Two statewide literary arts entities announce a joint initiative to launch the state’s first comprehensive Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.
According to Lou Pitschmann, Dean of Libraries at the University of Alabama and director of the Alabama Center for the Book, and Jeanie Thompson, executive director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, the time has come for significant recognition of Alabama’s literary talent in creative writing.
“Our state honors athletes, engineers, and musicians, among others, with Halls of Fame. We believe it’s time for Alabama’s rich literary heritage to be recognized in a statewide effort that showcases the best, from the beginning to the present,” Thompson said.
ALABAMA WRITERS HALL OF FAME…
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the Shelby County Reporter on May 19, 2014. Byline: Phoebe Donald Robinson / Community Columnist
Something very special happened at Columbiana Middle School (CMS). Fifty-eight seventh graders became published writers with their new poem anthology, Wildcat Dreams, edited by Tony Crunk.
For the last four years, the Shelby County Arts Council, in collaboration with the Alabama Writers’ Forum and the Shelby County School System, have brought the program Writing Our Stories to CMS, the only public school in Alabama to have this pilot program.
WOS at CMS…
The Southern Humanities Review—Alabama’s premier literary and critical journal—publishes fiction, poetry, critical essays, and book reviews on the arts, literature, philosophy, religion, and history. New subscribers receive an $8 discount. Order your copy today.
On the dais, they made quite a contrasting pair, Mark Childress flamboyant in his yellow sequined sports jacket, Wayne Flynt distinguished in his black business suit. They hold in common, though, a keen intellect and a sharp wit. The two men had come to the 17th annual Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville on April 25 to receive the state’s highest literary and scholarly honors, Childress for the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year and Flynt for the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Scholar of the Year.
THE HARPER LEE AWARD…
Poets & Writers announced recently that fiction writer Bryn Chancellor and poet Harry Moore are the winners of the 2014 Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. The prestigious award, which aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement, has helped to launch the careers of Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), Elaine Beale (Another Life Altogether), Sandra Beasley (Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl), David Mura (Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei), Fae Myenne Ng (Bone), Mona Simpson (My Hollywood), and others.
Each year, Poets & Writers selects one state (or Washington, D.C.), and invites writers from that jurisdiction to apply for the Writers Exchange Award (WEX). For 2014, the state of Alabama was chosen. This year’s judges were Victor LaValle for fiction and Evie Shockley for poetry.
MAUREEN EGEN WRITERS EXCHANGE AWARD…
On May 4 at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, the Huntsville Literary Association (HLA) held its 46th Annual celebration of student winners in its Young Writers’ Contest. YWC is composed of elementary and middle school divisions in Huntsville and Madison County and a high school division that includes over 130 public and private high schools over North Alabama. The Ardent Writer Press supports the high school contest and publishes the student anthology, Expressions 2014-Student Voices from North Alabama, free of charge. All proceeds go back to HLA for student awards for the next year.
HLA YOUNG WRITERS CONTEST…
Editor’s Note: This story first appeared in The (Panama City) News Herald on May 14, 2014. Byline: Tony Simmons.
The Alabama Library Association [recently] honored [Michael Morris’] Man in the Blue Moon, a 2013 novel set in Millville, Apalachicola, and Wewahitchka, among other Panhandle venues.
The 53rd annual author awards recognized books deemed the best of the year by the nonprofit advocacy group made up of school, public, and university librarians.
[Other winners were Rev. Dr. Carolyn Maul McKinstry for While the World Watched (nonfiction), Laura Golden for Every Day After (juvenile), and Jennifer Echols for Dirty Little Secret (young adult).]
The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (BCRI) has named Priscilla Hancock Cooper as Interim President and CEO effective May 20, 2014. Cooper will replace Lawrence J. Pijeaux, who is retiring as BCRI’s President and CEO on May 30, 2014. Cooper served as a teaching writer in the Writing Our Stories (WOS) program at the Department of Youth Services Chalkville Campus from 1998-2012, when the facility was closed due to tornado damage.
PRISCILLA HANCOCK COOPER…
Forum intern Lindsay Hodgens recently received the Jeremy Lespi Fellowship from the University of Montevallo (UM) Department of English & Foreign Languages, placed 2nd in Oral Presentations for UM’s Undergraduate Research Day, and named Senior Elite—UM’s top honor in a particular major—in both English & sociology.
B.J. Hollars, assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and graduate of the University of Alabama MFA program, has been named the recipient of the 2014 Wisconsin Writers Award for nonfiction by the Council for Wisconsin Writers.
Richard Modlin's novel, Newfound Freedom, has recently been selected as a finalist in ForeWord Review's 2013 Book of the Year Award in General Fiction.
Tim Parrish, representing university press writers, was recently invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium in Columbus, Mississippi, on October 23, 2014.
Warren St. John has been named editor-in-chief of Patch, AOL’s hyper-local news division.
Our Opportunities page keeps you informed on publishers and organizations who want your work. Here you’ll find Calls for Submission and Writing Contests. The page also includes links to Writers Groups, Writing Workshops, and National Conferences—excellent places to network.
AWF Blogs feature essays and interviews by Alabama writers both well-known and not-so-well-known. Recent blogs include an interview with poet Jim Murphy by Sue Brannan Walker, an informative essay on digital inscriptions for eBooks by Michael Patton, and musings on life after print and broadcast journalism by Jacquie Wee Brasher.
Attract a larger audience for your literary events with the Forum’s Events calendar. Some 2200 book lovers receive Literary News each month, and a number of these readers check our calendar for literary events in their areas and beyond.
Zoo Days with Irene Latham, June 25, 9 a.m., Picnic Pavilion, Birmingham Zoo.
MORE LITERARY EVENTS…
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 Randall Horton, Jeanie Thompson, and Joseph D. Trimble.
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.
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.
SUPPORT THE ARTS…
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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.