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2021 National Book Festival Starts Friday 9/17/21 and runs through Sunday 9/26/21

Great Reads From Great Places

The 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival starts Friday 9/17. 

Author Rick Bragg, whose book, The Speckled Beauty is the 2021 Alabama Great Reads, will be featured in an author panel that can be accessed here on Monday 9/20 Great Reads from Great Places .

You can create your own Festival experience from a variety of programs and formats with an expanded schedule over 10 days, Sept. 17-26.

You can:

Genres

Author events and videos are all organized into one of the following genres:

Authors & Moderators

Explore the full lineup of authors, check out their biographies and discover their featured books.

Learn more about our moderators.

Meet the Library of Congress experts hosting special interactive presentations.

Programs & Schedule

The 2021 National Book Festival takes place Sept. 17-26, with a variety of programs and formats. On Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. ET, 35 video-on-demand programs will become available to watch anytime. The full Festival schedule of live programs features 38 virtual author conversations, nine audience Q&A sessions for children and teens, two in-person events with simultaneous livestreaming, and five interactive presentations with Library of Congress experts. This year, the Festival also features a national television special and related events on PBS, NPR podcasts, and author interviews on Washington Post Live. You can also explore events closer to home with the Festival Near You, which features related programs from local organizations and affiliate Centers for the Book.

All programs livestreaming from the National Book Festival website will be held Sept. 17-26, between noon and 8 p.m. ET on weekends and between 3 and 8 p.m. ET on weekdays. All live programs will include time at the end for audience Q&A. Only one program will livestream at any given time, meaning this year you won’t need to make any tough choices on which program to attend! Check out the schedule online or download a printable pdf (PDF 895KB).

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2018

Eight distinguished authors will be inducted into the 2018 Alabama Writers Hall of Fame at The University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center on May 24.

This year’s inductees include Winston Groom, Gay Talese, Charles Gaines, Shirley Ann Grau, William Bradford Huie, Wayne Greenhaw, James Haskins and Joseph Glover Baldwin.

A reception will be held in their honor at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The induction ceremony will immediately follow dinner.

Groom is a UA graduate and grew up in Mobile County.  He is best known for his book Forrest Gump which was adapted into a film winning six Academy Awards. He has written short stories, novels, and numerous non-fiction works on diverse subjects including the American Civil War and World War I.

Grau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and lived much of her childhood in and around Montgomery and Selma.  Her book, The Keepers of the House, was awarded the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Much of her writing centers around stories about women and are often set in the Deep South.  Her works include The Black Prince, nominated for the National Book Award in 1956, Evidence of Love, Nine Women and Selected Stories published in 2006.

Authors being posthumously inducted are Huie, Greenhaw, Haskins and Baldwin.

Huie, a native of Hartselle, attended UA graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1930.  Huie’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, centered around topics related to World War II and the Civil Rights Movement.  His works include The Americanization of Emily adapted into a film in 1964 with the same name, The Execution of Private Slovick adapted as a television movie in 1974, and He Slew the Dreamer, written in 1970 about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Greenhaw, born in Sheffield, moved to Tuscaloosa as a young boy. He enrolled at UA and studied under the creative writing professor Hudson Strode He is the author of 22 books, and was a journalist for The New York Times and Times. Greenhaw is known for writing about the Civil Rights Movement including Fighting the Devil in Dixie:  How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.

Haskins, a native of Demopolis, received degrees from Georgetown University, Alabama State University, and the University of New Mexico. He wrote more than one hundred books for children and adults, many highlighting the accomplishments of African Americans.  His 1977 picture book, The Cotton Club, was used as inspiration for the 1984 movie.  He won numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Award for his book The Story of Stevie Wonder in 1976 and the Alabama Library Association Award for best work for children in 1988.

Baldwin, a native of Virginia, moved to Alabama in 1836.  He practiced law with his brother before being elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1843. While practicing law, he wrote two books of humorous stories, The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi:  A Series of Sketches, published in 1853, and Party Leaders, published in 1854.

Groom, Talese, and Greenhaw have also been honored with the Harper Lee Award for the Distinguished Alabama Writer of the year.

The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame was founded in 2015 through a partnership between the Alabama Center for the Book, housed in the University Libraries at UA and the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary services nonprofit located in Montgomery.

The Alabama Center for the Book, established in 2001, is an affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.  The Center supports reading, literacy and other book-related activities in Alabama including the national Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

Founded in 1993 to recognize Alabama’s strong literary tradition, the Alabama Writers’ Forum facilitates the practice of literary arts through its services to writers and the general public. With individual and corporate associates, the Forum represents the diverse voices of Alabama’s contemporary writing talent as well as the readers, educators, and state leaders who appreciate them.  The Forum is a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Individual tickets and sponsor tables are on sale and can be purchased by contacting Emily Burnett at emburnett@ua.edu or 205-348-5543.

