Ala. Writers' Forum Newsletter Oct. 2009
(r) American Foundation for the Blind President and CEO Carl Augusto, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Gov. Bob Riley unveil the Helen Keller sculpture in the U.S. Capitol. (photo by European Pressphoto Association)
A statue of Helen Keller was unveiled on October 7 at a ceremony in the United States Capit ol. The monument to Keller was placed in the Main Hall of the new 580,000-square-foot Capitol Visitor's Center.
The Keller statue was commissioned by Governor Riley and the Alabama Legislature and paid for with a combination of individual and corporate donations. "Helen Keller is one of the world's most recognized and honored Americans," Gov. Riley said. "Her sculpture in Statuary Hall will continue to bring credit to her and Alabama as it will be the first sculpture in the U.S. Capitol of an American with disabilities and the first sculpture of a child."
Nationally recognized sculptor Edward Hlavka was commissioned to create the statue. He was chosen by a committee of Alabamians, the Helen Keller Campaign and Artist Selection Committee. First Lady Patsy Riley served as honorary chairperson for the committee. Dr. Joe Busta, Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs at the University of South Alabama, and Elmer Harris, retired CEO of Alabama Power Company, served as co-chairmen of the committee. They worked with the Alabama State Council on the Arts to solicit artists' proposals for the sculpture.
The sculpture depicts Helen Keller as a child, vividly capturing the moment at her family's Tuscumbia farm water pump when she first successfully communicated with the outside world. "At this moment, when Helen Keller was a child, she showed us the power of a determined human spirit and reminded us all that courage and strength can exist in the most unlikely places. Alabama takes great pride in being Helen Keller's home state," Mrs. Riley said.
Keller, born in Tuscumbia on June 27, 1880, lost her sight and hearing after contracting meningitis when she was nineteen months old. She overcame these enormous obstacles and went on to become an internationally recognized author and activist. Keller was proclaimed in LIFE magazine as a "national treasure" and "one of the 100 most important Americans of the 20th Century."
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Harryette Mullen (photo by Judy Natal)
Florence, Ala., native Harryette Mullen has been selected as the recipient of the 2009 Academy Fellowship by the Academy of American Poets. The Fellowship is awarded to a poet for distinguished poetic achievement and provides a cash stipend. The Academy's Board of Chancellors, a body of sixteen eminent poets, selects the Academy Fellowship recipient.
About her work, Mullen has said, "I would assert that I intend the poem to be meaningful: to allow, or suggest, to open up, or insinuate possible meanings, even in those places where the poem drifts between intentional utterance and improvisational wordplay, between comprehensible statements and the pleasures of sound itself."
Mullen is the author of Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge (Graywolf Press, 2006), Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California Press, 2002), Blues Baby: Early Poems (Bucknell University Press, 2002), and Tree Tall Woman (Energy Earth Communications, 1981). She teaches African American literature and creative writing in the English Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
(l-r) Abby Melton, Emily Swanagin, and Peter20Gray (photo by Jaronda Little)
Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) senior Emily Swanagin of Vestavia Hills has won the first Norman Mailer National High School Nonfiction Writing Award for her essay "Luna," reported The Birmingham News recently. She will travel to New York to receive a trophy and cash stipend on October 20 at a Norman Mailer Writers Colony gala event.
"I was completely shocked and excited," Swanagin said. "We entered so many contests, I hardly remember the Norman Mailer." "Luna" deals with the separation and divorce of Swanagin's parents.
Of the 698 entrants, three ASFA students received honors. Abby Melton was a finalist and Peter Gray a semifinalist. Teacher T.J. Beitelman's class yielded all three essays.
Winston F. Groom Jr. (photo by Tom Corcoran-Random House)
Four renowned communication and information leaders were inducted into The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame on October 8 at the NorthRiver Yacht Club.
This year's honored individuals include writer Winston F. Groom Jr., author of fifteen books, including Conversations with the Enemy and Forrest Gump; advertising executive Norma Saliba Hanson, co-founder of Slaughter-Hanson; educator Raymond D. Hurlbert, first president of the Alabama Education Association; and jo urnalist S. Vincent Townsend Sr., former Birmingham News executive editor and assistant to the publisher.
