Two statewide literary arts entities that announced a joint initiative to launch the state’s first comprehensive Alabama Writers Hall of Fame in June 2014 have announced the first class of inductees.
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 The Alabama Writers’ Forum, the time has come for significant recognition of Alabama’s literary talent.
The first class of twelve inductees includes five authors born in the 19th century, four of whom lived well into the 20th. Johnson Jones Hooper (1815-1862), Augusta Jane Evans Wilson (1835-1909), Helen Keller (1880-1968), Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960), and William March (1894-1954). Two recently deceased 20th century authors, Albert Murray (1916-2013) and Helen Norris Bell (1916-2013), are being inducted. Five living 20th century authors to be inducted in the first class include Andrew Glaze (b. 1920), Harper Lee (b. 1926), Sonia Sanchez (b. 1934), Sena Jeter Naslund (b. 1942), and Rick Bragg
"The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame will generate awareness of literary works written in Alabama from the early days of our state to the present," Thompson said. "The first class includes writers known internationally for their contribution to the literary arts across all genres."
Contacted about his award, Rick Bragg said that he was deeply honored and also happy to be the “youngest pup” in the first class. Sena Jeter Naslund, now living in Louisville, Kentucky, expressed her appreciation to her home state for once again honoring her with induction into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame. Poets Andrew Glaze and Sonia Sanchez likewise expressed deep appreciation for the honor. Glaze is currently Alabama’s Poet Laureate, commissioned by Governor Robert Bentley in 2012. Sanchez noted that she was especially pleased to receive the news after returning home from a celebration for her 80th birthday and that she also was pleased on behalf of her father, pioneering jazz musician Wilson L. Driver of Birmingham.
“Other plans for the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame include design and production of a traveling display suitable for a number of public venues, and the development of public programs and educational curricula associated with the hall of fame,” Pitschmann said.
The twelve Alabama authors will be inducted during a gala dinner at the Bryant Conference Center in Tuscaloosa on June 8, 2015. Tickets will go on sale in March.
The Alabama Center for the Book is an affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. It was established in 2000 at Auburn University under the direction of Jay Lamar. In 2010 it was relocated to the University of Alabama Libraries under the direction of Louis Pitschmann. The Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide service organization and partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts since 1993, has been integrally involved in the evolution of the Alabama Center for the Book since its inception.
For further information about the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame, contact the Alabama Writers’ Forum at 334-265-7728 or email@example.com.
For author photos, contact Danny Gamble at the Alabama Writers’ Forum at 205-665-7986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.