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Ala. Writers Forum Newsletter Jan. 2010

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  • Amos J Wright
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      AWF Newsletter

      January 2010

      Carolyn Haines named 2010 Harper Lee Award recipient

      Carolyn Haines (photo by John Adams-Adams Imaging)

      Carolyn Haines (photo by John Adams-Adams Imaging)

      Carolyn Haines of Semmes has been named the 2010 recipient of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer of the Year. Haines will receive the award at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville on April 30 at the annual luncheon. The conference will meet April 29-May 1.

      The Alabama Writers' Forum, a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, coordinates the process to select the Harper Lee Award recipient annually from nominations from the field. The honor is presented annually by Alabama Southern Community College at the Symposium. It is made possible through a generous grant from George F. Landegger.

      "We are delighted with the selection of Carolyn Haines for the 2010 Harper Lee Award," said James A. Buford Jr., president of the Alabama Writers' Forum Board of Directors. "On April 30, she will join twelve other distinguished writers whose contributions to the literary arts follow in the tradition of Harper Lee."

      "I'm deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2010 Harper Lee Award," said Haines. "To Kill a Mockingbird had a tremendous impact on me as a young reader and helped shape my destiny to become a writer. Fine writing is part of the Alabama heritage, and I am proud to be included among the winners of this award, which bears the name of an author I so greatly admire."

      "Great congratulations to Carolyn Haines on being named the 2010 Harper Lee Award recipient, and on adding this wonderful award to her string of writing honors and accomplishments," said Rick Bragg, last year's recipient. "The award was one of the nicer moments of my writing life, and I hope it is that for her as well."

      Haines is the author of ten books in the popular Sarah Booth Delaney Bones mystery series. Her latest, Bone App├ętit, will be released in July by Minotaur Books.

      She has received critical acclaim for her mystery series as well as for her stand-alone titles. Fever Moon, an historical thriller released in 2007, was a Book Sense notable book, and Penumbra, set in 1952 Mississippi, was named one of the top five mysteries of 2006 by Library Journal, a distinction given to Hallowed Bones in 2004.

      Her first anthology of short fiction, Delta Blues, will be released by Tyrus Books on May 1. The book includes a foreword by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and short stories by some of the finest writers working today, including John Grisham, James Lee Burke, and Charlaine Harris. The stories focus on the Mississippi Delta blues, a unique musical form that originated in that region, and a crime or noir element.

      Her first non-fiction book, My Mother's Witness: The Peggy Morgan Story, tells the story of a woman who testified against Byron Dela Beckwith, a white supremacist who murdered civil rights worker Medgar Evers.

      Along with Rebecca Barrett, Haines edited a collection of memories about Mobile author Eugene Walter, titled Moments with Eugene. Touched and Summer of the Redeemers, two general fiction novels, have been reissued in trade paperback. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

      Haines received a 2009 Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence and a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 1999.

      She received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1974 and an M.A. in English from the University of South Alabama in 1985.

      Haines, a native of Lucedale, Mississippi, makes her home in Semmes. She teaches the graduate and undergraduate fiction writing classes at the University of South Alabama, where she is an assistant professor and Fiction Coordinator. An animal activist, she works to help educate the public about the need to spay and neuter pets.

      The Harper Lee Award is made to a living, nationally recognized Alabama writer who has made a significant, lifelong contribution to Alabama letters. It includes a cash prize and a bronze sculpture by Frank Fleming of the Monroe County Courthouse clock tower. The courthouse is a setting for Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

      CAROLYN HAINES...

      ACETA calls for nominations, papers

      The Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA) solicits nominations for the 2010 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 has focused mainly on Alabama writers. The Current-Garcia Award will be presented with its sister award, the Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer of the Year, at the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville on April 30. The postmark deadline for nominations is January 30. For more information, contact Dr. Steve Hubbard, ACETA Executive Secretary, at shubbard@....

      ACETA also calls for submissions for the 2010 Mary Evelyn McMillan Undergraduate Writing Award. The McMillan Award is presented annually to the undergraduate student at an Alabama college or university whose informal essay is judged most outstanding by a panel of judges chosen by ACETA.

