Alabama Writers Awards

The presentations of the Alabama Writers Awards is a highlight of the Monroeville Literary Festival.  The recipient of the Harper Lee Award (named after the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird) is selected through a process coordinated by the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary arts organization funded by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The recipient of the Eugene Current- Garcia Award is selected by the Association of College Teachers of Alabama (ACETA), a diverse organization representing faculty at all of Alabama’s two-year, four-year, and doctoral institutions. Both awards are funded by the generous sponsorship of Mr. George F. Landegger. The Truman Capote Prize for Alabama's Distinguished Writer of Literary Non-Fiction or the Short Story is awarded by a selection committee chaired by Dr. Don Noble of Tuscaloosa. This award is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ms. Dianne Lawson Baker.

The Harper Lee Award
For Alabama's Distinguished Writer

The Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer is awarded each year at the Monroeville Literary Festival, hosted by Coastal Alabama Community College in Monroeville. The annual award recognizes the lifetime achievement of a writer who was born in Alabama or whose literary career developed in the state. The recipient is selected through a process coordinated by the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary arts organization founded in appreciation of Alabama’s strong literary heritage with a commitment to its continuation. 

Patti Callahan Henry

A New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels including the critically-acclaimed historical novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, Patti Callahan Henry is also a USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Globe and Mail bestseller. Henry hosts the popular seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launched in October 2019. She is also the recipient of The Christy Award — A 2019 Winner "Best Book of the Year."


Henry’s novels include Losing the Moon; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming Up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love, The Bookshop at Water’s End, Becoming Mrs. Lewis (written as Patty Callahan), and The Favorite Daughter. In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released.


Other awards for her fiction include a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has been published in numerous languages, and her articles and essays have appeared in Southern Living, PINK, Writer’s Digest, Garden and Gun, Portico Magazine, Love Magazine (UK), Red Magazine (UK), Atlanta Journal, Birmingham Magazine, and more. Her essays can also be found in anthologies and collections such as Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy; Southern Writers Writing, and State of the Heart.

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Daniel Wallace

Daniel Wallace is the author of five novels. His first, Big Fish, was made into
a motion picture of the same name by Tim Burton in 2003, and a musical
version on Broadway in 2013. He is a contributing editor to Garden & Gun magazine and is the J. Ross MacDonald Distinguished Professor of
English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where he teaches and
directs the Creative Writing Program.

Honorée Jeffers

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers was born in 1967 and grew up in Durham, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. She attended the University of Alabama. Her work examines culture, religion, race, and family. She is the author of numerous books of poetry and has published several works of prose. The recipient of honors from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the MacDowell Colony, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund for Women, Jeffers teaches creative writing at the University of Oklahoma where she is an associate professor of English.

Harper Lee Award Winners

2009 - Rick Bragg
2010 - Carolyn Haines
2011 - Winston Groom
2012 - Fannie Flagg
2013 - Gay Talese
2014 - Mark Childress
2015 - Hank Lazer
2016 - E.O. Wilson
2017 - Brad Watson
2018 - Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
2019 - Daniel Wallace

2020 - Patti Callahan Henry


The Eugene Current-Garcia Award
For Alabama's Distinguished Literary Scholar

The Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Alabama's Distinguished Literary Scholar is selected annually by the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama. It is awarded to notable scholars with Alabama roots, or who have made significant contributions to the study of the literary arts in Alabama. It is named in memory of the founding editor of the Southern Humanities Review, Eugene Current-Garcia.

Robert Evans

Author of eight books and hundreds of articles, Dr. Evans’s prolific literary scholarship has advanced the field of Renaissance Studies. Over the years, Dr. Evans has been the recipient of numerous research fellowships and has served as an editor for several journals and more than forty books. Although his scholarship began with a focus on Ben Johnson, his research at the Yale library in 1993 recovered a lost Renaissance author, Martha Moulsworth – a discovery that garnered the attention of the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the inclusion of her poem in two of Norton’s anthologies of literature. Over the years, Dr. Evans’ scholarly inquiry has expanded to include work on Kate Chopin, Flannery O’Connor, Harper Lee, and most recently, Ralph Ellison.