Established by the College's 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.
(l-r)) Rob Riley, Susie Criswell, Fredna Grimmett, Rebecca Campbell, First Lady Patsy Riley, Janet Leffard, Melissa Elliot, Carol Murphree, and Edgar Welden. (Photo by Yuri Ayers)
This year's recipients include Rebecca Campbell, Uniontown Elementary School; Susie Criswell, Wrights Mill Road Elementary School, Auburn; Melissa Elliott, Lynn Fanning Elementary School, Meridianville; Fredna Grimmett, Ogletree Elementary School, Auburn; Janet Leffard, Dodge Elementary School, Mobile; and Carol Murphree, Russellville Middle School.
"I consider it to be an honor and a privilege for my project to have been selected for a Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship," said Leffard. "I think it is very important for Americans and Alabamians to appreciate and to help preserve our nation's and our state's history."
Leffard worked with her third-fifth grade students on SOS-Schools for Our Ship-a program that documents the 1964 effort by Alabama students to return the USS Alabama to Mobile. SOS also examines the damage done to Battleship Memorial Park during Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina and stresses the importance of funding to help restore the historic site.
The scholarship supports professional development and classroom enhancements in history and civics. Generously funded by Edgar and Louise Welden of Birmingham, the scholarships honor the memory of Jenice Riley, the late daughter of Gov. Bob Riley and his wife Patsy, whose dedicated passion for teaching and devotion to community helped ensure a quality education for our state's youth. Rob Riley presented the awards. He emphasized the need for teaching excellence in the classroom. He stated he enjoyed speaking about his late sister and her love for children, and he thanked the recipients of the awards, adding they were not thanked enough.
The luncheon, which celebrated AHF's thirty-fifth anniversary, also honored William C. Carter, Ph.D., a University of Alabama at Birmingham Distinguished Professor Emeritus and a renowned expert on the French writer Marcel Proust, as the 2009 Humanities Award recipient. Radio personality Paul Finebaum introduced author and Alabama native Warren St. John, who delivered the keynote address. Musician and music historian Bobby Horton led the crowd in the singing of the national anthem.
The Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) invites teachers and students in the humanities to submit presentation proposals for its sixty-second annual conference, Step into the River: Tradition and Innovation in English Studies, February 26-27, 2010, at the University of Montevallo.
This year's conference takes its cue from Alabama's literacy initiative, The Big Read. The 2010 text for The Big Read is Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Possible presentation topics may include, for example, regional fiction, poetry, or drama; ways of reading; issues of literature and race, economics, censorship, or the canon; literature and humor; the Bildungsroman; American realism; images of The River in literature; and of course, Tom, Huck, and Becky.
Conference pr esentations will be given on the afternoon of February 26. Each presentation will be limited to thirty minutes, including discussion time. All presenters must join ACETA and register for the conference.
Submit presentation proposals of no more than five hundred words by November 16 to Dr. Steve Hubbard, Executive Secretary, ACETA, Lurleen B. Wallace Community College, P.O. Box 1418, Andalusia, AL 36420; e-mail: shubbard@.... Electronic submissions are preferred.
The National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) invites young writers eighteen to thirty-three years of age to participate in its 2010 Short Story Competition. Contestants must first compete at the Chapter level. The first award winner of each Chapter competition will automatically compete on the National level in Clearwater, Florida, on May 21, 2010. The National first-place award is $10,000, and there are additional cash awards. All expenses for the Chapter winner to attend the competition will be paid by the Chapter. The Birmingham Chapter, one of nineteen across the United States planning competitions, awards $500 to its first place winner.
Applicants should submit two stories of which he or she is the sole author. One story must=2 0be written as a first-person narrative, the other primarily in third person. A minimum of 1,000 words is required for each story with no more than a total of 7,500 words for the two stories together. Manuscripts should be postmarked by March 1, 2010.
Contestants must be available to travel to Clearwater on May 20 and remain through the Career Awards Banquet on the evening of May 22.