      Finally, ACETA requests submissions of papers on any pedagogical topic in English studies for the 2010 William J. Calvert and the James Woodall Awards. College English teachers and graduate students may submit papers for one or both of the competitions. Deadline is January 30 for all three awards. Winners will receive a cash award of $150 and will read their papers at ACETA's annual conference at the University of Montevallo on Saturday, February 27. For more information on the writing awards, contact Professor Michael Orlofsky, ACETA President, at morlof@....

      ACETA...

      Arts in Crisis is coming to Birmingham

          Michael Kaiser

      Michael Kaiser

      The Alabama Alliance for Arts Education (AAAE) and Birmingham Children's Theatre (BCT) will host Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser on Friday, January 22, 9-11:30 a.m. as part of the nationwide tour Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative. The event will be held in BCT's Mainstage Theater in the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex at 19th Street and 11th Avenue North in downtown Birmingham.

      The Arts in Crisis Initiative is a response to the emergency facing arts organizations throughout the United States. The program will feature Alabama State Council on the Arts Executive Director Al Head and Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham Executive Director Kate Nielsen in an informal community conversation. Kaiser will speak on the areas of fundraising, building more effective Boards of Trustees, budgeting, marketing, technology, and other areas pertinent to maintaining a vital performing arts organization during a troubled economy.

      The free event is open to the public. For more information, contact the AAAE at aaae@... or jaredkelley@....

      REGISTER TODAY...

      Kerry Madden's book named among the "Best of 2009"

      Kerry Madden (photo by Manuel Ramirez)

      Kerry Madden (photo by Manuel Ramirez)

      Harper Lee: Up Close (Viking) by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Assistant Professor Kerry Madden, MFA, has been named as one of the "Best Young Adult Books of 2009" by Kirkus Reviews.

      The book focuses on the life of Monroeville native Harper Lee, author of the 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Madden also is the author the Maggie Valley Trilogy, published by Viking Children's Books. The trilogy includes Gentle's Holler (2005), Louisiana's Song (2007) and Jessie's Mountain (2008). Her first novel Offsides was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age in 1997.

      READ MORE...

      AWC calls for submissions

      The Alabama Writers' Conclave (AWC) is now accepting submissions for its Annual Writing Contest. Deadline postmark April 20. Categories include fiction, short fiction, juvenile fiction, nonfiction, humor, traditional poem, free verse poem, and first chapter novel. Prizes of $100, $75, $50, $25, and four honorable mentions will be awarded in July. For more information, contact Marian Lewis, Contest Chair, at bo325sky@....

      COMPLETE GUIDELINES...

      Spike Lee produced movie of Bob Zellner book films in state

      Bob Zellner (photo compliments of NewSouth Books)

      Bob Zellner (photo compliments of NewSouth Books)

      The film version of Bob Zellner's memoir The Wrong Side of Murder Creek recently filmed scenes in Greenville, according to Kevin Pearcey, writing in the Greenville Advocate. Son of the South, directed by Spike Lee's longtime editor and Montgomery native Barry Alexander Brown, relates the story of Zellner's experiences during the civil rights movement in the early 1960s. Lee serves as executive producer.

      The Wrong Side of Murder Creek, co-written with Constance Curry, was published by NewSouth Books in 2008. The film is scheduled for release in 2011.

      READ MORE...

      AHF welcomes six new board members

      The Alabama Humanities Foundation (AHF) has announced Cathy Crenshaw of Birmingham, Robert Olin of Tuscaloosa, Carolyn Reed of Birmingham, Nancy Sanford of Sheffield, Dafina Ward of Birmingham and Wyatt Wells of Montgomery as its newest board members. New board officers include Bob Whetstone, Birmingham, chair; Jim Noles, Birmingham, vice chair; Danny Patterson, Mobile, secretary; and John Rochester, Ashland, treasurer.

      AHF...

      January reviews offer the best in Alabama literature

      Need a good scare? Read the review of University of West Alabama folklorist Alan Brown's new book Haunted Birmingham. January also features reviews of poetry by Mary Carol Moran and Robert Gray, fiction by Joyce Scarbrough, and nonfiction by Aaron Beam with Chris Warner. Also included this month are several Books Noted to keep you current on the latest releases from Alabama authors and publishers.

