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Ala. Writers' Forum Newsletter 4/09

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  • Amos J Wright
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    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2009

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      AWF Newsletter

      April 2009



      April is National Poetry Month

      To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Academy of American Poets encourages people everywhere to carry a poem in their pocket on April 30, and to share the poems in their workplaces, schools, libraries, community centers, and public spaces. Volunteer street teams will help spread the power of poetry by passing out poems by hand, circulating verses via handheld devices, and organizing readings in their communi ties. Download to print poems, find events, or share ideas.

      Harry N. Abrams, Inc. is publishing the first interactive poetry anthology, Poem in Your Pocket, in conjunction with the Academy of American Poets . The book features 200 tear-and-share pages of poetry, with verses from Shakespeare to Sexton. A portion of all sales will be donated to the Academy of American Poets .

      Look for new books of poetry at the Academy's Spring Books List, featuring 130 recently published titles from independent and commercial presses.

      Celebrate National Poetry Month in Alabama at events such as the Alabama Book Festival, the Montevallo Literary Festival, the Limestone Dust Poetry Festival, and the Alabama Writers Symposium, detailed below, and at various venues throughout the state, listed in Upcoming Literary Events.


      =0 D Alabama Book Festival 2009 is set for April 18

      Warren St. John (photo by Charles Thompson)

      Warren St. John (photo by Charles Thompson)

      On Saturday, April 18, more than fifty fiction and nonfiction writers, 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 state-wide literary event will kick off readings and activities at 10 a.m. and go until 5 p.m. The event is free and open to all.

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

      Again this year, the Alabama Writers' Forum will sponsor the Poetry South/West Tent on the grounds of its Haigler House headquarters.

      A special concluding event from 4 to 5 p.m. will feature the national debut of Warren St. John's new book, Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town.

      For reviews of many of this year's featured books, visit the Books Reviews page at writersforum.org.


      Montevallo Literary Festival to celebrate its seventh year

      Rebecca Gilman (photo by Joan Marcus)

      Rebecca Gilman (photo by Joan Marcus)

      The seventh annual Montevallo Literary Festival (MLF) is scheduled for April 16-17 at the University of Montevallo (UM). The program will include readings of poetry and fiction, literary discussions, theatrical performances, short films, book displays, music, and a reception with book signings.

      This year's keynote speakers and workshop leaders include Janisse Ray, Maurice Manning, Anthony Grooms, and Rebecca Gilman, who will read from their recently published work.

      Held in conjunction with Montevallo's April Celebration of the Arts, MLF will also feature a reading by Mary Ward Brown, sponsored by the Montevallo Arts Council. The Montevallo Main Street Players will also stage a production of Gilman's Boy Gets Girl, April 17-19 at the Parnell Memorial Library Theatre.

      Eight other invited writers will read and discuss their work. Humanities scholars, drawn primarily from UM, will serve as moderators and discussion leaders.

      Register online today.


      Limestone Dust Poetry Festival scheduled for April 25

      Bruce Alford

      Bruce Alford

      The Limestone Dust Poetry Festival will take place on Saturday, April 25 at Ridley Hall in Huntsville . All poets traditional and contemporary are invited to attend this annual celebration of poetry.

      The festival features contests, workshops, talks with guest poets and authors, and programmed readings. Specific accepted works from participating poets will be included in a poetry anthology to commemorate the festival.

      Guest poets for the 2009 festival include Robert Gray, Jerri Hardesty, and Bruce Alford.


      Mystery, murder, and mayhem in Monroeville

      Tim Dorsey

      Tim Dorsey

      "Mystery, Murder, Mayhem, and More" will visit Monroeville April 30-May 2 at the twelfth annual Alabama Writers Symposium. The symposium celebrates Alabama writers with those who love to read. Some of Alabama 's most renowned writers and scholars will lead discussion sessions, readings, and workshops.

      The symposium opens Thursday with "An Evening with Tim Dorsey." Author of a popular series of crime novels, Dorsey's eleventh book Nuclear Jellyfish was released in January. Friday's events include a picnic on the Old Courthouse Museum lawn, a community theatre production of To Kill a Mockingbird, and an afternoon performance by popular Alabama singer/songwriter Allison Moorer.

      The Friday luncheon features the presentation of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama 's Distinguished Writer of the Year to Rick Bragg and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama 's Distinguished Literary Scholar 2009 to Joh n Hafner.


      Fellowship of Southern Writers honors Alabama authors

      Natasha Trethewey (photo by Jon Rou)

      Natasha Trethewey (photo by Jon Rou)

      The Fellowship of Southern Writers recognized authors with Alabama connections for achievements in Southern letters at its fifteenth biennial AEC Conference on Southern Literature, April 2-4 in Chattanooga . Fred Hobson, Rodney Jones, and Natasha Trethewey were three of ten writers inducted into membership. Michelle Richmond received the Hillsdale Award for Fiction, and Maurice Manning received the Hanes Award for Poetry. Hobson also won the Cecil Woods Jr. Award for Nonfiction.