Birmingham Chapter contact: Dr. Loretta G. Brown, 205-739-0782, Rhettvgb@....
Alexandra Zapruder (photo by Marjorie S. Zapruder)
The Alabama Holocaust Commission (AHC) will host its first, state-wide education program during the week of November 16. Voices of the Holocaust: Learning from the Past To Protect the Future will feature a state=2 0tour by Alexandra Zapruder, author of Salvaged Pages: Young Writers' Diaries of the Holocaust.
Zapruder began her career as the researcher for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibition for young visitors, Remember the Children, Daniel's Story. In 1992, Zapruder began researching and collecting diaries written by young people during the Holocaust. Ten years later, her work resulted in the publication of her book, winner of the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category. Based on her book, she also wrote and co-produced a documentary film for young audiences, I'm Still Here: Real Diaries of Young People Who Lived During the Holocaust, which aired on MTV in May 2005 and was nominated for two Emmy awards.
Zapruder will present free Community Lectures in Montgomery, Birmingham and Florence. In addition, AHC will sponsor free, full-day teacher workshops, offered in Monroeville, Montgomery, Birmingham, and Florence. The author will be the featured guest during the morning sessions. Teachers will receive Zapruder's book and the accompanying DVD. Funds will be provided for substitute teachers to ensure that all teachers will be able to attend.
AHC, established by the state legislature in 1999, has a core mission to provide Holocaust education in the State of Alabama: teaching remembrance as well as cultivating a sense of=2 0the individual and collective responsibility in maintaining human rights.
Kerry Madden (photo by Steven Wood)
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Assistant Professor Kerry Madden, MFA, of Homewood has been named the new editor of the UAB women's literary magazine PMS poemmemoirstory. Former editor Tina Harris will continue as associate editor.
PMS is an award-winning, national literary journal of women's poetry, memoirs, and short stories, published annually by the UAB Department of English. The journal has earned awards from New Stories From the South and several national awards from The Best Creative Nonfiction, The Best American Essay , and The Best American Poetry.
Madden is the author of the new children's biography Harper Lee: Up Close (Viking, 2009), one of Booklist's Top 10 Biographies of 2009 for Youth. She is also the author of the Maggie Valley Trilogy, set in the heart of Appalachia in the Smokies and published by Viking Children's Books. Her first novel, Offsides, was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age in 1997. Madden's book Writing Smarts, published by American Girl, is a guide for young writers.
PMS poemmemoirstory seeks submissions during its new reading period: January 1 through March 31, 2010. While PMS is a journal of exclusively women's writing, the subject field is wide open. Send all submissions and correspondence to Kerry Madden, editor, PMS poemmemoirstory, HB 217 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294-1260. Click here for complete guidelines.
Bryn Chancellor (photo by Rick Wiley)
Bryn Chancellor recently joined the creative writing faculty at the University of Montevallo (UM). Chancellor holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and an MA from Arizona State University.
"We're thrilled to have Bryn join us," said UM English Department Chair and resident poet Jim Murphy. "She can show our students exactly what's involved in the practice of writing fiction instead of just the theory, which is all I can give them as a poet."
Chancellor's short fiction has appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, Colorado Review, and other literary journals. She has received a fellowship and a project grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the David R. Sokolov Scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, a Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and a nomination for Best New American Voices.
Her story collection Meet Me Here was recently named a finalist for the 2009 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, sponsored by Sarabande Books.
(l-r) 2009 Alabama winners Amy Pippin, teacher Sharon Garrison, and Sohaila Nikoufar (photo by Julian Green) =2 0
The Alabama Alliance for Arts Education (AAAE) recently invited Alabama teachers to join Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest 2010. Classroom and district/regional contests typically happen throughout winter and the state competition happens in early spring, culminating in the National Finals in the nation's capital April 25-27, 2010. The contest awards more than $100,000 in prizes to students and schools at the state and national levels.
Poetry Out Loud satisfies most of the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE) English Language Arts Standards. In addition to memorizing and perfor
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