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 Listen to an Alabama Arts Radio broadcast previewing the festival authors, activities, and outreach.


Read a "Sleuths, Spies, and Alibis" interview with Deron Hicks

Watch a clip of Donald Anderson reading from his memoir.


Connect with Suzanne Hudson on Facebook.

Watch the trailer for Mark Huntley Parsons's new teen novel, Road Rash.

Meet The Shoe Burnin' writers, musicians, singers, and songwriters.

 Follow Robert Inman's blog.


View a video clip of Kelly Norman Ellis reading "I Was Raised by Women."

Read an excerpt from Ashley Bramlett's Otis Goes to School.


Follow kids' mystery writer F. T. Bradley's blog.


Watch "That Chicken Soup for the Soul Guy," Mark Victor Hansen.


Read about Mary Adams Belk's first book release, last fall.


Celebrate with Scot Duncan on his 2014 Reed Writing Award for Southern Wonder.


Watch an online interview with Auburn writer Marian Carcache.


Read a poem from Robert Collins's latest poetry collection.


Follow Joe Formichella on Twitter.


Celebrate Ted Dunagan's third Georgia Author of the Year award.


Watch Michael Reno Harrell on the WDVX "Blue Plate Special."

 Read an interview with Chervis Isom.

Listen to Vernon Fowlkes's The Sound of Falling set to music. .

 Check out the book club readers' guide for Susan Gregg Gilmore's The Funeral Dress.

 Read a review of Tarreka Garnett's The Sleepover.

Watch Crystal Dwyer Hansen talking about her Skinny Life program.


Connect with Roy Hoffman on Facebook.


Follow Jennifer Horne's blog.


Read two prose poems by Randall Horton.


Preview Peter Huggins's latest work.

See how Deborah Johnson's grandfather and Thurgood Marshall inspired The Secret of Magic.

2014 Festival Authors

Thanks to all the wonderful authors who participated in the 2014 Alabama Book Festival You can continue to follow them here on the Festival website and on the Alabama Book Festival's FaceBook page.

Kathaleen E. Amende is an associate professor of English at Alabama State University, where she teaches American, southern and African American literature. She is the author of numerous published essays on southern culture and literature. Amende will moderate a discussion with Robert Inman.

Donald Anderson is a native of Montana; his fiction and essays have appeared in the North American Review, Fiction International, and Epoch, among many others. He is the longtime Editor of War, Literature & the Arts. His short stories and essays have won first place in the Society for the Study of the Short Story contest, the John Simmons Short Fiction Award, and Notable Essay of 2012 award. He earned an MFA from Cornell University and has received a fellowship grant from the National Endowment for the Art. A former U.S. Air Force officer, he directs creative writing at the United States Air Force Academy. His latest book is Gathering Noise from My Life: A Camouflaged Memoir, and he will lead a free writing workshop on Saturday morning, Fundamentals of Fiction Writing.

Workshop 9-10 a.m. in the Loeb Center, and panel discussion 2-3 p.m. in the Log Cabin Tent.

Brandt Ayers,  a native of Anniston, AL, and graduate of the University of Alabama, is chairman and publisher of the Anniston Star, and his syndicated column, “Out Here,” is carried by some thirty newspapers. He served as a capitol and legislative reporter for the Raleigh (N.C.) Times and as a Washington correspondent for Southern newspapers. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and Boston Globe, among others, and he has been a commentator for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. He has received numerous awards from national and state civic, educational and social organizations, including the American Society of Newspaper Editors’ Award for Editorial Leadership. He has lectured internationally on foreign and domestic affairs and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, a trustee of the Southern Center for International Studies, and a member of the Board of Foreign Scholarships (the International Fulbright Board). His memoir is In Love with Defeat: The Making of Southern Liberal. 11:15-12:00, Log Cabin Tent.

Marlin Barton, a native Alabamian, is a graduate of the University of Alabama and earned an M.F.A. from Wichita State University. He has taught in the Alabama Writers’ Forum / Alabama Department of Youth Services “Writing Our Stories” program, teaching writing classes to juvenile offenders, and is now assistant program director. He began publishing his short stories in the 1990s and has won several awards. His story “Jeremiah’s Road” was included in Prize Stories 1994: The O. Henry Awards, and “The Dry Well” was honored with the Sewanee Review’s Andrew Lytle Prize for Best Short Story in 1995. His first collection of stories, The Dry Well, was published in 2001. Barton has since published two novels and a second story collection. He is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today. 4:00-4:45, Church.

