Category: News

Alabama’s creative writers to be honored in new Alabama Writers Hall of Fame

MONTGOMERY, AL — 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. “After all, we are the home state of the most beloved novelist on the planet – Harper Lee – and we have many others who also deserve recognition in a formal setting such as the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.”

“The University of Alabama Libraries, which already houses the statewide Alabama Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, has offered the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame a future home,” Pitschmann said. “People from all over the state, as well as national and international visitors, will be able to walk into Gorgas Library and meet Alabama’s exemplary writers from 1819 to the present. While the University of Alabama is the host, and not a manager, of the new initiative, it is happy to provide space to display icons of Alabama creative writing.”

An advisory committee of scholars, writers, and arts volunteers has met once to consider selection criteria and will meet again in June to consider a field of nominees and to select the first class of inductees. While committee members are submitting their own lists, nominations from the field are encouraged and will also be accepted through June 9. For submission guidelines, contact

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame Advisory Committee members include Donna Adcock, Alabama Center for the Book and UA Libraries Director of Public Relations; Julie H. Friedman, Alabama Writers’ Forum (VP – Board of Directors), UA Library Leadership Board (Executive Committee), and long-time member of the Alabama State Council on the Arts; William Gantt, Founder, Southern Literary Trail and partner in the firm of Huie, Fernambucq and Stewart, LLP; Trudier Harris, UA English professor, Eugene Current-Garcia Award recipient for literary scholarship (2002), and Alabama Writers’ Forum Board member; Bert Hitchcock, retired Auburn University Professor of English and Eugene Current-Garcia Award recipient (2001); Jay Lamar, director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission; Don Noble, retired University of Alabama English professor, host of Alabama Public Television’s BookMark, book reviewer for Alabama Public Radio, and Eugene Current-Garcia Award recipient (2000) ; Pitschmann; and Thompson.

The first class of inductees in the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame will be honored at an event to be scheduled and announced at a later date, most likely in early 2015, Thompson said. Funds will be raised to commission and design commemorative artwork for the inductees, to plan the display area, and to develop public programs and educational curricula associated with the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame, Pitschmann said.

“We hope to have an Alabama artist design our artwork, specifying Alabama materials such as Sylacauga marble or cast-bronze. It is our intention to display the best of Alabama’s creative writers interpreted by our talented visual artists so that the entire effort is truly ‘made in Alabama,’” Thompson said.

For further information about the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame contact the Alabama Writers’ Forum at 334-265-7728 or


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 for its first ten years. In 2010 it was relocated to the University of Alabama Libraries under the direction of Louis Pitschmann. The Alabama Writers’ Forum (Montgomery), 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.

Graphic of logos available upon request:

The Alabama Writers’ Forum
PO Box 4777
Montgomery AL 36103-4777
Office: 334 265 7728
Fax: 334 262 2150

Announcing the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame Class of 2022

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  — Eight distinguished authors will be inducted into the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame at The University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center on Monday, June 6th, 2022.

The 2022 class inductees include Tom Franklin, Trudier Harris, Angela Johnson, Howell Raines, Michelle Richmond, and Daniel Wallace. Authors Eugene Walter and Kathryn Tucker Windham will be inducted posthumously. 

2020 inductee Carolyn Haines is slated to serve as Master of Ceremonies. More information will be provided in the coming months. The Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writers’ Forum would like to congratulate the members of the 2022 class. 

For press inquiries please contact please contact Jeanie Thompson, Executive Director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, at  or Michael Pearce, Director of the Alabama Center for the Book, at .

Birmingham Author’s Book Selected for 2013 National Book Festival

Alabama Center for the Book Announces Book Selection for the 2013 National Book Festival.

