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Ala. Writers' Forum: Literary News July 2010

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  • Amos J Wright
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      AWF Newsletter

      July 2010

      Writing Our Stories coming to MEGA Conference

      WOS teaching writer Priscilla Hancock Cooper (photo by Jamie Martin)

      WOS teaching writer Priscilla Hancock Cooper (photo by Jamie Martin)

      At the invitation of Dr. Tommy Bice, Deputy Director of the Alabama State Department of Education, Writing Our Stories team members Priscilla Hancock Cooper, Marlin Barton, Lisa Williams-Gallagher, and Jeanie Thompson will present Creative Writing: Reaching Students Through Their Own Language and Stories To Improve Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum. The session will take place on July 20, 8:15-11:30 a.m. during the 2010 MEGA Conference in Mobile. Writing Our Stories is a thirteen-year-old program designed to teach creative writing to juvenile offenders in the Department of Youth Services School District.

      "If you are curious about how this arts and juvenile justice program makes a profound difference in students' lives and increases their reading and writing skills, we invite you to join us," said Thompson, AWF executive director.

      The session will take place in the Bon Secour Ballroom Room 2 at the Mobile Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel. Registration remains open.

      For more information, contact the Alabama Writers' Forum at 334-265-7728 or writersforum@....


      In Memoriam: Ann Wood Waldron

      Ann Waldron (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

      Ann Waldron (photo courtesy of The New York Times)

      Birmingham native Ann Waldron died at her home in Princeton, N.J., on July 2, according to a story by Dennis Hevesi in The New York Times. She was 85.

      According to Hevesi, Waldron "wrote biographies of Southern writers and books for children and young adults, but then- at 78-decided that she'd rather concoct tales about gruesome murders on the campus of Princeton University."

      Waldron wrote Eudora: A Writer's Life, a biography of Eudora Welty, and several other books on Southern writers and editors. She was also the author of novels for children and YA biographies of Goya and Monet.

      A 1945 graduate of the University of Alabama, Waldron worked as a journalist at The Atlanta Constitution, The New York Times, The Progressive Farmer, and other newspapers and magazines.


      W.S. Merwin named U.S. Poet Laureate

      W.S. Merwin (photo by Tom Sewell for The New York Times)

      W.S. Merwin (photo by Tom Sewell for The New York Times)

      Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced the appointment of W.S. Merwin as the Library's 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2010-2011.

      Merwin will take up his duties in the fall, opening the Library's annual literary series on Oct. 25 with a reading of his work.

      "William Merwin's poems are often profound and, at the same time, accessible to a vast audience," Billington said. "He leads us upstream from the flow of everyday things in life to half-hidden headwaters of wisdom about life itself."

      William Stanley Merwin succeeds Kay Ryan as Poet Laureate and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position.


      AAAE calls for nominations for innovation & achievement in education

      Nomination forms are now available for the three awards presented each year by the Alabama Alliance for Arts Education (AAAE). One goal of AAAE is to recognize innovation and achievement. The Alliance acknowledges individuals, schools, and organizations that demonstrate outstanding support for the arts and arts education.

      The submissions deadline is Monday, August 30. Recipients will be honored during an awards dinner, which will be held October 6 in Tuscaloosa during the Arts Education Summit at the University of Alabama, Hotel Capstone.

      For more information contact Donna Russell, Executive Director at 334-269-1435 or aaae@....


      Save the Date: October 8-9, 2010

      Janet Dixon named Teacher of the Year

      Janet Dixon (photo by Jamie Martin)

      Janet Dixon (photo by Jamie Martin)

      Writing Our Stories cooperating teacher Janet Dixon is the 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year for the Alabama Department of Youth Services School District 210. Dixon has taught special education at Sequoyah School for the past thirty-two years. During that time, she has made a lasting impact upon the lives of the students attending the school.

      "Mrs. Dixon has a great attitude and works extremely hard to assist students who may struggle academically," said Dr. Tyrone Yarbrough, DYS superintendent of education. "She makes adjustments in her classroom to meet the different academic needs of all students."

      "It has been a personal and professional pleasure to work with Mrs. Dixon as the cooperating teacher for Writing Our Stories for the past twelve years," said WOS teaching writer Priscilla Hancock Cooper. "Mrs. Dixon is a passionate and dedicated educator who has the unique ability to reach the students where they are and encourage them to rise to new levels of achievement."


      ASCA announces Fellowships, Art & Cultural Facilities Grants

      James Hilgartner (photo by Karen Hilgartner)

      James Hilgartner (photo by Karen Hilgartner)

      At its June meeting in Montgomery, the Alabama State Council on the Arts (ASCA) awarded ten Fellowship grants totaling $50,000 and five Art and Cultural Facilities grants totaling $240,500, for a grand total of $290,500. Fellowship grants are awarded to individual artists and one arts administrator and are based on merit of work, career achievement, career potential, and service to the state. Art and Cultural Facilities grants are awarded for planning, design, or construction of an arts space. This round of grants will support artistic endeavors for October 1, 2010-September 30, 2011.

      This year's Literature Fellowship recipients are James Hilgartner and Brett Levine. Hilgartner, Assistant Professor of English at Huntingdon College, Montgomery, has a particular genre style of writing that puts its own creative spin and fun within the work. He was awarded a Fellowship ten years ago. His present work has exceeded itself with creativity and maturity. Levine is Director of The Visual Arts Gallery at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB). His clarity and craftsmanship contribute to an area of writing where few choose to work. Levine is presently writing a biography of photographer Spider Martin.