T. J. Beitelman teaches creative writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham. He is the author of a book of poems, In Order to Form a More Perfect Union, and a novel, John the Revelator. His poems, stories, and magazine articles have been published widely in literary journals, trade magazines and online venues, including Portico, Alabama Heritage, DIAGRAM, Indiana Review, Quarterly West, Colorado Review, and Third Coast. His work has garnered fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham. A graduate of the University of Alabama's MFA Program in Creative Writing, he is a former editor of the critically acclaimed Black Warrior Review. 2:30-3:00, Poetry Tent

Mary Adams Belk lives in Auburn, AL, where her column, “Second Cup,” appears weekly in the Opelika-Auburn News. She has published a number of short stories and nonfiction articles, and her short stories have earned several contest awards. She taught anthropology for twenty years at Auburn University. When she isn’t writing, she loves to travel with her daughter’s Special Olympics gymnastics team, ride horses, hike, read, and go on archaeological digs. Second Cup: Collected Columns is a compilation of her columns that have appeared over the years.

10:00-10:45, Log Cabin Tent

F. T. Bradley is originally from the Netherlands, and now lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast with her Air Force husband and two daughters. She is a strong advocate for getting reluctant readers to read, and her latest book, the second in a middle-grade mystery trilogy, is Double Vision: Code Name 711. She still likes to travel, like Double Vision’s main character, Linc Baker, whenever she can. 11:30-12:00, North Tent

Ashley Bramlett, a native of Prattville, AL, is a graduate of the University of Mississippi and Nashville School of Law. She practices law, operates her own photography business, and writes children’s books, including an early reader series and picture books. Otis Goes to School is her first chapter book for young readers. The real Otis and a new rescue pup, Oxford, live with the Bramletts; a sequel to Otis’s book that includes Oxford is in the works. 10:00-10:30, North Tent

Marian Carcache grew up in Jernigan, AL. Her short stories have appeared in Shenandoah, Chattahoochee Review, and other journals. Her work has been anthologized in Due South, Belles Lettres, and Crossroads: Stories of the Southern Literary Fantastic, among others. Under the Arbor, an opera made from her short story and libretto, appeared on PBS stations nationwide and was nominated for a regional Emmy. She is a regular contributor to Twisted South magazine and has a weekly column in the Citizen of East of Alabama. She is also a member of the Mystic Order of East Alabama Fiction Writers, and she has taught college English for more than twenty years. Her short story collection is The Moon and the Stars. 10:00-10:45, Log Cabin Tent

Chris Clifton, guitar genius, was born in Texas and is now known as one of the great guitar stylists playing blues, jazz, rock and country with an artist's soul and a scholar's dedication. He has played and toured with some of the best known singer-songwriters in the country. He now makes his home in Fairhope, AL., and often plays in Key West, FL. He is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today. 4:00-4:45, Church

William Cobb, a native of Demopolis, AL, attended Livingston State College and Vanderbilt University. He has had a long and distinguished career as teacher and writer-in-residence at the University of Montevallo. A novelist and playwright, Cobb has published several books of fiction and numerous short stories and essays. He has also had three plays produced off-off Broadway in New York. His early story “The Stone Soldier” was named best story of the year by Story Magazine. His novel A Walk through Fire was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His latest book is Sweet Home: Stories of Alabama. 10:45-11:15, Moulton House

Robert Collins has published poems in a variety of literary magazines, including Ascent, Cimarron Review, Louisville Review, Connecticut Review, Southern Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, and Southern Poetry Review. He has received two Individual Artists Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, been nominated for a Pushcart Prize several times, received the Ascent Award for Poetry and won the Tennessee Chapbook Prize. He taught American literature and creative writing at the University of Alabama in Birmingham for thirty years, where he founded and edited Birmingham Poetry Review and directed the creative writing program. His latest poetry collection, Naming the Dead, was a finalist for the FutureCycle Press Annual Book Prize.

10:00-10:30, Poetry Tent

Kirk Curnutt is the author of two novels, Breathing Out the Ghost and Dixie Noir, as well as several works on F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. He will moderate the discussion with Roy Hoffman and William Cobb, as well as the war literature panel.

10:45-11:15, Moulton House and 2:15-3:00, Log Cabin Tent

Ted Dunagan, a native of rural southwestern Alabama, served in the U.S. Army, attended Georgia State University, and retired from a career in business in 2003. He lives in Monticello, GA, where he writes news, features, and a weekly column for the Monticello News. He received the 2009 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Young Adult Fiction for his debut novel, A Yellow Watermelon, and the book was named to the Georgia Center for the Book’s inaugural 25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read list. He is also the only author in Georgia history to win the Georgia Author of the Year Award for every book he’s ever written. His latest young adult book is The Salvation of Miss Lucretia.

