Literary News E-newsletter

  • September 2015

    September 2015

    A note from Jeanie Thompson

    Hello writers, whether you are young or old, beginner or sage, please listen up! Between now and September 30 we need your help to continue the services and literary arts programs of the Alabama Writers’ Forum. As of this writing, we are still $15,650 short of our FY 15 goal. Will you please go to the site NOW and make an extra donation, renew your membership, or join for the first time? Will you forward the link to your writer friends who might never have joined the Forum but have benefited from some of its services?

    The reality is this: AWF is a not-for-profit service organization that promotes writers and writing, and through the linkages we create, the Alabama literary community is better connected than ever before. Give what you can and it WILL make a difference.

    Photo: Teaching writer Tony Crunk works with a Writing Our Stories student at Montevallo Middle School (Terry Bruno-fotowerks)


    Ashley M. Jones receives Rona Jaffe Award

    Alabama poet Ashley M. Jones recently received a 2015 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, given annually to six women writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. Celebrating its 21st year, the Rona Jaffe Awards have helped many women build successful writing careers by offering encouragement and financial support at a critical time. The Awards are $30,000 each and were presented to the six recipients on September 17, 2015, in New York City.



    New from Judge Janice Law



    RMTC stages Big Fish in Birmingham

    Big Fish, the stage adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s novel, is being produced by the Red Mountain Theatre Company (RMTC) in Birmingham through October 4. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, and 2 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Tickets prices begin at $30 for ages 13 and up and $20 for those 12 and under.

    The Alabama-based story centers on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him—most of all, his devoted wife, Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales. The play is rated PG.



    Rocket City Lit Fest brings bestselling authors to Huntsville

    The Rocket City Lit Fest (RCLF), coming to the Von Braun Center South Hall on October 10-11, is North Alabama’s only large-scale literary festival, and its organizers are promising fun for the whole family. This entirely indoor festival has a dual mission: to celebrate storytelling in all forms in a festive atmosphere with bestselling and popular authors and to help make reading accessible to all with programs targeting the removal of barriers to reading such as poverty, learning disabilities, and language. Featured authors Homer Hickam and Jenny Lawson are both New York Times bestselling authors.

    RCLF will offer over 100 authors/publishers/artists, inflatables, a children’s stage featuring story times and puppet shows, face painting, over 40 panels and workshops, 1-on-1 student writing sessions with published authors (pre-registration required), the Alabama Student Writing Competition, a costume contest, and raffles. Early Registration Passes are $8 per day for adults with family packages available for both single day and full weekend rates.



    New from The Ardent Writer Press

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    Auburn Writers Conference scheduled for October 16-17

    Whether generating a new piece of fiction from an old story you scrapped or tuning your poetic ear to abandoned aphorisms and slang, every writer knows the pleasure of creating something new from something old. Writing is nothing if not the sustainable and sustaining work of our lives. And that writing is fed by the cultural and ecological connections we all work to preserve in our communities and across our landscapes. At the 6th annual gathering of writers and readers, the Auburn Writers Conference will celebrate Literary Harvests: Creativity and Sustainability. With poets Jennifer Chang and Martha Serpas, nonfiction writers David Gessner and Janisse Ray, fiction writer Michael Martone, and many other award-winning authors, the conference will rediscover that enduring intersection of words and the dirt they grow from.



    First Annual East Alabama Book Festival to be held on October 18

    The Gnu's Room will host the First Annual East Alabama Book Festival on Sunday, October 18, 2015, from 1-6 p.m. in Town Creek Park in Auburn. The Festival will feature authors, publishers, local original music, and more. Co-hosts for the event are the Southern Humanities Review and The Republic of East Alabama Artists + Makers.

    The Festival is issuing an invitation to authors who wish to have booth space to promote their work and take part in a short reading, publishers, literary arts related non-profits, and others. Booth space is somewhat limited and is first come−first served. Reading slots will be available in a like manner. The deadline for participation is October 1, 2015. The Festival must have registration forms and donations of $20 by that date to hold spots. Non-profit booth space requires no donation, but the book fest will need a registration form to save spots.

    EAST ALABAMA BOOK FESTIVAL…!east-alabama-book-festival/c100x


    Gnu’s Room


    Curtis Clark to retire from UA Press

    Curtis Clark, director of the University of Alabama Press, is retiring at the end September. A native of Illinois, he has been the director at UA Press for the past four years. Clark has been in university-press publishing for just over thirty years, beginning at Southern Illinois University Press, where he started as an intern and eventually became editorial director and then marketing director before moving to UA Press in 1996. During his first six years at Alabama, he was assistant director and editor-in-chief. After serving as director of the University of South Carolina Press for nine years, Clark returned as director of UA Press in 2011. A published poet in an earlier incarnation, he has been on a number of panels at writers conferences and at academic and publishing meetings.

    He has been a member of AWF during both Alabama stints and has been a steadfast supporter of it and other literary and cultural endeavors in the state.



    New from The Ardent Writer Press

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    Associates News

    TJ Beitelman has accepted the position of Chair of the Creative Writing Department at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA). He takes over from Stuart Flynn, who was promoted to Director of Student Support Services.


    TJ Beitelman

    Lewayne Childrey’s memoir, Peeling Back the Layers: A Story of Trauma, Grace, and Triumph, received the Award of Merit for Best Autobiography/Memoir of the Year from The Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

    Jerri Hardesty recently was interviewed by and read her poetry on WBHM, Birmingham’s public radio station.

    Journey McAndrews’ chapbook manuscript, Rusted Legacy, was selected as part of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs mentorship program, Writer to Writer.

    William J. “Bill” Plott received the Robert Peterson Recognition Award for his book, The Negro Southern League: A Baseball History, 1920-1951, from the Society for American Baseball Research during its 18th Annual Jerry Malloy Negro League Conference.

    Gregory L. Reece was recently named Associate Editor for comics at where he writes about comic books, sometimes from a distinctly Southern perspective. He was also named to the editorial board of the new Journal of Science and Popular Culture to be published in 2017.


    See what’s new in Alabama literature

    This month’s Reviews Online features fiction by CJ Hatch, short fiction by Steve Tomasula, memoir by William J. “Bill” Cobb, and more. AWF Reviews Online features books by Alabama writers and publishers or books about our state.



    Hear interviews with Alabama’s literati on Alabama Arts Radio

    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 literary interviews include Jason McCall, Bryn Chancellor, and William Cobb.

    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.



    Support the Arts supports the Forum

    Proceeds from the sale of the Alabama Support the Arts license plate help fund arts education programs. The next time your car tag needs renewal, purchase one of these colorful plates to help support the Forum and other arts education projects.



    Friend the Forum on Facebook and follow on Twitter

    For late-breaking news, follow us on Twitter @ writersforum and friend us on Facebook @ Alabama Writers’ Forum Friends.


    The Alabama Writers’ Forum

    The Alabama Writers’ Forum, a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, promotes writers and writing in Alabama, with an emphasis on arts education programs for young writers.


    The Alabama Writers’ Forum
    P.O. Box 4777
    Montgomery, AL 36103-4777
    Toll Free: 866-901-1117
    Fax: 334-262-2150
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