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News - February, 2005   

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Wayne Greenhaw to Receive Clarence Cason Award
by Katie Hines, University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences

Wayne Greenhaw, author, prize-winning journalist and Nieman Fellow, will receive the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction Writing on March 17 at a banquet in his honor at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Tuscaloosa.  

The journalism department established the Cason Award to honor exemplary nonfiction over a long career. Winners must be distinguished writers and have a connection to Alabama and the South. The award carries a cash prize of $3,000. 

“Wayne Greenhaw has made a living telling it like it is,” said Culpepper Clark, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences and chair of the Cason Award selection committee. “His unblinking analysis of George Wallace, when Wallace was still a phenomenon, alone would justify his inclusion among the Cason award winners. But as always with Wayne, there is so much more. It was an easy call for the selection committee.” 

Born in Sheffield, Ala., in 1940, Greenhaw studied writing at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and later under Hudson Strode at the University of Alabama. He worked for The Tuscaloosa News and The Alabama Journal in Montgomery and was as a Neiman Fellow at Harvard in 1972-73. In the 1980s, he was the editor and publisher of Alabama Magazine, and later was a columnist for the Montgomery Advertiser and The Alabama Journal.

He has published several hundred articles in regional, national and international publications, including The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly and Reader's Digest. He has also published 17 books of fiction and nonfiction. His nonfiction works include Watch Out for George Wallace, My Heart is in the Earth: True Stores of Alabama and Mexico, and Montgomery: The River City.

His 18th book, The Thunder of Angels: The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the People who Broke the Back of Jim Crow, will be published in September.  

Greenhaw and his wife Sally live in Montgomery and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.  

“Of course, I am delighted and honored to be selected to receive the Clarence Cason Award,” Greenhaw said. “To be in the company of the previous winners, many of whom are my friends, gives me a particularly great feeling. I have worked long and hard and even now continue to write daily — a habit I started many years ago.” 

Don Noble, UA professor and Cason Award selection committee member, says it’s a habit that has paid off for Greenhaw. “I’m impressed by his commitment to his craft and sticking with it over a long period of time with a great number of books,” Noble said. “Wayne Greenhaw is a man of the world, but most of his nonfiction and fiction have dealt with Alabama subjects. He is really the quintessential Alabama writer.” 

The public is invited. Tickets are $50. The event will begin with a 6 p.m. reception, followed by dinner, the awards program and Greenhaw’s address. For more information, call the College of Communication and Information Sciences Dean’s Office, 205-348-4787. To order tickets to the banquet, send name, address, phone number, e-mail address and your check or money order by March 11, to Sheila Davis, C&IS, Box 870172, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.

Ron Rash Wins the O. Henry Prize

Ron Rash, the Parris Distinguished Professor of Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University, has been named the recipient of a prestigious O. Henry Prize for 2005.

Rash received the award for his short story "Speckled Trout," published in the spring 2003 edition of The Kenyon Review. His is one of 20 stories selected for the prize from more than 1,000 submitted by magazine editors from across North America.

The prize is named in honor of William Sidney Porter, who adopted the pseudonym of O. Henry. A fiction writer with an illustrious life, O. Henry penned many of his stories in prison. When he was released from prison, he was invited to New York where he continued to write for the next eight years until his death in 1910.

Among past winners of the O. Henry Prize are such influential writers as Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Thurber, James Baldwin, Woody Allen, Alice Walker and Stephen King.

Rash's "Speckled Trout" will be published along with other prize-wining stories in a collection titled The O. Henry Prize Stories 2005 by Anchor Books. Laura Furman, an award- winning novelist, short-story writer and essayist, is editor of the collection.

Book Deals

Charles J. Shields' Mockingbird, the first-ever biography of Harper Lee, the reclusive one-book Southern author of the most popular novel of the 20th century which also became an Academy Award winning film starring Gregory Peck, has been sold to George Hodgman at Henry Holt & Co., at auction, by Jeff Kleinman at Graybill & English (North American rights only).

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Carry Me Home, Diane McWhorter's Rocket City USA, recounting how the elite of Hitler's rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, became heroes of the Cold War by designing and building the rockets that took Americans to the Moon -- in Huntsville, Alabama, deep in the Jim Crow South of the 1960s, to Webster Younce at Houghton Mifflin, by Charlotte Sheedy (North American rights).

DiCamillo's Dog Tale Comes to the Big Screen

Newbery Medal author Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn Dixie is now a feature film. The story of a Florida preacher's daughter who befriends a stray mutt, is being used to inspire other stories of children and animals. The RIF "I Love My Pet" Writing Contest is open to writers age five to fifteen.


Steel Magnolias on Broadway

Playwright Robert Harling's story based on his sister is opening on Broadway after a long-run on Off-Broadway and the feature film.

The cast includes Marsha Mason (Ouiser), Rebecca Gayheart (Shelby), Christine Ebersole (M'Lynn), Lily Rabe (Annelle), Frances Sternhagen (Clairee) and Delta Burke (Truvy). The production is directed by Jason Moore.

The show opens on April 4, 2005 at the Lyceum Theatre, previews begin on March 15, 2005.

Photo credit: Robert Diamond, founder and editor-in-chief of


Gore Vidal Civil War Play at Duke

Gore Vidal's On the March to the Sea premiere's this spring through the Theater Studies Department at Duke University. The new play, directed by Warner Shook, is being produced as a staged theatrical concert reading.

According to the announcement, "One of our nation's most respected authors delivers a ripping new tale set during one of America's darkest hours. At the height of the Civil War, Hinks, a Southern opportunist, christens his palatial new home and sends his sons off to war. But when the Union soldiers commandeer his estate, Hinks must choose between duty to his friends and the Confederacy or protecting his legacy."

On the March to the Sea runs from February 22 through March 6, 2005, at Reynolds Theater on the Duke campus.


Call for Papers
American Literature before 1900: Open Topic (Deadline: March 15, 2005)
Black Gay Men’s Anthology (Deadline: March 15th, 2005)
Panel Session Title: "Children's Literature: Life and Work" (Deadline: March 15, 2005)
In Cold Blood Reassessed (Deadline: March 15, 2005)
Southern Women Writers and the World (Deadline: March 31, 2005)
American Studies Conference: Identity, Assimilation, Ethnicity (Deadline: April 4, 2005)
Southern Writers, Southern Writing (Deadline: May 6, 2005)
CrossRoads: A Southern Culture Annual, Volume Three (Deadline: June 30, 2005)
Faulkner and Whiteness (Deadline: September 24, 2005)
Zora Neale Huston Festival (Deadline: none)
Southern Writers' Project (Deadline: none)
Fred Bonnie First Novel Contest (Deadline: April 30, 2005)
Robert Penn Warren Centennial Prize (Deadline: August 15, 2005)
News from Past Issues
2005: 01
2004: 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01
2003: 12 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01
2002: 11 10 09  08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01

2001: 12 11 10 09 08  07 06 05 04 03 02 01 
2000: 12 11  10  09  08 


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