10:45-11:15, North Tent

R. Scot Duncan, originally from Pensacola, FL, graduated from Eckerd College and received an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Florida. His research on ecology and conservation biology has taken him to Costa Rica, Panama, Uganda, Florida, and Alabama.  He is an associate professor of biology and urban environmental studies at Birmingham-Southern College, and his students are currently studying the ecology of endangered species and threatened ecosystems, including the Ketona dolomite glades, montane Longleaf Pine woodlands, and the Watercress Darter. He is the author of Southern Wonder: Alabama’s Surprising BiodiversityWritten for the layperson, the book interweaves the disciplines of ecology, evolution, and geology into an explanation of why Alabama is home to more species than any other state east of the Mississippi River. Southern Wonders foreword was written by Alabama native and distinguished scientist, Dr. Edward O. Wilson, and the book won the Southern Environmental Law Center’s 2014 Phil Reed Environmental Writing Award. 2:30-3:00, Church

Joe Formichella is the prize-winning author of nonfiction works Here’s to you, Jackie Robinson and Murder Creek, among others, and the forthcoming novel Waffle House Rules. He lives on the Waterhole Branch near Fairhope, AL. He is an editor of and contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today. 4:00-4:45, Church

Vernon Fowlkes was educated at Louisiana State University and did graduate studies at the University of South Alabama; he lives in Mobile, AL. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, among them The Southern Review, Negative Capability, Birmingham Arts Journal, Ampersand Review, Elk River Review, The Texas Observer, and Willow Springs.His poetry collection is The Sound of Falling. 1:15-2:15, Poetry Tent

Tarreka Garnett was raised by her grandmother in Miami, FL. She is a graduate of Florida A & M University and has taught elementary school for the past six years; she currently teaches fourth grade in Tampa, FL. When she was young she wished there was a story that reflected her, one that told her she was normal and loved. She wrote The Sleepover so children can know and understand that families come in all shapes and sizes and that love isn’t measured by who is raising them but by their effort and love. 2:30-3:00, North Tent

Susan Gregg Gilmore is a native of Tennessee and began her writing career at the University of Virginia as a reporter for the school newspaper. She earned an M.A. at the University of Texas and wrote for the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Chattanooga News-Free Press. Her second novel, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, was a 2010 SIBA Summer OKRA Pick and part of Target’s Emerging Author Program. Her latest novel is The Funeral Dress. 1:45-2:15, Moulton House

Crystal Dwyer Hansen is an entrepreneur and founder of CrystalVision Ltd. and Skinny Life and co-founder of Richest Kids Academy. She is certified by the American Board of Hypnotherapy and is a member of the International Coaching Federation and a Certified Meditation Instructor with the Chopra Center of Well-Being. Through her personal coaching, speaking, CD programs, videos, books, and articles, people all over the world have experienced profound and lasting transformation in relationships, career, health and wellness. Crystal Dwyer Hansen has co-authored multiple books on transformation and wellness and has recently released her first solo book, Pure Thoughts for Pure Results--How Messy Thinking can Make or Break Your Life. She and her husband, Mark Victor Hansen, will co-present. 10:45-11:15, South Tent

Mark Victor Hansen is probably best known as the co-author for the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and brand. He is an internationally known keynote speaker and entrepreneurial marketing maven, helping people create massive success for themselves. His many popular books include The Power of Focus, The Aladdin Factor, Dare to Win, and One Minute Millionaire. He has published an extensive library of audio programs, video programs and articles in the areas of big thinking, sales achievement, publishing success and personal and professional development. He has appeared on Oprah, CNN, and the Today Show and in print in Time, U.S. News & World Report, USA Today, the New York Times, and Entrepreneur. A philanthropist and humanitarian, he works for Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, March of Dimes, and Childhelp USA, among others. He is a winner of the prestigious Horatio Alger Award, and his Mark Victor Hansen Foundation and his Richest Kids Academy help young people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. His latest books are You Have a Book in You and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Readers’ Choice Anniversary Edition. He and his wife, Crystal Dwyer Hansen, will co-present. 10:45-11:15, South Tent and 3:15-3:45, South Tent

Michael Reno Harrell is an award winning songwriter, as well as a veteran storyteller and entertainer. He hails from the southern Appalachian Mountains, and his brand of entertainment appeals to audiences young and old. His natural knack for storytelling in print, song, and spoken word has earned him praise from the music community as well as the literary and storytelling worlds. He has been a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival and a Teller In Residence at the International Storytelling Center. Harrell has also performed at major music events, including MereleFest and the Walnut Valley Festival, and his recordings have earned awards in country, Americana, and folk circles. He is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today. 4:00-4:45, Church

Deron Hicks is an attorney and investigates mysteries for a living, so it’s only natural that he would write about William Shakespeare, one of literature’s most puzzling people. His latest middle grade book, Tower of the Five Orders, is a sequel to Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave. With his own children’s natural curiosity and inspiration, he set out to reveal a bit of the mystery of the real world and show that many of its secret and stories still wait to be told. He lives in Warm Springs, GA, with his wife and two children. 1:00-1:30, North Tent

