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Thursday, June 4th, 2009 by

The State Arts Council recently honored Kathryn Tucker Windham and seven other artists for their influence on the arts and culture of Alabama. In the elegant concert hall of the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, Mrs. Windham accepted the “Alabama Living Legacy Award” for her long career in journalism, fiction writing, and storytelling. Mrs. Windham’s contributions give shape to the modern Southern identity, from her fight for acceptance as a female journalist to her active support of Selma in the 1950s to today, to her storytelling and preservation of Southern lore.

To honor Mrs. Windham, the State Arts Council arranged for her close friend, folk artist Charlie Lucas, speak about his experiences with her as his neighbor. The soft guitar pickings of Bobby Horton were a good backdrop for Mr. Lucas’s warm, funny tribute. Both Lucas and Horton expressed the love and reverence all Alabamians feel for Ms. Windham and her stories.

This year, NewSouth published Mrs. Windham’s newest book, the memoir Spit, Scarey Ann and Sweat Bees: One Thing Leads to Another. The book offers glimpses of Mrs. Windham’s early years growing up with her mother and storytelling father, as well as a mischievous older brother. As readers, we see for the first time how this quintessential Southern storyteller came to be the woman we know today as Kathryn Tucker Windham.

Spit, Scarey Ann, and Sweat Bees is available directly from NewSouth Books, Amazon.com, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

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