Category: Uncategorized

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 or 205-348-5543.


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

Young Adult Novel Selected to Represent Alabama at the National Book Festival


The Alabama Center for the Book has selected the young adult novel Make It Work by Birmingham author Chandra Sparks Splond to represent Alabama at the 2017 Library of Congress National Book Festival in Washington DC, Sept. 2, 2017. The festival will be held in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

The book is the state’s selection for the national “Discover Great Places through Reading” brochure. The brochure lists children or young adult books from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  The brochure will be distributed in the Pavilion of the States area at the book festival.  The list maybe also found on the National Book Festival website.

Splond is an editor, speaker, award-winning author and blogger. Her young adult novel Spin It Like That was chosen as a Popular Paperback for Young Adults by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Her book The Pledge was a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

“It is such an honor for my young adult novel Make It Work to be selected to represent the state of Alabama. I am both excited and humbled by this opportunity, and I hope it will result in more kids getting excited about reading,” said Splond.

Splond is a graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism.

The National Book Festival will feature presentations by award-winning authors, poets and illustrators. Festival attendees can listen to their favorite authors, attend book signings and participate in many literary activities during the day-long event.

The Alabama Center for the Book is housed in the University Libraries at The University of Alabama. The Center 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 and participates in the Letters About Literature reading and writing contest.

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.