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Alabama Writers Symposium: April 26-28, Monroeville

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  • A.J. Wright
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    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 18, 2012

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      Alabama Writers Symposium to celebrate 15th anniversary
      The Alabama Writers Symposium will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in Monroeville, Thursday, April 26 through Saturday, April 28. Exploring the theme Write Out of Place, the 2012 Symposium examines the ways in which Alabama writers are affected by their “placehood,” the ways in which Alabama as a place informs their literary efforts. Registration is available online. Sign-in begins Thursday, April 26 at 1 p.m. in Nettles Auditorium on the campus of Alabama Southern Community College.

      Some of Alabama’s most celebrated writers and scholars will lead discussion sessions, readings, and workshops. Participants will include Fannie Flagg, Brad Watson, Allen Tullos, Eli Gold, Wayne Flynt, Irene Latham, Trudier Harris, Rachel Hawkins, Kerry Madden, Jeanie Thompson, Abraham Smith, Mary Murphy, Nancy Anderson, Kirk Curnutt, Anita Miller Garner, Peter Huggins, Jim Murphy, Don Noble, Jacqueline Allen Trimble, William A. Ulmer, and songwriter Kathryn Scheldt.

      Thursday evening’s opening reception at the Monroeville Community House features Eli Gold, noted author, sports broadcaster, and the voice of Crimson Tide Football and NASCAR. Author of three books, Gold will share behind the scenes broadcast and inspirational stories from his autobiography, From Peanuts to the Pressbox.

      Friday’s events will include readings in Nettles Auditorium, a picnic on the Old Courthouse Museum lawn, a community theatre production of To Kill a Mockingbird, and an evening performance by Alabama singer/songwriter Kathryn Scheldt.

      The Friday luncheon features the presentation of the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year to writer Fannie Flagg and the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Literary Scholar of the Year to William Ulmer. The awards are made possible through a generous grant from George F. Landegger, chairman, Parsons and Whittemore.

      Admission to discussion sessions is free to all registered participants, but there is a charge for other events.Tickets are limited for the Thursday “Evening with Eli Gold,” the Friday awards luncheon, the live performance of To Kill A Mockingbird, and the Saturday brunch, so participants are encouraged to register early.

      Enjoy “An Evening with Eli Gold”
      Eli Gold (photo courtesy of WVUA-FM)
      Eli Gold (photo courtesy of WVUA-FM)
      Broadcaster, author, and restaurateur, Eli Gold is best known as the voice of Crimson Tide Football and NASCAR. Beginning his sports broadcasting career in 1972 with the Mutual Broadcasting System, Gold later spent twelve years doing play-by-play for various professional hockey teams, six years as part of the UAB Blazers Basketball broadcast team, and four years in the Birmingham Barons press box.

      Gold began his career with NASCAR’s Motor Racing Network (MRN) in 1976. During his early NASCAR career, he served as co-anchor, turn announcer, and pit reporter. His radio talk show, NASCAR Live, is heard on 450 MRN affiliate stations. Beginning with the 1996 racing season, Gold became anchorman for TNN’s televised coverage of the sport.

      In 1988, Gold became the voice of the University of Alabama’s football and basketball teams. He also hosts the Hey Coach radio call-in show with Crimson Tide football and basketball coaches.

      The hardest working man in sports broadcasting, Gold has also been seen or heard on ESPN, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, FOX Sports Net, Comcast Sports, SportsUSA Radio Network, SportsChannel America, and WBRC-TV.

      Gold is the author of three books, Crimson Nation, Bear’s Boys, and From Peanuts to the Pressbox. He will speak at the Opening Reception on Thursday, 6:30-9:30 p.m., in the Monroeville Community House.
      ELI GOLD…

      Fannie Flagg to receive 2012 Harper Lee Award
      Fannie Flagg (photo by Suze Lanier)
      Fannie Flagg (photo by Suze Lanier)
      Novelist, screenwriter, actress, and Birmingham native, Fannie Flagg will receive the 2012 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year at the Symposium’s annual luncheon on Friday, 12:15-2 p.m., at the Monroeville Community House. The 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 iconic Monroe County Courthouse clock tower. The courthouse is a setting for Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

      A New York Times bestseller, Flagg is the author of several novels, including I Still Dream About You (Random House, 2010), Can't Wait to Get to Heaven (Ballentine Books, 2007), A Redbird Christmas(Random House, 2005), Standing in the Rainbow (Ballentine Books, 2002), Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (Ballentine Books, 1998), Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe(Random House, 1987), and Coming Attractions: A Wonderful Novel (1981; reprinted as Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Ballentine Books, 1992). Her writing awards include the Alabama State Council on the Arts Distinguished Artist Award (2001), First Place in Fiction Award from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference (1978), and others.