 

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame Announces Class of 2018

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Eight distinguished authors will be inducted into the 2018 Alabama Writers Hall of Fame at The University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center on May 24.

This year’s inductees include Winston Groom, Gay Talese, Charles Gaines, Shirley Ann Grau, William Bradford Huie, Wayne Greenhaw, James Haskins and Joseph Glover Baldwin.

A reception will be held in their honor at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The induction ceremony will immediately follow dinner.

Groom is a UA graduate and grew up in Mobile County.  He is best known for his book Forrest Gump which was adapted into a film winning six Academy Awards. He has written short stories, novels, and numerous non-fiction works on diverse subjects including the American Civil War and World War I.

Talese is a UA graduate and a native of Ocean City, New Jersey, and currently lives in New York City. A best-selling author of 15 books, Talese is well known for his magazine profiles, including “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” published in Esquire. While a student at UA, Talese wrote for the student newspaper, The Crimson-White, serving as the sports editor for his junior and senior years.

Gaines was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the age of ten moved with his family to Birmingham. He received his undergraduate degree from Birmingham-Southern College. His first novel, Stay Hungry, was published in 1972 and focused on the subculture of bodybuilding during the early 1970s. The book was made into a motion picture in 1976 staring Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has published other fiction and numerous articles about fishing and outdoor life in magazines including Outside and Garden and Gun.

Grau was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, and lived much of her childhood in and around Montgomery and Selma.  Her book, The Keepers of the House, was awarded the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Much of her writing centers around stories about women and are often set in the Deep South.  Her works include The Black Prince, nominated for the National Book Award in 1956, Evidence of Love, Nine Women and Selected Stories published in 2006.

Authors being posthumously inducted are Huie, Greenhaw, Haskins and Baldwin.

Huie, a native of Hartselle, attended UA graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1930.  Huie’s books, both fiction and non-fiction, centered around topics related to World War II and the Civil Rights Movement.  His works include The Americanization of Emily adapted into a film in 1964 with the same name, The Execution of Private Slovick adapted as a television movie in 1974, and He Slew the Dreamer, written in 1970 about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Greenhaw, born in Sheffield, moved to Tuscaloosa as a young boy. He enrolled at UA and studied under the creative writing professor Hudson Strode He is the author of 22 books, and was a journalist for The New York Times and Times. Greenhaw is known for writing about the Civil Rights Movement including Fighting the Devil in Dixie:  How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama

Haskins, a native of Demopolis, received degrees from Georgetown University, Alabama State University, and the University of New Mexico. He wrote more than one hundred books for children and adults, many highlighting the accomplishments of African Americans.  His 1977 picture book, The Cotton Club, was used as inspiration for the 1984 movie.  He won numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Award for his book The Story of Stevie Wonder in 1976 and the Alabama Library Association Award for best work for children in 1988.

Baldwin, a native of Virginia, moved to Alabama in 1836.  He practiced law with his brother before being elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 1843. While practicing law, he wrote two books of humorous stories, The Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi:  A Series of Sketches, published in 1853, and Party Leaders, published in 1854. 

Groom, Talese, and Greenhaw have also been honored with the Harper Lee Award for the Distinguished Alabama Writer of the year.

The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame was founded in 2015 through a partnership between the Alabama Center for the Book, housed in the University Libraries at UA and the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary services nonprofit located in Montgomery.

The Alabama Center for the Book, established in 2001, is an affiliate of the National Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.  The Center supports reading, literacy and other book-related activities in Alabama including the national Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

Founded in 1993 to recognize Alabama’s strong literary tradition, the Alabama Writers’ Forum facilitates the practice of literary arts through its services to writers and the general public. With individual and corporate associates, the Forum represents the diverse voices of Alabama’s contemporary writing talent as well as the readers, educators, and state leaders who appreciate them.  The Forum is a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

Individual tickets and sponsor tables are on sale and can be purchased by contacting Emily Burnett at emburnett@ua.edu or 205-348-5543.

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame Inductees Announced for 2020

Alabama Writers Hall of Fame 2020

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  — Seven distinguished authors will be inducted into the 2020 Alabama Writers Hall of Fame at The University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center March 9, 2020.

This year’s inductees include Mark ChildressFaye Gibbons, Carolyn Haines,  Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Michael Knight. Authors Ralph Ellison and Zelda Fitzgerald will be inducted posthumously.

A reception will be held in the authors’ honor at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The induction ceremony will immediately follow dinner.