Isabel Hill, an Alabama native, is an architectural historian, urban planner, photographer, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her production company, Building History Productions, specializes in reports, photographs, and documentary films about architecture and urban issues. Her passion is teaching children about architecture and the urban environment, and she has written three children's books about architecture; the latest is Urban Animals of Washington, D.C.  She often uses her books as teaching tools in underserved school in New York City, helping children observe and appreciate the beautiful architecture in their own neighborhoods. She lives with her daughter, Anna, and their dog, Dot, in Brooklyn. 12:15-12:45, North Tent

Roy Hoffman's  new novel, Come Landfall, is about three women on the Mississippi coast, the men they love, and the wars that shape them. He is also author of the novels Almost Family, winner of the Lillian Smith Award for fiction, and Chicken Dreaming Corn, endorsed by Harper Lee, and the nonfiction collections, Back Home, and Alabama Afternoons. His articles and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Fortune, Southern Living, and his hometown newspaper in Mobile, the Press-Register, where he was a long-time staff writer. A graduate of Tulane who worked as a journalist and speechwriter in New York City before moving back south to Fairhope, AL, he received the Clarence Cason Award in career nonfiction from the University of Alabama and is on the faculty of the Spalding University Brief Residency MFA in Writing Program in Louisville, KY.

10:45-11:15, Moulton House

Jennifer Horne grew up in Arkansas and has lived for many years in Alabama. She and her husband, literary critic and interviewer Don Noble, live by a lake in Cottondale, AL, and she teaches classes in poetry, memoir and travel writing for the Honors College at the University of Alabama. Her poetry collection, Bottle Tree, was nominated for a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance award. Her short story collection, Tell the World You’re a Wildflower, will be released later this year. She co-edited two books with Wendy Reed: All Out of Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality and Circling Faith: Southern Women on Spirituality.  She is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today. 4:00-4:45, Church

Randall Horton, a native of Birmingham, AL, has received the prestigious Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. He is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a member of The Symphony: The House that Etheridge Built. An assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven, he has published three collections of poetry, including his latest, Pitch Dark Anarchy.

10:45-11:30, Poetry Tent

Suzanne Hudson's writing has been described as “bawdy, grotesque, beautiful, gruesome, ribald and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny.” The protégé of Sonny Brewer, she made a big splash in the writing community when she took first place in Penthouse Magazine’s international short story contest, judged by such authors as Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and Toni Morrison. She is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today.

4:00-4:45, Church

Peter Huggins teaches English at Auburn University and has published four poetry collections; his latest is South. He has published more than three hundred poems in over a hundred journals, magazines, and anthologies, as well as a picture book, Trosclair and the Alligator, and a middle grade novel, In the Company of Owls. Trosclair has appeared on the PBS show Between the Lions, received a Mom’s Choice Award, and was selected as a best book by CCBC Choices at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and by Bank Street College of Education. Among his other awards and honors, he has been a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and has received a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. 10:00-10:45, Log Cabin Tent

Robert Inman, a native of Elba, AL, earned an M.A. at the University of Alabama and is a former journalist and a novelist, screenwriter and playwright. He has authored seven plays, including the book, lyrics, and music for two musical productions. He has also written screenplays for six television movies, including two Hallmark Hall of Fame presentations. Three of his novels have been Booksense 76 feature recommendations by independent booksellers nationwide, and three received the Alabama Library Association’s Outstanding Fiction Award. His latest novel is The Governor’s Lady. 10:00-10:30, South Tent

Chervis Isom is a native of Franklin County and Birmingham, AL, where he delivered newspapers in the Norwood community while growing up. He is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College and Cumberland School of Law of Samford University. He has worked extensively throughout the South with developers and real estate professionals from all walks of life. As a working

writer, he has spent countless hours visiting and recalling the Norwood

community of his childhood and youth on the north side of Birmingham, and now serves on the Board of Directors of the Norwood Resource Center. His memoir is The Newspaper Boy. 1:00-1:45, Log Cabin Tent

Deborah Johnson was born below the Mason-Dixon Line in Missouri and grew up in Omaha, NE. After college, she lived in San Francisco and then for many years in Rome, Italy, where she worked as a translator and editor of doctoral theses and at Vatican Radio. Her novel The Air Between Us received the Mississippi Library Association Award for fiction, and her latest novel is The Secret of Magic.

12:15-12:45, Moulton House

Cassandra King's novels have earned awards and accolades. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Callaloo, Alabama Bound: The Stories of a State, Belles’ Letters: Contemporary Fiction by Alabama Women, Stories From Where We Live, and Stories From The Blue Moon Café. She has taught college writing; conducted corporate writing seminars; worked as a human-interest reporter for a Pelham, AL, weekly paper; and published an article on her second-favorite pastime, cooking, in Cooking Light magazine. A native of L.A. (Lower Alabama), she lives in the Low Country of South Carolina with her husband, novelist Pat Conroy, whom she met when he wrote a blurb for her first novel, Making Waves. Her latest novel is Moonrise, and The Same Sweet Girls' Guide to Life: Advice from a Failed Southern Belle will be available at the festival bookstore. 1:00-1:30, South Tent

