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Visiting Writers Series at Helen Keller Public Library to Feature Seven Authors

For immediate release                                                 January 28, 2019

Contact: Jeanie Thompson, 334 221 5013, jeaniethompson@bellsouth.net

Visiting writers series at Helen Keller Public Library to feature seven authors

MONTGOMERY, AL – The Helen Keller Public Library in Tuscumbia will launch its first ever readers series beginning February 10 and running through the Helen Keller Festival in June, according to Tammie Collins, Library Director.

“With the help of grants from state and local entities, we will present seven award-winning poets and writers at the library this spring and summer,” Collins said. “Through our collaboration with the Alabama Writers’ Forum, writers will bring new works to our readers,” she said. 

“We hope that Writers to Readers at the Helen Keller Public Library will generate interest in the art of writing, as well as the habit of reading,” Collins said.

Among the visiting writers are three current or former Alabama State Council on the Arts literature fellows -- Ashley M. Jones, Tina Mozelle Braziel, and Jason McCall. Each has been awarded prestigious fellowships to support new work. 

Poet Jacqueline Trimble, will read in May with poet and novelist James E. Cherry. Trimble was awarded the coveted Balcones Prize by Austin Community College for her debut collection American Happiness and she is also a former ASCA literature fellow. Cherry has recently contributed historical persona poems memorializing victims of racial violence in Jackson County, TN to the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative.

“To conclude the series we are thrilled to have 2019 Harper Lee Award winner Daniel Wallace, a native of Birmingham, who now directs the Creative Writing Program at UNC in Chapel Hill,” Collins said.

“Wallace’s novel Big Fish, which was adapted into a feature film by John August and Tim Burton in 2002, is legendary in Alabama. We know readers will flock to meet Wallace and hear him read from and discuss his latest work.” Don Noble, popular host of APTV’s Bookmark literary interview program, will present with Wallace.

Collins said that she and Alabama Writers’ Forum director Jeanie Thompson conceived of Writers to Readers at the Helen Keller Public Library after the favorable community response to Thompson and Wayne Sides’ collaborative work with poetry and photography last June during the Helen Keller Festival.

“When I saw the community’s open response to contemporary poetry telling a story about their beloved citizen Helen Keller, I knew this would be a great way for the Forum to work with Tuscumbia to bring writers to readers,” Thompson said. 

“Tuscumbia’s library has been called a vibrant cultural hub, and Mayor Kerry Underwood has supported the idea of arts at the library,” Thompson said. “I am encouraged that local organizations like the Civitans and Kiwanis Clubs in Tuscumbia, as well as the Friends of the Helen Keller Public Library, have contributed funds to make it possible.”

Collins said other contributors from the community are being sought to support the program.

Major funding for the project was granted from the Alabama State Council on the Arts literary arts program as well as the Alabama 200 grants program for literary arts.

Those attending the free readings will have a chance to interact with the writers afterwards, and for several of the events, the visiting authors will meet with students at Deshler High School the following day.

Thompson noted that all of these writers are making their mark in contemporary writing, and serve as great role models for young writers.

“We hope that as more young people, and their parents and teachers, participate in Writers to Readers at the Helen Keller Public Library, the community as a whole will want the children of the Shoals area to be the best writers they can be!” Thompson said. “There’s no better way to spark a young writer’s interest than to have her meet a contemporary writer who says – you can do this, too!”

More information is available about the Writers to Readers at the Helen Keller Public Library at www.writersforum.org. For information about individual events, contact Tammie Collins at 256-383-7065.

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Complete schedule for Writers to Readers at the Helen Keller Public Library, Spring/Summer 2019   511 North Main Street | Tuscumbia, Alabama 35674.

A question / answer period, book signing, and light refreshments follow each reading.

Sunday, Feb. 10 at 2 p.m. 2019 ASCA literature fellows in poetry Ashley M. Jones and Tina Mozelle Braziel read from their new books.

Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m. Award-winning poets Jason McCall and Harry Moore read from their latest books.

Sunday, May 5 at 2 p.m. Award-winning poet Jacqueline Allen Trimble and poet/fiction writer James E. Cherry from their latest books.

Friday, June 28, 6:30 p.m. Helen Keller Festival event featuring 2019 Harper Lee Award winner Daniel Wallace, with moderator Don Noble, host of APTV’s Bookmark.

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