      "The Conference is without doubt the leading literary event in the South," said Dr. Louis D. Rubin Jr., past Chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. "It draws visitors not only from throughout the region but from all over the United States . To be invited to take part is an honor coveted by the South's leading authors."


      ASPS names poet, book of the year

      Jerri Hardesty of Briarfield has been named the Alabama State Poet of the Year for 2009 by the Alabama State Poetry Society (ASPS). A member of the BamaSlam poetry slam team, Hardesty has been published in many literary journals and magazines. She has placed in or won numerous state poetry contests. Hardesty competed on the slam team that won the Southeastern Regional Poetry Slam, and she has won Head to Head Haiku Poetry Slams at the regional and world levels.

      Hardesty is editor, publisher, and president of the non-profit corporation New Dawn Unlimited. She will be a featured poet at this year's Limestone Dust Poetry Festival in Huntsville on April 25.

      Bearing the Print by Sue Scalf of Prattville was named Book of the Year by the Alabama State Poetry Society. Negative Capability Press published the book.

      Scalf has received three previous Book of the Year awards, over one hundred other prizes for poetry, and two Pulitzer Prize nominations. She is a retired teacher of English and creative writing and the author of seven books of poetry. Her latest books are What the Moon Knows, Bearing the Print, and Burnt Offerings.


      ASCA names state champion for Poetry Out Loud

      (l-r) Amy Pippin, Sharon Garrison, & Sohaila Nikoufar (photo by Julian Green)

      The Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) announced the winners in the state-wide Poetry Out Loud competition recently. The event was held in Smith Recital Hall at Huntingdon College in Montgomery .

      First place went to Sohaila Nikoufar, a senior at Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School (LAMP) in Montgomery . She will travel to Washington , D.C. , to represent Alabama in the National Finals on April 28. Her schoolmate Amy Pippin placed second. Both winners are students of Sharon Garrison, who teaches English at LAMP.

      First place in the Original Poetry Competition went to Elizabeth Brasseale, a senior from Catholic High School in Madison County . Second place went to Jesse Lawrence Schaffer from St. Bernard Preparatory High School in Cullman.

      Winners in the state finals are awarded $200, and their schools receive a $500 stipend for the purchase of poetry books. Second place winners receive $100, and their schools receive $200 for their school libraries. The Original Poetry competition winners in Alabama receive books that encourage their independent writing. The National Finals will award a total of $50,000 in scholarships and school stipends, with a $20,000 college scholarship for the National Champion.

      Poetry Out Loud is a national arts education program presented by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in partnership with state arts councils nationwide. It encourages the mastery of great poetry by offering educational materials and a dynamic competition to high schools across the country.


      ASFA students dominate national poetry competition

      Four students from the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) in Birmingham took five of the seven top awards, including first place, in the forty-sixth annual Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest, sponsored by Hollins University.

      ASFA junior Allison Swagler, daughter of Rick and Susan Swagler of Birmingham , took first place in the competition. She will receive a $200 cash prize, free tuition for Hollins' two-week Hollinsummer program, and publication in Cargoes, the university's student literary magazine.

      Emily Swanagin, Emma Roberts, and Kelsey Greenwood captured four of the six second place prizes. Two of Swanagin's poems were awarded second place honors. A second poem by Roberts and works by fellow ASFA students Amber Holloway, Caitlin Owsley, and Lin Wang were finalists in this year's competition. Additional poems by Greenwood , Holloway, Owsley, and Wang, two poems by Elizabeth Brody, and one poem by Nicola Walls received honorable mention.

      The contest awards prizes for the best poems submitted by girls from across the country who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Each contestant can enter up to two poems, and winners are selected by students and faculty members in Hollins' creative writing program.


      SAF offers Literary Arts Touring Grants

      The So uthern Arts Federation (SAF), with support from the National Endowment for the Arts, is pleased to offer grants to provide fee support for presenting organizations to host out-of-state writers for a literary presentation. This year, changes in the guidelines provide more flexibility for presenting organizations. Colleges, universities, and other school-based presenters are now eligible to apply, and grant funds can be used to support fees for multiple writers. To be eligible, literary projects must include a public reading and an educational component.

      Applications must be postmarked by Monday, June 1 for projects taking place between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010. The maximum request is 50% of the writer's fee, up to a total grant request of $2,500. Only nonprofit and governmental presenting organizations in SAF's nine-state region are eligible to apply. The region includes Alabama , Florida , Georgia , Kentucky , Louisiana , Mississippi , North Carolina , South Carolina , and Tennessee .

      For more information, contact Nikki Estes, Program Director-Presenting & Touring, at 404-874-7244 ext. 16 or nestes@....

      APPLY TODAY...


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