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Saturday, May 1, 2010
13th Annual Alabama Writers Symposium
What could be a better way to wind down a hectic week of shuttling four children to and from school and baseball games, than to rub shoulders with the very best amongst Southern writers, including Carolyn Haines, the 2010 Harper Lee Award winner?
Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to go, relax, and pose questions with some of the state's most elite authors at the 13th Annual Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville, Alabama. The picture above is myself posing cheerfully next to Phillip Shirley, author of Sweet Spot: 125 Years of Baseball and the Louisville Slugger. Mr. Shirley was kind enough to answer some of my questions about the publishing industry and sign a book for my nephew's upcoming birthday.
After listening to nonfiction author, Eddie Curran (gentleman at the bottom left in the photo above), deliver a highly entertaining powerpoint about his first book, The Governor of Goat Hill: Don Siegelman, the Reporter Who Exposed His Crimes, and the Hoax that Suckered Some of the Top Names in Journalism, Jessica Ross (my wonderfully talented, super cool library director friend at the top right) and myself felt under no circumstances could we return to Washington County without a signed copy of his book. Wasting no time at all, Jess and I dashed to the bookstore, purchased a ton of books, and stalked Mr. Curran in order to steal a few minutes of his time. His personality is a mixture of comical charm and clever sarcasm, but by far, Mr. Curran is the funniest author we encountered during the day.
The distinguished gentleman at the bottom right, Mr. Ted Dunagan, is the author of The Yellow Watermelon, an Accelerated Reader book, which fits the bill for any avid young book lover. Mr. Dunagan was extremely approachable and very encouraging of my writing endeavor. I came home with a signed copy of his fascinating novel as well.
After a splendid hour of booksigning and refreshments, Jess and I headed over to the Monroeville Community House for the Harper Lee & Eugene Current Garcia Award Presentation/Luncheon. Elegance is not the word to describe the lovely decorations, floral arrangements, and stylish table settings placed inside the dining hall of the community house. For the next hour, we ate like queens and enjoyed listening to Carolyn Haines and Ralph Voss deliver such eloquent speeches after accepting the Harper Lee & Eugene Current Garcia Awards.
The afternoon in historic Monroeville could not be complete without paying tribute to the critically acclaimed author, Harper Lee. With the 5oth anniversary of To Kill A Mockingbird, it only felt natural to end the day by driving past the old courthouse located in the downtown square and paying homage to the woman who's writing inspired me the most. This experience was one like no other, and I will forever remember where I was when To Kill A Mockingbird turned the BIG 50! Happy Anniversay, Harper Lee!