Special to Atmore News
Are you an avid reader? Have you tried writing your own great American classic? Mark your calendars for the Monroeville Literary Festival, March 5-7.
The Monroeville Literary Festival is a new vision of the 22-year Alabama Writers Symposium, a project of Coastal Alabama Community College. Guests can expect the same high quality of writers alongside more of the hospitality that makes Monroeville one of the most visited sites of literary tourism in the southeast.
According to Alisha Linam, director of the Monroeville Literary Festival, “The Festival committee and Coastal Alabama are responding to the needs of our region and seeking to create a fun, family-friendly showcase of the best writers from Alabama and beyond. Monroeville is famous as the home of several literary legends, including Harper Lee and Truman Capote, but we want to add more names to the list. We want to inspire a new generation.”
This year’s slate of featured writers includes the 2020 Harper Lee Award winner Patti Callahan Henry, a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling writer of southern fiction. Henry’s recent book Becoming Mrs. Lewis, a genre departure for the author, tells the story of C.S. Lewis’s wife Joy Davidman, and received international acclaim, including the 2019 Christy Award for best Christian book.
Henry will be joined by Charles Gaines, the 2020 Truman Capote Prize winner; an Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductee; the author of the novel Stay Hungry, which inspired a movie of the same name starring Sally Field, Jeff Bridges, and Arnold Schwarzenegger; a noted journalist in the weightlifting and fly fishing communities; and the inventor of paintball.
Other participants include southern life commentator Sean “Sean of the South” Dietrich; songwriter Jo Smith; two writers from the Mobile Bay area, Lauren K. Denton and Emily Blejwas; noted civil rights activist Bob Zellner; and more on Friday, March 6, and Saturday, March 7, in the historic Monroe County Courthouse Museum. The Museum will also feature a concurrent book arts exhibit by the University of Alabama’s Steve Miller.
Budding writers can look forward to writing workshops on Friday, March 6, in the John D. Forte Library on the Monroeville campus of Coastal Alabama.
This year’s Festival will also include a children’s stage at the Monroe County Public Library on Saturday, March 7, and will feature noted Alabama children’s writer Irene Latham, local favorite Frye Gaillard with Marti Rosner, and a presentation by Dr. Deidra Suwanee Dees and the Poarch Creek Indian cultural department.
All general sessions are free thanks to the generous support of Coastal Alabama Community College, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Alabama River Cellulose, JWJ Investment Properties LLC, George Landegger, and Dianne Lawson Baker.
Tickets are available for purchase to several locally sponsored events during the Festival. Join the Monroeville / Monroe County Chamber of Commerce for the Alabama Literary Awards Reception on Friday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m., for a fun evening with music, food, and fellowship with the 2020 Harper Lee, Truman Capote, and Eugene Current-Garcia Award winners at the Vanity Fair Golf and Tennis Club.
Support the Monroe County Museum and enjoy a picnic lunch featuring foods from Emily Blejwas’s The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods on Saturday, March 7.
Guests arriving on Thursday, March 5, may purchase tickets to Monroeville Main Street’s Wine Up Welcome party, and should plan to stay through Saturday evening for a farewell Last Call with Jo Smith. Comprehensive tickets for all events are $80.
A complete schedule and ticket information may be found at www.MonroevilleLiteraryFestival.com.