connections to the state of Alabama .


      Marlin Barton named a Hackney Literary Award winner


      Marlin "Bart" Barton (photo by Jamie Martin)

      Marlin “Bart” Barton, Assistant Director for Writing Our Stories at the Alabama Writers’ Forum, has been named by Birmingham-Southern College a winner of a 2009 Hackney Literary Award. The annual competition, sponsored since 1969 by the Cecil Hackney family of Birmingham , is open to writers nationwide. Winners are selected by a panel of literary judges. Barton won first place in the short story category.


      “I’m honored to receive a Hackney Award for short fiction in the state of Alabam a,” said Barton. “I know firsthand how many talented short story writers live here, and it’s encouraging to be deemed one among them.”


      Other winners in the state categories include Alicia Clavell of Birmingham, first place in poetry; Adam Vines of Birmingham, second place in poetry; Marc Burnette of Birmingham, third place in poetry; Brian Ingram of Pelham, second place in short story; and David Matchen of Birmingham, third place in short story.


      Winners in the national categories include Melissa Morphew of Huntsville, Texas, first place in poetry; Christine Poreba of Tallahassee, Fla., second place in poetry; Lois Parker Edstrom of Coupeville, Wash., third place in poetry; Cary Groner of Tucson, Ariz., first place in short story; Terry Roueche of Rock Hill, S.C., second place in short story; and Emily Jiang of Mountain View, Calif., third place in short story.



      Erik Sakariassen of Bismarck , N.D. , won in the unpublished novel category for his novel Honor Song.


      The competition awards $5,000 in prizes among national and Alabama categories for poetry and short fiction. An additional $5,000 prize for an unpublished novel is also awarded and sponsored by T. Morris Hackney, chairman of the board of The Hackney Group of Birmingham and a Birmingham-Southern College trustee.


      This Goodly Land now offers podcasts

      This Goodly Land has posted its first two podcasts on its new Multimedia page. Several more are in pre-production. Site visitors can either stream or download the audios directly from this page. The podcasts will also be available soon from iTunes, at the Auburn University College of Liberal Arts section of iTunes U, part of the iTunes Store.

      The new podcasts include “The Harlem Renaissance” by Dr. Susana Morris, Department of English, Auburn University , and “Travel Writing” by Dr. Christopher Keirstead also of the Department of English at Auburn .


      While these audio podcasts are convenient for the independent learner, they can also be used by book discussion groups, by lifelo ng learning classes, and as supplemental material by junior high and high school teachers. The Multimedia page also provides transcripts, reading lists, discussion questions, and relevant lesson plans.


      This Goodly Land offers a dynamic portal through which to explore Alabama ’s diverse literary landscape.


      Deadline approaches for GCACW conference registration

      The Gulf Coast Association of Creative Writing Teachers (GCACWT) invites writers, teachers of writing, students, literary presses, and periodicals and journals to register today for its eighteenth annual conference. This year’s event will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, in Fairhope at the University of South Alabama's Baldwin County Campus on Mobile Bay .


      The conference will feature writers Joel Brouwer, Jeanne Leiby, and Lu Vickers. Participating presses and literary journals include Anhinga Press, Excalibur Press, Kitsune Books, Livingston Press, River City Publishing, YellowJacket Press, Apalachee Review, Bayou, Black Warrior Review, CaKe, Chattahoochie Review, The Florida Book Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, Juked, Louisiana Literature, Snake Nation Review, The Southern Review, and others.


      Conference fees: Faculty $40, unaffiliated writers $30, and students $10. The fee includes a Friday dinner reception, sponsored by the Alabama Writers’ Forum at the Fairhope American Legion Hall. Reception tickets for non-registered guests are available for $10 and must be purchased by March 27. Registration also includes annual dues.


      The annual conference provides a chance to meet in a casual and friendly environment, with readings, panels, and display and sale of books and literary magazines. GCACWT includes a diverse group of education professionals and students from Alabama , Florida , Louisiana , Mississippi , Texas , and beyond.


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