Keetje Kuipers is an assistant professor at Auburn University and has been the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and the Emerging Writer Lecturer at Gettysburg College. Her first book, Beautiful in the Mouth, won the A. Poulin, Jr. Prize from BOA Editions. Her most recent poetry collection is The Keys to the Jail. 12:30-1:00, Poetry Tent

Jim Lacefield, a retired adjunct professor of biology and earth science at the University of North Alabama, lives in rural Colbert County, AL, with his wife, Faye. He is the author of a popular guidebook to Alabama’s rocks and fossils, Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks: A Guide to the State’s Ancient Life and Landscapes. This heavily illustrated book has been used as an introductory earth science and geology textbook from middle school through college levels, including nine universities in three Southern states. A revised and expanded second edition of the book has recently been published by the Alabama Museum of Natural History in Tuscaloosa; it contains more than seven hundred color photographs, paleogeographic maps and other graphics that tell the story of Alabama's geological development over the past half billion years. 1:00-1:30, Church

Celia Lewis is a native of New Orleans with enduring Alabama roots, and she and her husband live in historic Mobile, AL. She is publisher and co-editor of Rette’s Last Stand: The Poetry of Everette Maddox. Her work has most recently appeared in Tributaries, Literary Mobile, and is forthcoming in The Xavier Review. She founded and directed Firehouse Theatre’s Southern Voices poetry series; adapted southern short stories for the stage for South of the Salt Line Foundation; created and presented poetry writing workshops for children; and was the founding editor of the student literary magazine, Azimuth Circle. Her debut collection of poems is We Still Live Here.

1:15-2:15, Poetry Tent

Stacey Little is a Southern food blogger. His easy, delicious recipes and heartfelt stories have brought millions to his blog,, since he created it in 2008. Stacey’s deep Southern roots have him firmly planted in central Alabama, where he lives with his wife, little boy, two dogs, and his collection of cast iron skillets. His book is The Southern Bite: 150 Irresistible Dishes from 4 Generations of My Family's Kitchen.

1:00-1:30, Moulton House

Carolyn Maull McKinstry  is a native of Birmingham, AL, and was at Sixteenth Street Baptist Church when it was bombed in 1963. An active participant in the Civil Rights Movement, she survived a second bomb that destroyed much of her home. She is a graduate of Fisk University, received a Master of Divinity from Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School, and is an associate minister at Trinity Baptist Church. Her memoir is While the World Watched: A Birmingham Bombing Survivor Comes of Age during the Civil Rights Movement. 1:00-1:45, Log Cabin Tent

Charles McNair an Alabama native, lives in Atlanta where he writes full-time, combining freelance literary duties with assignments for corporations and businesses, including “Power of Storytelling” workshops. Since 2005, he has served as Books Editor for Paste magazine and has shared his reviews on Atlanta radio station WMLB 1690 AM. His first novel, Land O’ Goshen, was a nominee for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. His most recent novel is Pickett’s Charge, and he is currently at work on his third novel, The Epicureans. 2:30-3:00, Moulton House

Stephanie Perry Moore was born in South Carolina, raised in Virginia, educated in Alabama, and now lives in Georgia. A Christian fiction writer, she has published more than thirty-five books set in the South. Her books include Payton Skky series, the first African-American Christian teen series; the Laurel Shadrach series; the Carmen Browne series; the Perry Skky Jr. series; the Faith Thomas ‘NovelZine’ series; the urban collegiate Beta Gamma Pi series; and the hip, teen Yasmin Peace series. Her latest series is the Morgan Love series, and she and her husband, Derrick Moore, write the Alec London series for kids. Stephanie also writes for adults; her latest adult novel is Wearing My Halo Tilted. She was co-editor of Thomas Nelson’s BibleZine, REAL, and is working on a new African-American women’s bible project. A motivational speaker and community activist and lives in the greater Atlanta area with her husband, Derrick, a former NFL player and current sports chaplain for Georgia Tech Athletics, and their three children. 2:30-3:00, South Tent

Mary Elizabeth Murphy is a writer, English instructor, and health care worker. She has read her poetry at the Library of Congress’s Poetry at Noon series, while also published as a poet and medical writer. She has found that the two professions people often think of as vastly different, the creative and medical, in fact work very well together. At no time was this more obvious than when her mother, Berniece Simmons Murphy, developed Alzheimer’s. These areas of employment became lifelines in a confrontation challenging emotions and intellect, while watching one of the most influential people in her life battle this devastating disease with courage and determination. Her poetry collection is Blama: Sound of the Wounded Word. 1:15-2:15, Poetry Tent

