BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Best-selling author Anne
Rivers Siddons headlines the 22nd Writing Today conference at Birmingham-Southern
College April 12-13.
Siddons, the author of 15 books, is the
Grand Master of the annual conference and will be introduced by
her friend and best-selling author Pat Conroy.
The Writing Today conference brings literary
professionals from around the country to the Birmingham-Southern
campus for how-to workshops and lectures on the literary arts, as
well as practical information necessary to the craft of writing.
This year's program explores poetry, playwriting,
novels, short stories, magazine writing, biography and memoir writing,
historical fiction, young adults' books, mystery, publishing, and
Siddons, a graduate of Auburn University,
is known for her skill in crafting strong female protagonists. Her
books include Up Island, Low Country, Outer Banks, Peachtree
Road, Colony, Downtown, Fault Lines, Heartbreak Hotel, Hill Towns,
The House Next Door, Fox's Earth, King's Oak, Homeplace, John Chancellor
Makes Me Cry, and her newest novel Nora, Nora.
Conroy, who served as Grand Master of the
1999 conference, says that Siddons "ranks among the best of
us and delivers the goods-the whole fabulous package-with every
book she writes."
Conroy's work includes Beach Music, The
Boo, The Water is Wide, The Great Santini, The Lords of Discipline,
and The Prince of Tides, the last four of which were adapted
into feature films.
The conference also will feature Nevada
Barr, known for her interest in conservation and environmental issues
which finds a voice through protagonist park ranger Anna Pigeon
and the mystery series in which she is featured; Peter Jenkins,
whose best-selling A Walk Across America is included today
on practically every high school reading list in the country; and
Jill McCorkle, award-winning short story author and novelist who
made publishing history when her first two novels were published
Track of the Cat, the first in the
mystery series authored by Barr, won an Agatha and an Anthony for
a best first mystery in 1983. Others in the series are A Superior
Death, Ill Wind, Firestorm, Endangered Species, Blind Descent, Liberty
Falling, Deep South, and Blood Lure. Hunting Season,
the 10th in the series, was published in February 2002. Deep
South and Blood Lure were both on The New York Times'
Jenkins' A Walk Across America enjoyed
a three-month run on The New York Times' Bestseller List,
as did his other books, The Walk West: A Walk Across America
2, Across China, and Road Unseen. His newest book, Looking
for Alaska, is another bestseller and was named by Barnes and
Noble and Booksense, the publication of America's independent booksellers,
as one of the best books of 2001. He also is an award-winning photographer.
McCorkle is the recipient of numerous writing
awards, including the New England Booksellers' Association Award
for Fiction, The North Carolina Award for Literature, and the Dos
Passos Prize for Excellence for Literature. Five of her books have
been New York Times Notable Books. She is a reviewer for
The New York Times Book Review and has published reviews
for The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
and other noted publications. She has taught writing at the University
of North Carolina, Duke University, Bennington College, and Harvard
"We have assembled an outstanding group
of literary professionals for this year's conference," said
Jake Reiss, owner of the Alabama Booksmith and chair of a community-based
committee that annually plans the conference. "This is not
only a credit to the national reputation this conference has achieved
over the past 22 years, but also to the people in the Birmingham
community who help plan this event, half of whom are published writers
Other Writing Today 2002 faculty include:
Robin Behn, poet and associate professor of English and director
of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Alabama;
Dr. William C. Carter, professor of French at the University of
Alabama at Birmingham and internationally known authority on 20th
century novelist Marcel Proust; Curtis L. Clark, editor-in-chief
at the University of Alabama Press;
Mark Delaney, author of the young adult
mystery series Misfits, Inc.; Michael Griffith, associate
editor of The Southern Review; Anthony Grooms, author of
Bombingham and poems and short stories; Carolyn Haines, author
of Touched and the popular mystery series Bones; Robert Inman,
fiction writer and screenwriter for six motion pictures for television;
Marianne Merola, literary agent at Brandt & Hochman Literary
Agents Inc. in New York;
Marianne Moates, freelance writer and author
of Truman Capote's Southern Years; Jim Murphy, poet and assistant
professor of English at the University of Montevallo; Carolynne
Scott, short story writer and winner of five Hackney Literary Awards;
and Jo Broyles Yohay, freelance travel writer frequently published
in The New York Times and Travel & Leisure.
The Hackney Literary Awards, sponsored since
1969 by the Cecil Hackney family of Birmingham, will be presented
during the conference. The competition awards $5,000 prizes for
poetry and short fiction, as well as a $5,000 prize for an unpublished
novel, sponsored by T. Morris Hackney, chairman of the board of
The Hackney Group of Birmingham and Birmingham-Southern College
trustee. The Hackney Awards are open to writers nationwide.
For the first time this year, there will
be an authors' and patrons' party prior to the conference April
11 at 7 p.m. at Southern Progress Corp.
For complete information, contact Birmingham-Southern's
Office of Special Events at 205/226-4921.