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News & Reviews

August 2014

August 2014

Deadline approaches for Alabama Launchpad first annual poetry contest

In partnership with the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama Foundation (EDPA) is holding a state-wide poetry contest. Contestants are asked to submit an original composition on the theme of innovation and creativity in Alabama. Three finalists will be asked to present their work at the Innovation Awards Ceremony Dinner, September 25, where the evening’s attendees will vote on the winner. The winner will be announced the following day at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center, named Poet Laureate of the 2014 conference, and asked to read his/her winning entry as part of the day’s activities. Deadline: August 29, 2014.



ABF announces 4th annual Student Readers Group

The Outreach/Education sub-committee of the Alabama Book Festival (ABF) planning committee invites high school students and university undergraduates to participate in the fourth annual Student Readers Group. This program for the Festival selects one Alabama-related book per year for participants to read prior to meeting the author and discussing the book at the festival in April at Montgomery’s Old Alabama Town. The Student Readers Group seeks to engage high school and college students in Alabama’s culture, literature, and history by encouraging the reading of books that connect to or discuss the realities of living in the state. This year’s selection is Selma, Lord, Selma: Girlhood Memories of the Civil Rights Days by Sheyann Webb-Christburg and Rachel West Nelson.



New from The Ardent Writer Press



5th annual Auburn Writers Conference scheduled

The fifth annual Auburn Writers Conference, The Inspired South, will be held October 17-18, 2014, at the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

The conference will feature Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly, Michael Knight, Kevin Wilson, Adam Vines, Lila Quintero Weaver, Angela Jackson Brown, Vicky Alvear Shecter, Elizabeth O. Dulemba, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Harrison Scott Key, and Wendy Reed, among others. AWF Executive Director Jeanie Thompson will read from Jake Adam York’s posthumous book of poetry, Abide, as part of the awarding of the first Auburn Witness Poetry Prize in honor of the poet.

Auburn Writers Conference…


Southern Humanities Review Auburn Writers Conference…



Alabama Power chief to give keynote address at AHF awards luncheon

One of Alabama’s leading business executives, Mark Crosswhite, will deliver the keynote address at the annual awards luncheon of the Alabama Humanities Foundation Annual Luncheon (AHF) on October 6 at The Club atop Red Mountain.

The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. and will include honoring the winners of the Jenice Riley Memorial Scholarship for excellence in teaching; Alabama Humanities Award for contributions to the humanities in the state, Betty McMahon; Wayne Greenhaw Service Award for a past or present board member for outstanding service to AHF, Jack Hawkins; and Charitable Organization to the Humanities, AAA Cooper.



NEA Selects Amy Stolls as Director of Literature

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is pleased to announce that Amy Stolls has been appointed director of literature. Since May 2013, Stolls has served as acting director of literature. She will continue to oversee the NEA's grant awards in literature, which includes grants to organizations for publishing and audience and professional development projects, as well as for fellowships to individual poets, prose writers, and translators.

NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa said, "I am delighted Amy will continue to lead the NEA's efforts in the literature field. She brings deep knowledge, understanding, creativity, and humor to her work, and I know we will all benefit immensely from her energy and spirit."



AAN Announces new CEO

Shannon Ammons of Birmingham has been named the new Chief Executive Officer of the Alabama Association of Nonprofits (AAN), according to the organization's Chairman of the Board, Johnnie Aycock, following unanimous approval by the organization's thirty-member Board of Directors. She took office effective August 4, 2014, and succeeds Billy Baxter, who retired effective June 30 due to health issues. The Forum is a member of AAN.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have a leader of Shannon's caliber and experience join us at AAN in this leadership capacity," said Aycock. "Our goal was to employ a top-notch, experienced and committed professional that truly understands the critical role of nonprofits in Alabama, and we are delighted that goal has been achieved. There is no other individual in Alabama that has trained and enhanced the role of nonprofit CEOs more in Alabama than Shannon Ammons."



In Memoriam: Diann Blakely, June 1, 1957-August 5, 2014-July 10

Eminent poet and Gadsden native Harriet Diann Blakely died on August 5 in Brunswick, GA after complications from a chronic lung disorder. She was 57.

Her official biograph states that Blakely is the author of Hurricane Walk (BOA Editions, 1992), named one of the year’s ten best poetry collections by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Farewell, My Lovelies (Story Line, 2000), featured by the Academy of American Poets Book Club; and Cities of Flesh and the Dead, winner of the Alice Fay DiCastagnola Award (1999) for a manuscript-in-progress and the 7th annual Elixir Book publication prize (2008).



In Memoriam: Julia “Judy” Oliver, July 7, 1929-July 10, 2014

Founding Alabama Writers’ Forum Board member, long-time fiction reviews editor for First Draft, and reviewer for AWF Book Reviews Online, Julia “Judy” Oliver died on July 10. A concert pianist as well as talented author, she studied piano performance and piano pedagogy at the University of Alabama, where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree. She also studied at the Julliard School of Music and at Randolph-Macon Women’s College.

“This week Alabama lost another beloved literary figure,” said Forum Executive Director Jeanie Thompson. “Judy was a founding board member of the Forum from back in the days before we were even incorporated, and she always brought great suggestions to my attention. We are all sorry to have lost Judy.”



New Fiction from Philip Shirley



Associates News

Bryn Chancellor has won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction for 2014 for her manuscript, When Are You Coming Home?. Also in 2014, Chancellor received the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in fiction and a Literary Arts Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Tickets are presently on sale for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra’s operatic adaptation of Mark Childress’ novel, Georgia Bottoms.

Peter Huggins was one of four finalists for the International Rubery Award for his book, South.

CD Mitchell recently received the Florida Authors and Publishers Association’s 2014 President’s Award Silver Medal for short fiction for his book, Alligator Stew: More Tales of Delbert, Arkansas.

Philip Shirley’s new novel, The White Lie, was named by Birmingham magazine as a Good Summer Read.

Jeanie Thompson was named a finalist in the Crab Orchard’s Review’s 2015 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize for her poem "Coming through Fire" from her manuscript, The Myth of Water: Poems from the life of Helen Keller.


Visit our Opportunities page

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.



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Upcoming Literary Events

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.



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 Brooke Bullman, Ted Rosengarten, and Randall Horton.

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.



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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.



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