Individual tickets and sponsor tables can be purchased by contacting Emily Burnett at emburnett@ua.edu or 205-348-5543.

The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame was created in 2014 by a partnership between the Alabama Center for the BookUA Libraries and the Alabama Writers’ Forum. Dr. Donald Gilstrap, dean of UA Libraries, said the gala showcases Alabama’s literary heritage as well as its contemporary prize-winning authors.

“This year we are honoring writers who are well-known for award-winning fiction, poetry, screen-writing, and writing for children and young adults, as well as two ground-breaking 20th-century authors,” Gilstrap said. “The variety of genres underscores the level of literary talent in Alabama. We hope people will celebrate their achievements with us in March.”

Childress is a native of Monroeville and a UA graduate. He’s the author of seven novels translated into 14 languages, as well as screenplays, children’s books, numerous articles, essays and reviews. He adapted his best-selling novel, “Crazy in Alabama,” into the screenplay for the Columbia Pictures film directed by Antonio Banderas.

A long-time resident of Deatsville, Gibbons has written more than a dozen children’s picture books and young adult novels that focus on life in the rural South since the 1980s.

Haines is a Lucedale, Mississippi native who lives in Semmes. She is a “USA Today” bestselling author of more than 80 books of fiction.

Jeffers was born in Kokomo, Indiana and grew up in Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia, but she was educated in Alabama, with degrees from Talladega College and UA. Jeffers has published widely in poetry, fiction and essays, and she has four poetry collections, with a fifth, “The Age of Phillis,” scheduled to be published in early 2020.

Knight is the author of two novels, three collections of short stories and a book of novellas. His most recent collection of stories, “Eveningland,” was selected as an Editor’s Choice Pick by The New York Times and a Southern Book of the Year by Southern Living magazine.

Ellison was born in Oklahoma in 1914 and trained as a musician at Tuskegee Institute from 1933 to 1936. Soon after, he made a visit to New York and met author Richard Wright, which led him to his first attempts at fiction. The result was “Invisible Man,” a first novel by an unknown writer that remained on the bestseller list for 16 weeks and won the National Book Award for fiction. He died in 1994.

Fitzgerald is a Montgomery native who was an artist, writer and personality who helped to establish the Roaring 20s image of liberated womanhood embodied by the “flapper.” She and her husband, novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, became icons of the freedoms and excesses of the 1920s Jazz Age. Her novel, “Save Me the Waltz,” published in 1932, is an autobiographical recounting of her marriage. She died in 1948.

“The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductions present Alabama’s literary arts with distinction, and love,” said Jeanie Thompson, executive director of the Alabama Writers’ Forum. “This is a gala event, with individual tickets as well as tables that can be purchased in honor of a past inductee, or to celebrate one of the incoming inductees.”

Call for Student Entries in the 25th Annual Letters About Literature Writing Competition

Have you ever read a book that affected you and you wanted to write the author? Now is your chance to polish up your reflective writing skills and write a letter to an author – living or dead – explaining how his or her work changed your view of yourself or your world.

Students in grades four – 12 are eligible to enter the Letters About Literature contest.   Teachers may select this as a class project and enter their entire class or students can enter on their own.  To find out more about the contest and how to enter, go to the Center for the Book’s website.  Deadline for all entries is January 12, 2018.

Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. Letters are judged on state and national levels.  National winners in each of the three competition levels receive a $1,000 cash award.

The Alabama Center for the Book sponsors the state competition and also presents cash prizes to the state winners. State semi-finalists, families and teachers will be invited to attend a state award ceremony held in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at The University of Alabama in the spring.

A teaching guide with activities for teachers to direct students through the book discussion and letter-writing process can also be found on the website. The guide addresses the LAL teaching strategies and ways in which the program can dovetail with curriculum for teaching reading and writing.

LAL is a reflective writing competition sponsored by the Library of Congress Center for the Book and presented in association with affiliate State Centers for the Book with funding provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

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

For more information about the contest, contact Donna Adcock, Alabama state coordinator, at dbadcock@ua.edu.

Charles Ghigna’s Children’s Book Selected to Represent Alabama at the 2018 National Book Festival

“Alabama My Home Sweet Home!” by Charles Ghigna, aka Father Goose®, has been selected by the Alabama Center for the Book to represent the state in the 52 Great Reads at the 18th Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington, DC on Sept. 1, 2018.

This creative story book was written to celebrate Alabama’s 200th birthday and takes children on a tour through Alabama discovering some of the state’s most famous figures, places and events.

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival.

Children, young adults and adults visit each state’s booth located in the Parade of States area collecting stamps for their Great Reads Map and gathering additional information about the state.