      Each month First Draft Reviews Online features reviews of books by Alabama authors, books about our state, and books by local publishers. Each review offers a Web link to authors, publishers, and reviewers when available. The page also features a searchable archive to benefit readers, students, and scholars.

      JANUARY REVIEWS...

      Share your issue of First Draft

      When you finish reading, share your issue of the Fall 2009 First Draft with others. Featured are Pam Kingsbury's informative interview with poet Joy Harjo and a visit with New Orleans' post-Katrina Alabama expatriate community by Christopher Chambers. Hank Lazer and Allen Wier discuss the writing process in their essays on the notebook in poetry composition and the gesture in fiction. Phyllis Alesia Perry examines educational and career alternatives for aspiring writers.

      Look also for the award-winning essay "The Quiet Man" by University of North Alabama student Sandy Morris and pictorial essays on the Tuscany-Alabama cultural exchange and the 2009 Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards.

      And don't miss the popular Greetings, Salutations, and Goodwill, correspondence from our members, associates, and readers; the Board Member's Page, written for this issue by Alabama Poet Laureate Sue Brannan Walker; and From the Executive Director's Journal.

      In the meantime, point your family and friends to eleven years and twenty-nine issues of First Draft online. They will enjoy reading interviews with Harper Lee Award Winners, essays by some of the country's most notable writers, and reviews of books that have become literary treasures.

      First Draft mails to AWF members in good standing. Make certain your membership is current so you won't miss a single issue.

      READ FIRST DRAFT...

      Alabama Arts Radio Series covers the state

      Each week on the Alabama Arts Radio Series, staff members of the Alabama State Council on the Arts visit with writers, musicians, visual artists, and other individuals who contribute to our state's rich artistic traditions. Recent interviews include Rick Bragg, Kathryn Tucker Windham, and Charlie Lucas with Chip Cooper.

      Listen Sundays 5-5:30 p.m. on WTSU 89.9 (Montgomery-Troy), WRWA 88.7 (Dothan), and WTJB 91.7 (Columbus-Phenix City). Those farther south may listen Saturdays 2:30-3 p.m. on WHIL 91.3 (Mobile-Biloxi-Pensacola). Broadcasts are also streamed live and archived on the Web.

      LISTEN HERE...

      Support the Arts license plate funds arts education programs

      Proceeds from the sale of the Alabama Support the Arts license plate are used to fund a variety of school and community projects, including the 2010 Alabama Book Festival Teacher Workshop and other arts education projects. Consider buying one the next time you renew your auto plate, or exchange your current plate for one of the Support the Arts plates at your county Probate Judge's Office. Help support all Alabama arts education projects.

      LEARN MORE...

      Upcoming Literary Events

      Erin McGraw, Jan 20, 4 pm, UAB Writers' Series, UAB Hulsey Recital Hall, Birmingham

      Erin McGraw, Jan 20, 4 pm, UAB Writers' Series, UAB Hulsey Recital Hall, Birmingham

      Jan 19, 3:30 pm, Under the Covers: Robert Baldwin, Bryant Conference Center, Tuscaloosa, http://www.olli.ua.edu/

      Jan 20, 4 pm, UAB Writers' Series: Erin McGraw, UAB Hulsey Recital Hall, Birmingham, http://www.uab.edu/english/events/

      Jan 21, noon, Architreats: Food For Thought: George Shorter, Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, http://www.archives.alabama.gov

      Jan 23, 10 am-4 pm, Escape To Create: Scott Morris Workshop, The Library at Redfish Village, Seaside, Fla., http://www.escapetocreate.org

      Jan 25, 6-8 pm, Sister Schubert book event, Page & Palette, Fairhope, http://www.pageandpalette.com

      Jan 26, 6:30 pm, Julie Williams book event, Avondale Regional Library, Birmingham, http://www.bham.lib.al.us/

      Jan 29, 6-8 pm, Escape To Create: John T. Edge, Great Southern Cafe, Seaside, Fla., http://www.escapetocreate.org

      Jan 31, 3 pm, William C. Carter: Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, University of South Alabama Baldwin County Performance Center, Fairhope, cbogar@...

      Feb 4, 11:30 am,

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