      Also known for her work as an actress, producer, and writer for stage, film, and television, Flagg received an Academy Award nomination and the University of Southern California Scripter Award from Friends of USC Libraries for her screenplay, Fried Green Tomatoes, an adaptation of her novel.

      Flagg presently divides her time between California and Alabama.

      The Alabama Writers’ Forum, a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, coordinates the selection of 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, chairman, Parsons and Whittemore.

      This year is the fifteenth annual Harper Lee Award. Previous recipients include Winston Groom (2011), Carolyn Haines (2010), Rick Bragg (2009), Rebecca Gilman (2008), William Cobb (2007), Wayne Greenhaw (2006), Andrew Hudgins (2005), Sonia Sanchez (2004), Rodney Jones (2003), Mary Ward Brown (2002), Sena Jeter Naslund (2001), Helen Norris (2000), Madison Jones (1999), and Albert Murray (1998).

      University of Alabama’s Dr. William Ulmer to receive 2012 Eugene Current-Garcia Award
      William Ulmer (photo courtesy of William Ulmer)
      William Ulmer (photo courtesy of William Ulmer)
      Dr. William A. Ulmer will receive the 2012 Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Literary Scholar at this year’s Symposium. This annual award recognizes and rewards Alabamians who have distinguished themselves as men or women of letters, specifically in scholarly reflection and writing on literary topics. Ulmer will receive a commemorative Clock Tower Bronze by Frank Fleming and a monetary award during the annual Awards Luncheon on Friday, 12:15-2 p.m., at the Monroeville Community House.

      Ulmer was born and raised in New Jersey and studied at Gettysburg College, the University of Chicago, and the University of Virginia, from which he earned a PhD in 1980 with a dissertation completed under the direction of Cecil Lang. He came to the University of Alabama in 1980 and has served the University on numerous committees, as Director of the University Honors Program, and as Chair of the English Department. He is a former College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellow and a winner of the University of Alabama Alumni Association's Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award. As a scholar, Ulmer has concentrated on the poetry of the British Romantics. He is the author of articles on Shelley, Wordsworth, and Coleridge in ELH, Studies in Romanticism, Studies in Philology, and other distinguished journals, and of Shelleyan Eros: The Rhetoric of Romantic Love (Princeton, 1990) and of The Christian Wordsworth, 1798-1805 (SUNY, 2001).

      Given each year at the Alabama Writers Symposium, hosted by Alabama Southern Community College and the Alabama Center for Literary Arts, the award reflects the respect of the scholar’s peers in the academic community. Annual selection of the recipient of the award is the task of the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama (ACETA), a diverse organization representing faculty at all of Alabama's two-year, four-year, and doctoral institutions. The award is sponsored by George F. Landegger, Chairman, Parsons and Whittemore.

      The honor is named for the late Dr. Eugene Current-Garcia, who, in a distinguished academic career spanning five decades, mostly at Auburn University, published six books and dozens of articles and reviews on the short story genre and Old Southwest humor and also founded and co-edited the Southern Humanities Review. Previous winners of the Eugene Current-Garcia Award include Claudia Durst Johnson (1998), Philip Beidler (1999), Don Noble (2000), Bert Hitchcock (2001), Trudier Harris (2002), William Hutchings (2003), Benjamin B. Williams (2004), Robert W. Halli, Jr. (2005), Nancy Grisham Anderson (2006), Elaine W. Hughes (2007), Norman McMillan (2008), John H. Hafner (2009), Ralph Voss (2010), and David Sauer (2011).

      The Alabama Writers Symposium thanks its many sponsors and supporters
      The Symposium is a project of the Alabama Center for Literary Arts and is sponsored by Alabama Southern Community College. Supporters include George Landegger, Alabama Humanities Foundation, Alabama State Council on the Arts, BankTrust, Alabama Power Foundation, Radley’s Fountain Grille, City of Monroeville, Alabama Bureau of Tourism and Travel, and First National Bank and Trust. The symposium is produced in cooperation with Alabama Writers’ Forum, Association of College English Teachers of Alabama, Auburn University Center for the Arts and Humanities, Monroe County Heritage Museums, and Monroeville/Monroe County Area Chamber of Commerce.

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