      Fellowships are the most prestigious of grants awarded to individuals by ASCA. Julie Hall Friedman, Chairman of the Council emphasized and highlighted, "There continues to be outstanding work being done by talented artists in all disciplines statewide." Fellowships are given to individuals working in arts administration, crafts, dance, design, media/photography, music, literature, theatre, and visual arts. These awards recognize artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity. Recipients may use funds to set aside time to create art, improve their skills, or to do what is most advantageous to enhance their artistic careers.


      Pres. Obama recognizes young Montgomery writers

      Student authors of

      Student authors of "The Young Writers of the Molina Learning Center: Volume 2" swap autographs with Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange. (photo by Julie Bennett/Montgomery Advertiser)

      President Barack Obama recently recognized a group of young Montgomery writers, according to an article by Libby Allen for the Montgomery Advertiser.

      According to Allen, "Jennifer McDonald, director of community development for Summit Housing Partners, mailed one of Nancy Anderson's Young Writer's Block student compilations to the White House. Recently, the aspiring writers from west Montgomery received a big surprise: a framed response from President Barack Obama and an autographed photograph of the first family."

      The Young Writer's Block, for student writers ages 6-12, meets and writes at the Molina Learning Center. Anderson, an English professor at AUM, has taught in the program since 2007.

      "It's been a wonderful partnership for me," said Anderson in the Advertiser article. "I always try to keep it as un-like school as possible for them. We write throughout the year, and at the end of the school year I compile all the writing into a book and publish it."

      Anderson, several Summit employees, and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange presented the President's message to the students.


      Roger Reid wins EMMY®

      Roger Reid

      Roger Reid

      Roger Reid, writer and producer of the popular Alabama Public Television series Discovering Alabama and author of the young adult novels Space and Longleaf, recently received a Southeast Regional EMMY® Award for Outstanding Achievement for his work as writer of a Discovering Alabama episode titled "Alabama in Space."

      The honored episode focused on Alabama's involvement in the space program, which helped to put a man on the moon forty year ago, and discussed "what the journey has helped us discover right here on Earth," said Reid. "This award would not have been possible without the direct involvement of friends at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. These are many of the same folks who helped me develop the science content of my novel Space."


      HUD announces new federal funding initiative

      The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced a new federal funding initiative, the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program. This initiative is designed to support regional planning efforts to create strong, sustainable, and livable communities. A new collaboration between HUD, the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the program will award $98 million in competitive grants to support the development of regional sustainability plans. Urban and rural planning consortia are eligible to apply.

      Applications are due August 28 and the preparatory requirements are extensive.

      This program will place a priority on partnerships that include the arts. The notice of funding availability explicitly encourages partnerships with arts, culture, and recreation organizations, both governmental and nongovernmental. (Overview, G.1.) The arts are noted as an important component of regional plans for economic development. (III.E.2.F)

      For additional information, contact Randy Shoults, Community Arts Program Manager, Alabama State Council on the Arts 334-242-4076, ext. 224, or Barbara Edwards, Deputy Director, 334-242-4076, ext. 227.

      LEARN MORE...

      July reviews offer the best in Alabama literature

      Mobile restaurants, Delta murders, & post-modern poetry-all this and more in the July Book Reviews. Read reviews of poetry by Alan May and Scott Wilkerson, fiction by Carolyn Haines, and nonfiction by Frye Gaillard and Malcolm Steiner. July again features 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 link to authors, publishers, and reviewers when available. The page also features a searchable archive to benefit readers, students, and scholars.


      Fall First Draft now offers ad space at a discount

      Reserve your ad space for the Fall 2010 issue of First Draft today and receive a 10% discount. Your reasonably-priced, four-color ad will reach the readers most interested in your literary endeavors. To receive our current rate sheet, contact managing editor Danny Gamble at gambledanny@... or 205-665-7986.

      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.


      Upcoming Literary Events

      K.T. Archer, July 17, Capitol Book & News; July 24, Demopolis Public Library

      K.T. Archer, July 17, Capitol Book & News; July 24, Demopolis Public Library

      July 15, noon, Architreats: Food For Thought: Mary Spanos, Department of Archives and History, Montgomery

      July 16-18, Alabama Writers' Conclave Annual Convention, Hilton Perimeter Park, Birmingham

      July 17, 1-2 pm, K.T. Archer book event, Capitol Book & News, Montgomery

      July 20, 8:15-11:30 am, Writing Our Stories session, MEGA Conference, Mobile

      July 24, 10 am-noon, K.T. Archer book event, Demopolis Public Library

      Aug 10, 11 am, Julie Williams book event, Arlington Antebellum Home, Birmingham

      Aug 10, noon, Mary Ann Neely book event, Demopolis Public Library

      Aug 19, noon, Architreats: Food For Thought: Karen I. Hendricks, Department of Archives and History, Montgomery


      Post your literary events with AWF

      The Scrolling Calendar on the AWF homepage features upcoming in-state readings, conferences, book signings, and more. To publicize your upcoming event, simply click "Submit your event" then complete and submit the form.

      The Announcements page

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