Dr. Trudier Harris to Speak May 15, 2013


The Alabama Center for the Book, The University of Alabama Libraries and the American Women Writers National Museum cordially invites you to the presentation “Bama Bones: A Black Southerner Talks Place & Creativity” Dr. Trudier Harris University of Alabama English Professor.

harristrudierhed11 May 15, 2013
McLendon Room – National Press Club
52 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.
11:30 a.m. – Noon Social
Noon- 1:00 p.m. Presentation

State’s people, traditions compel writer

“Alabama has dominated everything I’ve done and written. Greene and Tuscaloosa County farmers influenced my poetry. My mother’s work as a domestic led to my first scholarly book. Alabama’s weather, landscape, family tradition, and crop cultivation served as reference points, including in my memoir Summer Snow,” said Alabama writer Dr. Trudier Harris.

She credits that invisible tether with inspiring her “even more” since she came back to Alabama in 2009, to serve as an English professor at the University of Alabama. Her specialty is African American literature and folklore on which she has written or edited 24 volumes, as well as numerous scholarly articles.

Her last book, The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South, was published by LSU Press in May 2009. Choice designated it one of the “Outstanding Academic Titles” for 2009 in its “best of the best” listings. It also won The College Language Association Creative Scholarship Award for 2010. She just completed a book manuscript entitled Martin Luther King, Jr., Heroism, and African American Literature, which is forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press.

As part of American Women Writer’s National Museum’s 50-state project to showcase women writers from each state, the Alabama Center for the Book will co-sponsor a presentation by Dr. Harris, May 15, 2013, in the McLendon Room of the National Press Club, 52 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Harris’ lecture, “Bama Bones: A Black Southerner Talks Place & Creativity” will begin at noon. The one-hour program is open to the public, and there is no charge to attend.

Dr. Harris will be introduced by Dana A. Williams, chair and professor of African American Literature in the Department of English at Howard University. “I met Dr. Harris when I was a graduate student at Howard. She has been a wonderful mentor and teacher for so many of us. My grandparents are from Jackson, Alabama,” Dr. Williams said.

Before retiring and returning to her home state of Alabama, Harris was the J. Carlyle Sitterson professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There she taught courses in African American literature and folklore at undergraduate and graduate levels. In her thirty-six years of full-time teaching, she also served on the faculties of The College of William and Mary and Emory University.

She has received numerous teaching awards including the William C. Friday/Class of 1986 Award for Excellence in Teaching (2000), the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for selection as Alabama’s Distinguished Literary Scholar(2002), the UNC System Board of Governors’ Award for Excellence in Teaching (2005), the John Hurt Fisher Award of the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English (2005) for the outstanding contributions she has made to the field of English scholarship throughout her career, and the inaugural George H. Johnson Prize for Distinguished Achievement by an Institute for the Arts and Humanities Fellow at UNC (2008).

Dr. Harris was born in 1948 on a farm near Tuscaloosa, the sixth of nine children of Terrell and Unareed Harris. She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

The Alabama Center for the Book is the Alabama Affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book and is housed in the University of Alabama Libraries at the University of Alabama.