Sena Jeter Naslund is a native of Birmingham, AL, and graduated from Birmingham-Southern College. She has an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa and is Writer in Residence at the University of Louisville, program director of the Spalding University brief-residency MFA in Writing, and Kentucky Poet Laureate. She also founded and is the editor of The Louisville Review and the Fleur-de-Lis Press. She is the author of two collections of stories, Ice Skating at the North Pole and The Disobedience of Water, and six novels, the latest of which is The Fountain of St. James Court; or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council, and has won the Harper Lee Award and the Southeastern Library Association Fiction Award. 1:45-2:15, South Tent

Don Noble is the host of both Alabama Public Radio's book review series and BOOKMARK, which airs on Alabama Public Television. A widely published scholar specializing in American and Southern literature, he has received the Eugene Current-Garcia Award as Alabama's distinguished literary scholar and has been nominated twice for a Regional Emmy Award. He is on the planning committee of several literary conferences. Today he will moderate the panel discussion of authors from Solomon & George publishers. 10:00-10:45, Log Cabin Tent

Kenneth W. Noe, a Virginia native, received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, taught at West Georgia College, and has taught history at Auburn University since 2000. His major teaching and research areas are the American Civil War and Appalachian history; his latest book is The Yellowhammer War: Alabama in the Civil War and Reconstruction. He has also written many articles and essays, including articles in Civil War History and The Journal of Military History. He has won the 2003 Kentucky Governor's Award, the 2002 Peter Seaborg Book Award for Civil War Non-fiction, and the 1997 Tennessee History Book Award. He is a frequent speaker on the Civil War Round Table circuit, serves on the Board of Editors of Civil War History, and was a consultant to the NBC series Who Do You Think You Are? 10:00-10:30, Church

Elaine Neil Orr was born in Nigeria to medical missionary parents and spent her growing-up years there. She received her Ph.D. in Literature and Theology at Emory University and teaches at North Carolina State University. She is also on the faculty of the brief-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University. She is a trans-Atlantic writer of fiction, memoir, and poetry; themes of home, country, and spiritual longing run through her writing. Her memoir, Gods of Noonday, was a Top-20 Book Sense selection and a nominee for the Old North State Award as well as a SIBA Book Award. She has published extensively in literary magazines including The Missouri Review, Blackbird, Shenandoah, and Image Journal. Her newest book is A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa.

11:30-12:00, Moulton House

Mark Huntley Parsons is a long-time writer for national magazines, publishing more than a hundred articles and two nonfiction books. He was also an instructor at a Fortune 500 company. His first novel is Road Rash, a young adult band-on-the-road adventure that draws from his many years of experience as a rock drummer. He and his wife, Wendelin Van Draanen, a children’s book author, live in California with their two sons, two dogs, and two wild imaginations. They will discuss their books, the writing process, and how they’ve managed to share the same office for twenty years without bloodshed. 12:15-12:45, South Tent

Lisa Patton spent over twenty years in the music industry before discovering her passion for novel writing and is now the bestselling author of Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter and Yankee Doodle Dixie. Both novels have been featured on the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Bestseller List, and in 2010 Patton was selected by Target as an Emerging Author. Born and raised in Memphis and a graduate of the University of Alabama, she spent time as a Vermont innkeeper until three sub-zero winters sent her speeding back down South. When she’s not writing Patton guides walking tours of Historic Downtown Franklin, her hometown in Tennessee and also writes for Southern Exposure. Lisa’s latest novel is Southern as a Second Language. Currently at work on her fourth book, she is the proud mother of two sons and a little Havanese pooch named Rosie. 1:45-2:15, Moulton House

Dee Phelps is an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh and Wharton School of Nursing. She was a surgical nurse for over twenty five years. Her family passed down, through generations, tales of life on a Lowcountry cotton and indigo plantation, once owning a plantation near Beaufort, SC. From those fascinating and sometimes harrowing stories, Dee wrote The Disappointment Room. She has also published numerous international travel articles for national magazines and, under the pen name Marcella Miller, published a children’s book, The Flower in the Thickets. She lives in Beaufort near her three grown sons and five grandchildren. 3:15-3:45, Moulton House

Van Allen Plexico, a native of Sylacauga, AL, is the author or co-author of more than a dozen science fiction, superhero and new pulp novels, five nonfiction books, and too many short stories and novellas to count. He won “Best New Character” at the Pulp Ark Awards in 2012, and his space opera novel Legion I: Lords of Fire is a short-listed finalist for Novel of the Year in the 2014 Pulp Factory Awards. With John Ringer he writes and podcasts about Auburn sports for the War Eagle Reader and the War Eagle Sports Radio Network. His popular Sentinels superhero novels will appear beginning this year as audiobooks on and have been incorporated into reading programs for young people in libraries in several states. A two-time graduate of Auburn University, he lives near St Louis, MO, and is an associate professor at Southwestern Illinois College. His latest sports book is Decades of Dominance: Auburn Football in the Modern Era.

