Authors Eugene Walter and Kathryn Tucker Windham will be inducted posthumously.
Billed as a ‘gala event,’ this year’s proceedings will be overseen by Harper Lee Award winner Carolyn Haines. The dinner features food and cocktails by Eugene Walter, who was famous for hosting parties with Truman Capote way back when.
This is the first in-person gathering held by the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame since before the pandemic.
During that event, they inducted seven Alabama authors. The 2020 class included Mark Childress, Faye Gibbons, Carolyn Haines, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, and Michael Knight, with authors Ralph Ellison and Zelda Fitzgerald being inducted posthumously.
Here is a list of all the past Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductees:
The 2018 Inductee List
Joseph Glover Baldwin
William Bradford Huie
Shirley Ann Grau
The 2016 Inductee List
E. O. Wilson
Mary Ward Brown
The 2015 Inductee List
Johnson Jones Hooper
Zora Neale Hurston
Sena Jeter Naslund
Helen Norris Bell
Augusta Jane Evans Wilson
I assume that no one was inducted in 2021 and 2022 due to the pandemic, which is perfectly understandable. I have looked and looked, and I can not find a mention of why there were no Alabama Writers Hall of Fame classes for the years 2017 and 2019. If you know why that is, chime in and let a curious book blogger know.
I love stories like this one. In the 1970s and 1980s, Terry Pratchett wrote under a different name. Now someone has connected the dots, and 20 of his “lost to time” stories are being brought back and published in a new book.
According to The Guardian story, the twenty-story collection will be released on October 5th. They have some tidbits to share about what kinds of stories have been found. You’ll have to click through to that news story to read about those.
My favorite part of this whole saga is that it was fans that did the digging and connected all the dots to find these once-published-but-lost stories.
The folks from Thank You Books will be there too, selling Flynt’s book so you can walk out with a signed copy as well as get to hear from one of Alabama’s best historians and storytellers. Flynt’s books are always some of the best-researched and poignant.
Wayne Flynt and Harper Lee were longtime friends, so he knows the very private novelist well enough to write a book like this. It sounds like most of the stories and reflections come from his visiting Lee during the last years of her life (she died in 2016). No doubt Flynt has some unique insights to share from all of his discussions with Lee.
Afternoons with Harper Lee is published by New South Books which was recently acquired by the University of Georgia Press. While it’s sad that Alabama lost a publisher it is great to see that they have landed somewhere as srong as the UGA Press program is.
I love this praise quote that is inside the book:
“Wayne Flynt is the great Talmudic scholar of Alabama, and this vivid, affecting deconstruction of his friendship with Harper Lee through the history that produced them both is a huge reward and pleasure for those of us who understand that, unaccountably, all roads seem to lead to our grand and terrifying state.” – Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama–The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
They are going to feature one fiction author, on the first Sunday of each month, all year long. These segments will be conducted as all In Depth shows are, allowing viewers to watch live and call or send in questions via social media.
They haven’t shared the whole line up for the year, but there are some big fiction authors slated to be on the show:
January 7th: David Ignatius
February 4th: Colson Whitehead
March 4th: Jeff Shaara
April 1st: Walter Mosley
May 6th: TBD
June 3rd: Gish Jen
July 1st: Brad Thor
August 5th: Cory Doctorow
September 2nd: TBD
October 7th: Geraldine Brooks
November 4th: TBD
December 2nd: Brad Meltzer
What a great lineup! Those are some smart folks who are writing about big and small topics all over the place. BookTV has chatted with fiction authors before during their coverage of literary festivals or industry events like Book Expo of America. In fact they’re airing a conversation with George Saunders about his book Lincoln in the Bardo, which is a segment I plan on watching.