The Alabama Center for the Book has selected Birmingham author Irene Latham’s book Don’t Feed the Boy to promote at the 2013 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.  Latham’s heart-touching tale is about a lonely eleven-year-old boy, the son of a zoo director mom and elephant keeper dad, who feels trapped by the rules and routine of zoo life. Along comes the Bird Girl who changes his life forever. Ultimately, it’s about the human struggle to find one’s place in the world. It’s rooted in friendship and adventure, and it’s the kind of story that families can read and enjoy.
Latham will be at the Alabama Center for the Book’s table in the Pavilion of the States for autographs.
Each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U. S. territories will be promoting a children’s or young adult book.  The book will be about their state or territory or the author may be from their state or territory.  Books representing each of the states will be for sale at the National Book Festival.
A popular giveaway again this year will be “Great Books and Great Places,” a colorful map of the United States. Representatives from each state will be handing out state stickers or stamps to children of all ages to place on their map. Alabama has designed their 2013 state sticker to represent Latham’s book and will feature a drawing of an elephant.  In addition, visitors will be able to learn about different literacy and reading promotion programs in each state.
The National Book Festival is organized by the Library of Congress with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama serving as honorary chairs.
Make plans to attend the National Book Festival in Washington D. C. September 21 and 22, 2013. To learn more about the 2013 National Book Festival and the schedule of events visit
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.

Book Em’…featuring Rene Denfeld

August 2, 2014, 9 a.m.-TBA
Location: Northport Civic Center, Northport, AL
Description: The public is invited to attend the first-ever book event in Tuscaloosa County at which the community can join authors and book lovers of all genres for addresses, panel discussions, and readings. Featured writer Rene Denfeld is an international bestselling author, journalist, and death penalty investigator living in Portland, Oregon. The event will also feature a Skype interview with the Kirby Howell, the author of Autumn in the City of Angels, Autumn in the Dark Meadows, and Autumn in the City of Lights. Local author Earl Tilford and six other Alabama authors (to date) also will be featured. This free event is a fundraiser for the Books to Prisons Project.
Contact Information:

Mary Ann Robbins

Celebrate the Joys of Reading Aloud

Visit the 11th annual National Book Festival, organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are honorary chairs for the event. The festival is free and open to the public.

Saturday, Sept. 24: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 25: 1 to 5:30 p.m.

For additional information including a schedule of events please visit:

Children’s Book by Charles Ghigna selected to be featured at the 2020 National Book Festival

The Alabama Center for the Book has selected The Night the Forest Came to Town , by Alabama author Charles Ghigna to be featured as the Alabama Great Reads selection for the 2020 National Book Festival .    

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. The 20th Library of Congress National Book Festival will celebrate “American Ingenuity” in 2020, featuring the creativity and inspiration of some of the nation’s most gifted authors in a re-imagined virtual festival the weekend of Sept. 25-27. The event will be held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, broadcast through various web based venues which will be announced in August.

The Night the Forest Came to Town , “sings the story of a paved parking lot returning to a paradise teeming with diverse people, plants, and animals. It begins with an illustration of distracted townspeople scurrying across gray streets on a summer evening. The children, full of wide-eyed wonder, notice the wind blowing in something new…” (Kirkus Reviews,  2018).  With beautiful and engaging illustrations as backdrop, Ghigna takes reader’s on a lyrical journey from drab grey concrete living, to vibrant urban renewal.   

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival.  Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

The Alabama Center for the Book supports reading, literacy and other book-related activities in Alabama as well as promotes appreciation of regional writers.  The Center is a founding co-sponsor of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

The Library of Congress’ Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading, is a national force for reading and literacy promotion.  A public-private partnership, its sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit

Deadlines for Letters About Literature


Deadlines Are Approaching: Entries must be postmarked by-
• Level 3 (high school, grades 9-12) December 15, 2014
• Level 2 (middle school, grades 7 & 8) January 15, 2015
• Level 1 (upper elementary, grades 4-6 ) January 15, 2015


Mail all letters (individual and class sets) to:

Letters About Literature
Competition Level (Indicate level 1, 2 or 3 on the envelope)
P.O. Box 5308
Woodbridge, VA 22194

Mail class sets in a flat 8×10″ envelope or larger. Indicate the competition level — either 1, 2 or 3 — on the envelope. Include a complete return address on your mailing envelope.

Each class set should include a teacher cover letter that provides contact information plus a list of the names of each student submitting a letter. Cover letters do not take the place of entry coupons. Each student’s letter must have its own entry coupon.


Don DeLillo Awarded American Fiction Prize


Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has announced that Don DeLillo, author of such critically acclaimed novels as “Underworld,” “Mao II” and the National Book Award-winning “White Noise,” will receive the first Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2013 Library of Congress National Book Festival, Sept. 21-22.

To read the full Press Release from the Library of Congress, please visit this link:

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.