12:15-12:45, Log Cabin Tent

Amanda Porter is the author of The Shadow and The Forsaken, the first two books in the teen paranormal Darkness Trilogy. She is studying for an MFA in creative writing. Amanda’s first love is writing, but she likes to dabble in photography and crafting and to watch movies. She lives in Alabama with her husband, Billy, her stepson, Brenton, and their Yorkie, Harley. 10:00-10:30, Moulton House

Dan J. Puckett is an associate professor at Troy University, where he teaches modern European history. His work has appeared in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Southern Jewish History, and Alabama Heritage, among others. His book is In the Shadow of Hitler: Alabama Jews, the Second World War, and the Holocaust. He has been a Starkoff Fellow at the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and a Chancellor’s Fellow at Troy University. He was appointed to the Alabama Holocaust Commission by Governor Robert Bentley and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Southern Jewish Historical Society and the editorial Board of Southern Jewish History. 2:15-3:00, Log Cabin Tent

Wendy Reed wrote, produced and directed public TV programming and video productions for eleven years at the University of Alabama Center for Public Television and Radio. Her awards include, among others, two Emmys, a Unity Media Award, and fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Seaside Institute. She is one of today’s presenters for The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul.

4:00-4:45, Church

Charles Salzberg is the author of the Shamus Award nominated Swann’s Last Song and the sequel, Swann Dives In, as well as Devil in the Hole, which was named one of the Best Crime Novels of the Year by Suspense magazine. His next novel, Swann’s Lake of Despair, will be published in October. He is also the author of over 20 nonfiction books, including Soupy Sez: My Zany Life and Times, by Soupy Sez, and From Set Shot to Slam Dunk. He has been a Visiting Professor of Magazine at the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and teaches writing at The Writer’s Voice and the New York Writers Workshop, where he is a Founding Member.

11:30-12:00, South Tent

Ginger Sanders lives in Southside, AL, and is a Chaplain Coordinator with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team and a chaplain for local sheriff and police departments and the Etowah Baptist Association Disaster Team. She and her husband, Denny, have responded to many disasters such as tornados, floods and nature storms as well as the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings. Before becoming involved with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, she worked in banking for thirty-seven years and retired as vice-president of Heritage Bank in Boone County, KY. She has taught Sunday School and led numerous retreats and marriage seminars.  She is the author of He Goes Before Us: Stories from the Front Line, thirty-one  faith building stories of when Billy Graham chaplains have seen things only God could orchestrate. She has also written a children’s book, Round Eyes, based on their adopted Korean son’s realizing that he looked different than his parents.

1:45-2:15, Church

The Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul is an anthology of words and music. The first Shoe Burnin’ occurred on a cold winter’s night some years ago in Alabama; when the firewood ran out, a box of old shoes provided the assembled group of friends and artists with the fuel they needed to stock the hearth and share stories and songs late into the night. The bond forged that night began a tradition of fireside Shoe Burnin’s, and in remembrance, many stories and songs shared since have involved shoes — all the places they trod and the myriad experiences of those who wore them. “The Shoe Burnin’, Stories of Southern Soul” is a collection of those works. Several of the authors and musicians will present a lively program from the book as the capstone event of the day.

4:00-4:45, Church

Abraham Smith hails from Ladysmith, WI. He received his MFA in poetry from the University of Alabama and has authored four full-length poetry collections. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, jubilat, Fence, and Denver Quarterly, among others. His creative work has been recognized with fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. His poems are anthologized in a forthcoming Sidebrow anthology, in Tuscaloosa Writes This, and in Taos Poetry Circus: The '90's. His poetry performances are featured in a recent Huffington Post article, “Why Is Contemporary Poetry So Good?”. He winters as instructor of English at University of Alabama and summers as a farmhand at Hawks’ Highland Farm. He will emcee the Poetry Tent.

Shari Smith has been published in Thicket Magazine, Wildlife in North Carolina, Western North Carolina Magazine, the Draft Horse Journal, O.Henry Magazine, Abilene Living and Pinestraw Magazine. She is working on her first novel and a work of nonfiction, I am a Town. She is a contributor to The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul and will perform in The Shoe Burnin’ show today. 4:00-4:45, Church

Clifton Taulbert, chosen by CNN at the turn of the millennium to represent one of the many voices of community, is a native of the Mississippi Delta and grew up during the era of legal segregation. He has been a guest professor at Harvard University, the United States Air Force Academy, and the Darden School of Business. His first book (and motion picture) was Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored; twelve books have followed, including the Pulitzer-nominated The Last Train North, as well as the award-winning Eight Habits of the Heart, which garnered him a personal invitation from former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to speak to her peers and serves as the template for youth civility conversations throughout the Middle East via the Idaho Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial. Taulbert is the founder and president of the Building Community Institute, a human capital development company, and has delivered leadership training internationally, from NATO in Brussels to many of the continental congresses in Central America, as well as Lockheed Martin, Bank of America, the United States Department of Defense and school systems around the world. His awards and boards included literary recognition from the Library of Congress, the Jewish Humanitarian Award of the Year and the NAACP award for contribution to literature, the Tulsa Historical Society Board, Trustee for the University of Tulsa and a Director for ONB Bank of Tulsa. His latest memoir is The Invitation.

