Archive for July, 2008

In the Company of Owls Author Peter Huggins Discusses Place in Writing

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 by Ashley

Peter Huggins, author of the forthcoming Junebug young adult novel In the Company of Owls, was recently featured in the video segment “Where are you from?” on the This Goodly Land website.

In the video, Huggins discusses our need as people to have a sense of origin and place. He asserts, “Without this [awareness of] place, we have no sense of who we are — no identity.” Though he was born in Mississippi and grew up mostly in New Orleans, Huggins recites in the video his poem “An Airfield in Alabama” about his father training to be a fighter pilot in WWII, from his second poetry collection Blue Angels, to give an example of a literary piece that “without an awareness of place […] would not and could not get off the ground.” Huggins notes that without such tributes to one’s place and origin, “We would pass over the landscape existing only for a short period of time and leave no mark or record of our passing.”

The This Goodly Land website, developed by the Alabama Center for the Book, catalogues and celebrates Alabama’s rich literary traditions, including a map of Alabama’s literary landscape. See the video of Peter Huggins at The Goodly Land website.

Huggins’s In the Company of Owls tells of young Aaron Cash, who discovers an illegal still on his neighbor Morgan’s property. When Aaron’s family refuses to sell their land, Morgan resorts to increasingly threatening acts, leading to a final confrontation in which Aaron must make the most difficult decision of his life. With woodcut illustrations by Paula Goodman Koz, In the Company of Owls is a brilliant Southern family story.

In the Company of Owls is now available for order from NewSouth Books, or your favorite local or online book retailer. In the Company of Owls will arrive in stores in August 2008

Southern Living Says Texans are Reading Fire Ants

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 by Ashley

Southern Living magazine includes NewSouth author Gerald Duff’s short story collection Fire Ants as one of the books Texans are reading in their August 2008 issue. In their “Texas Living” section, the magazine notes:

Earlier this year the Texas Institute of Letters named this collection of stories as a finalist for Best Book of Fiction of 2007. Gerald writes with such passion about his native land—the Texas Gulf Coast—along with other cities such as Memphis and Baltimore. His stories are set in time periods ranging from distant past to present. These may be the only fire ants you’ll ever love.

Fire Ants is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite online and local booksellers.

Alabama Literary Map This Goodly Land Spotlights NewSouth Authors

Monday, July 28th, 2008 by Brian Seidman

This Goodly Land - Alabama's Literary Landscape

Rheta Grimsley Johnson, award-winning author of Poor Man’s Provence, is just one of many NewSouth authors profiled on the Alabama Center for the Book’s This Goodly Land: Alabama’s Literary Landscape website.

The Alabama Center for the Book’s This Goodly Land project features an interactive map where you can search Alabama’s vast literary landscape by county or author. The Alabama Center for the Book hopes that this project will not only serve as a celebration of Alabama’s tradition of quality literature, but also encourage state-wide literacy and spur up-and-coming Alabamian authors to great literary heights. Selected by a committee of experts on Alabama literature, over one hundred authors are currently featured on the website with new detailed profiles of other Alabama authors added periodically.

Other NewSouth authors profiled include John Beecher, Virginia Pounds Brown, Oxford Stroud, Sue Walker, and Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Visit This Goodly Land at

Poor Man’s Provence Reviewed in Decatur Daily

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 by Ashley

Loretta Gillespie of The Decatur Daily has reviewed Poor Man’s Provence, popular syndicated columnist and NewSouth author Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s account of her life in Cajun Louisiana. Gillespie describes Johnson’s storytelling as “both humorous and heartwarming” and praises Johnson’s evocation of the sights, sounds, and “colorful characters” that pepper this text. Gillespie, too, notes the honest quality of Johnson’s narrative.

In the article, Gillespie writes that “[Johnson] doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that there is much to be improved on in her beloved Henderson, but rather tells the good with the bad, and professes to have learned more about herself than she has about her Cajun friends. She counts it as a privilege to live among them.” Gillespie concludes, “This is a wonderful book, told by a master storyteller, in a manner as down to earth as the people she writes about.”

Read the full review at the Decatur Daily website. Loretta Gillespie’s website is

Poor Man’s Provence is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite online and local booksellers.

Warren Trest and Governor Patterson Interviewed on Tapestry

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 by Ashley

NewSouth author Warren Trest and former Alabama Governor John Patterson were featured on the Tapestry radio program on May 29, 2008. They spoke about Trest’s new biography of Patterson Nobody But the People: The Life and Times of Alabama’s Youngest Governor which one reviewer calls “a thoroughly readable and fair-minded account of John Patterson’s career, which was one of the most important in Alabama’s recent history.”

In the interview, Trest describes Patterson’s father, noting that “there was no more principled man than Albert Patterson.” Indeed, Trest focuses in the biography on Albert Patterson’s death as the turning point in both the political and personal life of the former governor.

Also in the interview, Patterson discusses the political and social climate in regards to public school segregation into which he stepped as a political candidate. Moreover, Patterson reflects on his own civil rights record — what he considers to be the greatest failure of his political tenure: “I believe that I was in a position to really do something to bring the black community into the political process to really do something to bring the black community into the political process and by registering people to vote. I believe that I could have done that and I regret very much that I didn’t do that.” Patterson goes on to assert, “If you get the power to vote in the hands of the people, everything else comes along.”

Listen to the full interview at the Tapestry website.

Nobody But the People: The Life and Times of Alabama’s Youngest Governor is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Wade Hall’s One Man’s Lincoln Now Playing at Kentucky Repertory Theatre

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 by Ashley

One Man’s Lincoln, a one-act, one-man play by NewSouth author Wade Hall is now playing at the Kentucky Repertory Theatre in Horse Cave, Kentucky. One Man’s Lincoln is based on Abraham Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life, a biography co-authored by Lincoln’s long-time law partner Billy Herndon shortly after Lincoln’s assassination; the play is told from Herndon’s perspective. The production is being sponsored by the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission as a part of the state’s two-year celebration of the venerated president and will run shows in both 2008 and 2009.

The stage version of Wade Hall‘s book Conecuh People is also presented at the Red Door Theater in Union Springs, Alabama, the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May each year. Union Springs offers “Conecuh People … The Experience,” which includes tours, an art exhibit, dinner, and the play, and was chosen as one of the 50 ‘Must See” events by the Alabama Bureau of Tourism & Travel in 2007.

Just as Wade’s book Conecuh People presents an intimate collection of oral history interviews that captures the lives of the residents of Bullock County, Alabama, the play Conecuh People tells of one boy’s coming of age in 1950s Alabama, surrounded by those same residents profiled in the book.

Wade Hall, a retired professor of English, has taught at colleges and universities in Florida and Kentucky and is the author of many books, monographs, poems, and plays about the South and its people. A native of Union Springs, Alabama, he holds degrees from Troy State University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Illinois. He lives near Union Springs, Alabama.

Conecuh People is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.