The excellent speaker series Southern Voices festival held at the Hoover Public Library has announced that British crime novelist Elizabeth George is headlining the 2024 event. This annual event is always a good time if you enjoy hanging out with bookish folks and meeting authors. You can find out more about next year’s conference at the Southern Voices site.
The Hoover Sun has all the good details and wonderful author biographies, but the basics are:
January 11, 2024 at 10am – tickets go on sale on their site. Tickets for “An Evening with Elizabeth George” are $40, while tickets for Saturday’s Authors Conference are $45.
Sunday, February 18, 2024 – the Southern Voices Festival kicks off its 31st year with two John Waite concerts. One at 3pm and the other at 7pm
Tuesday, February 20, 2024 – artist Katie Baldwin lecture and reception
Friday, February 23, 2024 – “An Evening with Elizabeth George” at 7pm
Saturday, February 24, 2024 – the Southern Voices Author Conference starts at 9am and ends at 4pm.
It’s always fun to see who Southern Voices organizers can get to speak in Hoover, AL, each year. It’s always a thrill when it is someone of Elizabeth George’s caliber.
There are other authors as well, including Kate Quinn, Yasmin Angoe, John Archibald, Kim Cross, and more. So be sure to click over and read that Hoover Sun article. Then mark your calendars to buy your tickets on January 11, 2024. It’s shaping up to be another great event at the Hoover Library.
The second annual Bookstock Festival occurs this Saturday, May 20th, at the New Heights Community Resource Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The event is hosted by The Literacy Council of West Alabama and is FREE!
The Bookstock Festival kicks off at 10 am and will close at 2 pm. So it’s a narrow window if you can get there. The folks from the University of Alabama Books Arts Program will be leading a book construction session starting at 10:30 am-12:30 pm.
There is also a painting project where folks can paint Little Library boxes. There will be author readings, information tables for local area book clubs as well as sign-ups for tutoring help, plus scavenger hunts, photo booths, and more!
It’s free to get in, and lunch is free too!
Fingers crossed that the weather is good and the turnout is even better. Seeing how book-related events can unite communities and help improve things is fun.
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.
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