Just as notable, however, has been his commitment to students, not only as an admired professor, but also as a mentor to more than a hundred graduate students and student writers. While at AUM, he has received numerous awards, including the Faculty Excellence Award, Distinguished Research Professor, Distinguished Teaching Professor, Who’s Who among College Professors nomination, and Professor of the Year by the South Atlantic Association of Departments of English.

Christopher Metress

Christopher Metress has published more than one hundred essays and
reviews in such journals as the South Atlantic Quarterly, the Southern
Review, the African-American Review, and Studies in the Novel, as well as in
collections such as The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture and The
Cambridge Companion to American Civil Rights Literature. He has published
six books, including The Lynching of Emmett Till, a university press bestseller
that was featured in news stories in the Washington Post, the New York
Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Nation magazine. He is a
University Professor at Samford University.

David Cowart

Author of eight scholarly books and over a hundred articles, notes, and reviews, David Cowart is the Louise Fry Scudder Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He has
held NEH fellowships and Fulbright Distinguished Chairs at the University of Helsinki and the
University of Southern Denmark. A native of Tuscaloosa, Cowart was graduated from Huntsville High School and the University of
Alabama before taking graduate degrees at Indiana University and Rutgers. He also served in both
the Peace Corps (Ethiopia) and the U. S. Army (Republic of Panama).For his book Don DeLillo: The Physics of Language, he received the 2003 SAMLA Award.

Eugene Current-Garcia Award

2009 - John Hafner
2010 - Ralph Voss
2011 - David Sauer
2012 - William A. Ulmer
2013 - Sue Brannan Walker
2014 - Wayne Flynt
2015 - Eric Sterling
2016 - Frye Gaillard
2017 - Kirk Curnutt
2018 - David Cowart
2019 - Christopher Metress

2020 - Robert Evans


The Truman Capote Prize 
For Distinguished Work in the
Short Story or Literary Non-Fiction

Charles Gaines

Charles Gaines was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the age of ten moved with his family to Birmingham. He received his undergraduate degree from Birmingham-Southern College. His first novel, Stay Hungry, was published in 1972 and focused on the subculture of bodybuilding during the early 1970s. The book was made into a motion picture in 1976 starring Jeff Bridges, Sally Field and, Arnold Schwarzenegger (in his first film). An award-winning writer across multiple genres, Gaines has written other produced screenplays and adaptations, other fiction and numerous articles about fishing and outdoor life in magazines including Outside and Garden and Gun. In 1980, with his friend Hayes Noel, he became a co-creator of the game of paintball. Gaines is a 2018 inductee of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

2019 Winner
BJ Hollars

B.J. Hollars is the author of several books, most recently The Road South:
Personal Stories of the Freedom Riders, Flock Together: A Love Affair With
Extinct Birds, From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us About Life,
Death, and Being Human, as well as a collection of essays, This Is Only A
Test. Additionally, he has also written Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the
Last Lynching in America, Opening the Doors: The Desegregation of the
University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa,
Dispatches from the Drownings: Reporting the Fiction of Nonfiction, and
Sightings. Hollars serves as a mentor for Creative Nonfiction, and the
founder and executive director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

2018 Winner
Michelle Richmond

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of five novels and two story collections. Her
latest novel, The Marriage Pact, has been published in 30 languages and received the Palle Rosenkrantz
Prize for the Best Crime Novel published in Denmark. Her latest story collection is Hum, winner of the
Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize.
. She has received the
Hillsdale Award for Fiction from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Mississippi Review Fiction Prize, and has served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Bowling Green State University, St. Mary’s College of Moraga, and Notre Dame de Namur University. She has also taught in the MFA programs in creative writing
at The University of San Francisco and California College of the Arts.  A native of Mobile and a graduate of the University of Alabama, she makes her home in Northern California.

Truman Capote
Prize Winners

2016 - Marlin Barton

2017 - Michael Knight

2018 - Michelle Richmond
2019 - BJ Hollars

2020 - Charles Gaines