BSC Office of Communications

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December 14, 2005

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove to be Grand Master at Birmingham-Southern's Writing Today 2006 conference

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Rita Dove will serve as Grand Master for Writing Today 2006, at Birmingham-Southern College. The 26th annual event will be March 10 and 11, 2006 on the BSC campus and is a part of the college's Sesquicentennial celebration.

Dove was Poet Laureate of the United States and consultant to the Library of Congress from 1993 to 1995. She is currently poet laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia and is Commonwealth Professor of English at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Her recognitions include 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, 1996 National Humanities Medal, and 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award. Her numerous works include “The Yellow House on the Corner,” “On the Bus with Rosa Parks,” and “American Smooth,” a new collection published in September 2004.

The Writing Today conference brings literary professionals from around the country to the college's campus for sessions and lectures on the craft of writing, as well as practical information related to publishing literary works. It has included local writers who are well-known nationally, and has also brought to Birmingham many prominent editors, publishers, and agents.

Major speakers for the 2006 conference include Nathalie Handal, poet, writer, playwright, literary activist, and professor at Columbia University whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and literary reviews; Douglas Hofstadter, professor at Indiana University and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction and the American Book Award for science hardback; and Juan Williams, National Public Radio senior correspondent and one of America's leading journalists.

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove

Faculty for Writing Today 2006 include Marlin Barton, assistant director of the “Writing Our Stories: An Anti-Violence Creative Writing Project” for juvenile defenders and creative writing teacher at Mount Meigs juvenile facility in Montgomery; Wendy Reed Bruce, writer, producer, and director at the Alabama Center for Public Television; John Calderazzo, professor of creative non-fiction and literature at Colorado State University; Mark Childress, Monroeville native and author of “Crazy in Alabama,” an award-winning screenplay for film; Stella Connell, literary agent and owner of The Connell Agency in New York; Wayne Flynt, professor emeritus at Auburn University and editor-in-chief of the new “Online Encyclopedia of Alabama;” Jim Gilbert, editor-in-chief at River City Publishers in Montgomery; Jim Murphy, assistant professor of English at the University of Montevallo; George Packer, staff writer with “The New Yorker;” Nancy Huddleston Packer, Birmingham native and former director of the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University; Deborah Serra, screenwriter and adjunct professor of screenwriting at the University of California at San Diego; and Anne P. Wheeler, BSC alumna and film producer, winner of Audience Choice Award for Documentaries at the 2004 Sidewalk Festival in Birmingham.

The Hackney Literary Awards, sponsored since 1969 by the Cecil Hackney family of Birmingham, are presented during the conference each year. The competition awards $5,000 in prizes for poetry and short fiction, as well as a $5,000 prize for an unpublished novel. The Hackney Awards are open to writers nationwide.

Writing Today is supported by the Alabama Humanities Foundation and Southern Progress Corp. Registration will begin in January. For more information, contact Birmingham-Southern's office of College Events at 205/226-4921 or go to the conference website at




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