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. The Forum is funded by the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

2019 Winner
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.

2018 Winner
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.

2017 Winner
Brad Watson

The recipient of numerous honors and distinctions, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and appointment as lecturer in fiction at Harvard University, Brad Watson received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and has worked as a reporter and editor for state newspapers, including The Montgomery Advertiser. He is currently an associate professor in the creative writing program at the University of Wyoming. Watson’s first novel, The Heaven of Mercury was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2002 and won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction. His most recent novel, Miss Jane was longlisted for the National Book Award.

Harper Lee Award Winners

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

2019 Winner
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.

2018 Winner
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.

2017 Winner
Kirk Curnutt

Kirk Curnutt is professor and chair of English at Troy University. He is the author of fourteen books, including three novels, the most recent of which, Raising Aphrodite, was published in 2015. Most of his scholarly work has focused on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein. A long-time member of the boards of the Ernest Hemingway Foundation and Society, the International F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, and the Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery, he has also served as co-director of the Alabama Book Festival.

Eugene Current-Garcia Award

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

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.

2017 Winner
Michael Knight

Michael Knight's collection of linked short stories titled
Eveningland, is the winner of the 2017 Truman Capote Award and has been selected as an Okra Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association. He is also the author of two novels (Divining Rod and The Typist), two more collections of short stories (Dogfight and Other Stories, Goodnight, Nobody) and a book of novellas (The Holiday Season). His fiction has appeared in magazines and journals like The New Yorker, Oxford American, The Paris Review, Ploughshares and The Southern Review. Formerly of Mobile, he lives in Knoxville with his wife and two daughters and teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee.

Truman Capote
Prize Winners

Monroeville Literary Festival

2800 S Alabama Ave
Monroeville, AL 36460

A Project of Coastal Alabama Community College

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