Visitors to the Alabama booth this year will have an extra treat. Ghigna will be on hand throughout the day to greet guests and sign autographs.  His book, along with books from the other states, DC and the Virgin Islands, will be on sale in the book festival’s sales area.

Ghigna and illustrator Michelle Hazelwood Hyde both reside in Alabama.  Ghigna has written more than one hundred books for children and adults; while Hyde is a freelance illustrator of ten children’s books.

The Alabama Center for the Book participates each year at the annual book festival held in the Washington Convention Center.  One of the pre-eminent literary events in the United States, thousands of book fans gather to hear lectures by best-selling authors, panel discussions, attend book signings and enjoy other fun activities.

 

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 Read.gov.

Children’s Book by Kerry Madden-Lunsford selected to be featured at the 2019 National Book Festival

Alabama Center for the Book has selected “Ernestine’s Milky Way” by Alabama author Kerry Madden-Lunsford to be featured at its booth at the 19th National Book Festival . Located in the Pavilion of States, the booth celebrates the Library of Congress’ “Discover Great Places Through Reading” program. 

The book festival will be held Saturday, August 31, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

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.  

“Ernestine’s Milky Way” is an empowering picture book set in the 1940s about a determined five-year-old girl who embarks on a journey to deliver milk to her neighbors in the holler. The book is for children ages three to seven.

“The inspiration forErnestine’s Milky Way’ was my real mountain friend, Ernestine Edwards Upchurch,” said Madden-Lunsford.

“She was a social worker, a historian, the literary matriarch of the mountains, and a great storyteller. She had a bright burning curiosity about people and she read everything. Her house was full of books and she championed new authors and supported established authors. She loved kids and wanted them reading and telling stories too.

“After she told me about carrying milk through the mountains as a child, the title popped into my head when I looked up at the sky and saw the Milky Way and I thought – ‘Ernestine’s Milky Way.’ Somebody should write a story. Then I realized a few years later that somebody was going to have to be me, and I’m so grateful for Emily Sutton’s illustrations that brought the story to life.”

Madden-Lunsford’s first novel, “Offsides,” was a New York Public Library Pick for the Teen Age.  Her book, “Up Close Harper Lee,” made Booklist’s Ten Top Biographies of 2009 for Youth.  She has written plays, screenplays, articles and books.  She turned to writing children’s literature with her award-winning and well-reviewed Maggie Valley Trilogy.

Madden-Lunsford directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and teaches in the Antioch MFA Program in Los Angeles.  The mother of three adult children, she divides her time between Birmingham and Los Angeles.

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 Read.gov.

LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE

LETTERS ABOUT LITERATURE

About the Contest

2018-2019 Documents

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Tens of thousands of students from across the country enter Letters About Literature each year. If you are in grades 4-12, you are eligible to enter the Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

For the first time, students are asked to submit their 2018-2019 letters via the Letters About Literature online platform. Entries will be accepted starting Nov. 1, 2018.  The deadline for all Alabama entries is Jan. 11, 2019.

Students may enter the contest individually or teachers may submit their classroom entries.

All Alabama entries will be judged first by Alabama judges.  There will be a first, second and third place winner in each of the three levels.  First place winners will receive a $100 gift card, second place winners will receive a $75 gift card and third place winners will receive a $50 gift card.  All semi-finalists will receive a certificate.

The three first place winning entries will then advance to the national competition. National winners in each competition level will receive a $2,000 cash award. National honorable mention winners in each competition level will receive a $500 cash award.

The Alabama Award Ceremony will be held on May 19, 2019, in Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library on the campus of The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  All semi-finalists, winners and their families will be invited to attend.  Guest speaker will be children’s author Charles Ghigna better known as Father Goose®. Ghigna is the author of more than 5,000 poems and 100 award-winning books.

The 2018-19 Letters About Literature contest for young readers is made possible by a generous grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, with additional support from gifts to the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, which promotes the contest through its affiliate Centers for the Book, state libraries and other organizations.

For additional information, please contact Donna Adcock, dbadcock@ua.edu, state coordinator.

Letters About Literature 2017 Ceremony

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama Center for the Book hosted the 2017 Letters About Literature Award Ceremony Saturday, April 29, in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library at The University of Alabama.  State winners, semi-finalists, families and teachers attended the ceremony.

Birmingham editor, speaker, award-winning author and blogger Chandra Sparks Splond was the guest speaker.

Student winners in each of the three levels received cash prizes. The first place winner in each level also competed at the national level. All students received a certificate.

A reception and book signing was held after the ceremony.

Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the work affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels.

To learn more about the contest and how to enter, visit the Letters About Literature website at the Library of Congress.