FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2002
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Best-selling author
Lee Smith headlines the 23rd Writing Today conference at Birmingham-Southern
College March 7-8, 2003.
Smith, the author of nine novels and three collections
of short stories, is the Grand Master of the annual conference.
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 novels, short
stories, essays, magazine feature writing, memoir and biography,
children's and young adult writing, poetry, travel writing,
publishing, and editing, among other topics.
Smith, a retired professor of English at North
Carolina State University, has received many honors including an
Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters
in 1999 and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's
Award. Her books include Oral History, Saving Grace, The Devil's
Dream, and Fair and Tender Ladies, as well as three
collections of stories including News of the Spirit and
Me and My Baby View the Eclipse, both New York Times Notable
Books. She also is the author of The Christmas Letters.
Her latest novel, The Last Girls, was published by Algonquin
Books of Chapel Hill, N.C., in fall 2002.
The conference also will feature Hal Crowther,
an essayist, editor, columnist, critic, and Pulitzer Prize nominee;
Jim Rogers, a native of Demopolis and stockbroker/investor-turned
memoir and travel writer; and Daniel Wallace, a native of Birmingham
and author of the best-selling first novel Big Fish scheduled
for filming in Montgomery in 2003 by director Tim Burton.
Crowther has published his essays, many of which
are included in the collections Unarmed and Dangerous and
Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South,
and in many anthologies. Cathedrals was nominated for the Pulitzer
Prize and the National Book Award. He has worked as a media columnist
and a film and drama critic for the Buffalo News, a staff
writer at Time magazine, associate editor for Newsweek
magazine, columnist on film and media for The Humanist and
Free Inquiry magazines, a regular contributor to the book
pages of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and a syndicated
columnist and executive editor for Spectator magazine.
His column “Dealer's Choice” has been featured
in The Oxford American since 1994.
Rogers is the author of the best-selling book
Investment Biker: On the Road with Jim Rogers, a memoir
of his Guinness world record 104,710-kilometer motorcycle trip across
six continents. His recently published second memoir, Adventure
Capitalist, details his 116-country, 152,000-mile second trip
around the world. He also is an investor who has been featured in
The New Money Masters, Market Wizards, and other books,
as well as in Barron's, Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street
Journal, The Financial Times, and other publications. He founded
the Quantum Fund, a global investment partnership that enabled him
to retire when he was 37, since which time he has served as professor
of finance at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business
and moderated “The Dreyfuss Roundtable” and “The
Profit Motive with Jim Rogers.”
Born and raised in Birmingham, Wallace's
second novel was published in 2000. His third novel, The Watermelon
King, will be published by Houghton Mifflin in 2003. He also
has published more than 30 stories in various magazines.
“We have assembled an outstanding
group of literary professionals for this year's conference,”
said Bill Cobb, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated author and chair of the
Writing Today conference. “This is not only a credit to the
national reputation this conference has achieved over the past 23
years, but also to the people in the Birmingham community who help
plan this event, half of whom are published writers themselves.”
Other Writing Today 2003 faculty include:
Ellen Archer, vice president and publisher for
Hyperion Publishers in New York whose marketing campaigns have included
bestsellers by Michael J. Fox, John Grisham, and Faith Popcorn;
Marlin Barton, Alabama native, short story writer and novelist,
and Alabama Writers' Forum teacher; Myra Crawford, former
Alabama poet-in-residence, author, and former managing editor of
the Alabama Journal of Medical Sciences;
Pat DeVoto, author of My Last Days as Roy
Rogers and Out of the Night That Covers Me; Abe Fawal,
writer and filmmaker who has taught film and literature at the University
of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham-Southern College; Gary Fisketjon,
former editor at Random House and Vintage Books, editorial director
of the Atlantic Monthly Press, and editor-at-large and
vice president of Alfred A. Knopf;
James Haskins, author of more than 100 books
for adults and young people who was presented the Children's
Book Guild Award for a body of work in nonfiction for young people
by the The Washington Post; Morgan Murphy, travel editor
for Southern Living magazine; Janet McAdams, winner of
the American Book Award in 2000 for her collection of poetry
Island of Lost Luggage;
Louis Skipper, associate rector at St. Stephen's
Episcopal Church in Birmingham and former visiting writer in English
and religion at Wake Forest University and visiting writer at Sweet
Briar College; and Emma Sweeney, literary agent with Harold Ober
in New York and author of three books on gardening.
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 more information, contact Birmingham-Southern's
Office of Special Events at 205/226-4921.