This Goodly Land

Babs H. Deal (June 23, 1929–February 20, 2004)

Other Names Used

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Babs Deal was born and raised in Scottsboro, Ala. She worked as a substitute teacher in Scottsboro, then joined the US Army and worked as a clerk-typist in Washington, D.C. After her discharge, she worked briefly as a typist in Birmingham and attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she earned her BA in 1952. While at the University, she was a student of Hudson Strode. She also met and married writer Borden Deal. The Deals moved to Scottsboro in 1954 but returned to Tuscaloosa in the late 1950s. Writer Wayne Greenhaw, then a student at the University, watched their children while the adult Deals wrote.

Deal published her first novel, Acres of Afternoon, in 1959. In 1961, her short story “Make My Death Bed” was televised as part of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. The Deals moved to Sarasota, Fla., in 1964 and became involved with the writing community there. Babs Deal published twelve novels between 1959 and 1979. Her short stories were published in national magazines such as McCall’s and Redbook. In 1979, Friendships, Secrets, and Lies, a movie version of her novel The Walls Came Tumbling Down, was broadcast on NBC-TV. The Deals divorced in 1975, and Babs spent her later years living in Gulf Shores, Ala. After becoming seriously ill in the winter of 2004, she was hospitalized in Montgomery, where she died.

Interests and Themes

Most of Babs Deal’s novels are set in small Southern towns similar to the ones in which she lived. Acres of Afternoon and It’s Always Three O’Clock are set in a fictional version of her hometown, Scottsboro, while The Grail is about the football team of a Southern university modeled on the University of Alabama.

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Reference Articles

Location of Papers

Last updated on May 30, 2008.

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