11:15-12:00, Church

Jeanie Thompson has published four collections of poetry and three chapbooks and co-edited The Remembered Gate: Memoirs by Alabama Writers, She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Alabama, where she was founding editor of the Black Warrior Review, and she has received Individual Artist fellowships from the Louisiana State Arts Council and the Alabama State Council on the Arts and was a Walter Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Writers Conference. Thompson is director of the award-winning Alabama Writers' Forum. She teaches in the Spalding University brief-residency M.F.A. Writing Program in Louisville, KY, and she curates the poetry tent and directs outreach for teachers and youth for the Alabama Book Festival.

10:45-11:30, Poetry Tent and 1:00-1:45, Log Cabin Tent

Jacqueline Trimble earned a Ph.D. at the University of Alabama and for thirty years has taught composition, American literature, African-American literature, women’s literature, creative writing, Southern literature, and critical theory. She chairs the Department of Languages and Literatures at Alabama State University. Trimble will moderate a discussion with Sena Jeter Naslund, as well as reading in the Poetry Tent. 11:45-12:15 Poetry Tent and 1:45-2:15, South Tent

Ruth Smith Truss received her Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and is professor of history, chair of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences and interim chair of the Department of Communication Science and Disorders at the University of Montevallo. She has published several journal articles and a book chapter on the topic of the Alabama National Guard. She is co-editor, with Sarah Woolfolk Wiggins, of The Journal of Sarah Haynsworth Gayle, 1827-1835: A Substitute for Social Intercourse. She and her husband live in Clanton, AL.  3:15-3:45, Log Cabin Tent

Wendelin Van Draanen has written more than thirty novels for young readers and teens. She is the author of the long running Edgar-winning Sammy Keyes series and two four-book series for younger readers (Shredderman and The Gecko & Sticky). She has written several standalone novels, including Flipped, which was named a Top 100 Children’s Novel for the 21st Century by SLJ and became a Warner Brothers feature film. She and her husband, Mark Huntley Parsons, a magazine writer and young adult book author, live in California with their two sons, two dogs, and two wild imaginations. They will discuss their books, the writing process, and how they’ve managed to share the same office for twenty years without bloodshed. 12:15-12:45, South Tent

Sue Brannan Walker, a native Alabamian, received an M.S. from the University of Alabama, and an M.Ed. and Ph.D. from Tulane University. She is the Stokes Distinguished Professor at the University of South Alabama, where she teaches creative writing and literature courses. She was the 2013 recipient of the Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinction in Literary Scholarship. Her recent critical book on James Dickey was awarded a National Mellen Award for distinguished contributions to scholarship for critical works published in 2013. She has published ten books of poetry, stories, and plays, and is currently the president of the Alabama Writers Conclave. She also founded a small, independent publishing house, Negative Capability. 1:15-2:15, Poetry Tent

Toby Warren lives in Auburn, AL, and serves veterans and their families and communities throughout Alabama in health, education, employment, homelessness, and faith by partnering with state agencies and nonprofit organizations. His book, My Dear Boy, Jack, about the correspondence between Jack, a young polio victim, and George Washington Carver, is the first in his new Leadership for the Soul series.

12:15-12:45, Church

Horace Randall Williams, an Alabama native, has researched and written extensively about civil rights, segregation, and slavery during three decades as a reporter, writer, editor, and publisher of newspapers, magazines, and books. He is the former managing editor of Southern Changes magazine and was the founding director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Klanwatch Project. He is co-owner and operator of NewSouth Books. He is also the author of the children’s books Johnnie Carr and W.E.B. DuBois and the editor of two of John F. Blair, Publisher’s slave narrative collections. Weren’t No Good Times: Personal Accounts of Slavery in Alabama is this year’s Student Readers Group selection, and the author will discuss the book with college and high school students who have been reading it. 9:00-9:45, Moulton House

Michael P. Wines is working his way through a master’s degree at Auburn University, studying rare and endangered reptiles and amphibians. He’s helped catch crocodiles in Costa Rica, pythons in Florida, alligators in Georgia, and cottonmouths in Alabama. He focuses on the Red Hills salamander (the Alabama state amphibian) and the Eastern Indigo snake. Before graduate school, he spent several years as a keeper at the Memphis Zoo, where he took care of the Komodo Dragons, venomous reptiles, spiders, giant tortoises, crocodilians, and a few fish and fuzzy critters. He was a recipient of the Crossroads Writer’s Scholarship. He has published several magazine articles, scientific papers, and a short story, and his tween novel is Stupid Alabama. 1:45-2:15, North Tent

See who's presented at past Festivals.