Archive for July, 2009

Bob Zellner’s Wrong Side of Murder Creek Wins Lillian Smith Book Award

Monday, July 20th, 2009 by Andrew

The Southern Regional Council in conjunction with the University of Georgia Libraries recently named NewSouth author Bob Zellner a recipient of the 2009 Lillian Smith Book Award for his civil rights memoir The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.

The Wrong Side of Murder Creek chronicles Zellner’s lifetime of civil rights activism, from his childhood as the son and grandson of Klansmen to field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In the early 1960s he joined ranks with the black students who were sitting-in, marching, fighting, and sometimes dying to challenge the southern “way of life” he had been raised on but rejected. Still involved in activism, Zellner currently lives and teaches in New York state.

Presented by the Southern Regional Council since 1968, and jointly with the University of Georgia Libraries since 2004, the Lillian Smith Book Awards honors those authors who, through their outstanding writing about the American South, carry on Smith’s legacy of elucidating the condition of racial and social inequity and proposing a vision of justice and human understanding. Awards are presented for works of fiction and non-fiction, and previous winners include such celebrated novelists as Alice Walker, Pat Conroy, and Cormac McCarthy.

This year’s awards ceremony will be held on September 6, at 2:30 p.m. in Decatur, Georgia during the annual Decatur Book Festival.

The Wrong Side of Murder Creek is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

NewSouth Books to Publish Adventures of Tom Sawyer for National Endowment for the Arts’ Alabama Big Read

Monday, July 20th, 2009 by Suzanne La Rosa

It doesn’t happen often, according to Molly Thomas-Hicks at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), that a regionally based publishing house is selected to publish a work for its Big Read program. So NewSouth Books was especially honored to learn that it had been named to publish The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for the 2010 Alabama Big Read.

Sincere thanks go to the NEA and to many folks in Alabama for identifying NewSouth as the publisher of choice, including Patty A. Pilkerton at UAB’s Mervyn H. Sterne Library, Jay Lamar, director of the Caroline Marshall Draughon Center for the Arts and Humanities at Pebble Hill, and to all nine Alabama Big Read regional coordinators. NewSouth’s edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is unabridged and annotated, carries a foreword by local Twain scholar Alan Gribben, and includes the NEA Reader’s Guide.

The book will be available for purchase in trade cloth and paperback in August 2009.

Jackie Matte Talks MOWA Band of Choctaws with University of Alabama Birmingham Magazine

Sunday, July 19th, 2009 by Andrew

The Birmingham News and the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s weekly magazine recently featured Jacqueline Matte, historian and NewSouth author of They Say the Wind is Red: The Alabama Choctaw — Lost in Their Own Land.

The articles center on Matte’s combined efforts with UAB anthropologist Loretta Cormier to validate the existence of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. The MOWA Band of Choctaws, who remained hidden in the face of forced relocation to Oklahoma during the nineteenth century, are currently struggling to gain recognition from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Despite being recognized by the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs in 1991, the BIA has continuously denied MOWA petitions for federal recognition.

In the UAB piece, Cormier discusses how Matte’s work helped her get started. Cormier said, “I wanted to know something about local Indians in the area, so I went to the library and saw Jackie’s book. I gave her a call, and we met and just clicked. She put me to work immediately.”

Read full articles from The Birmingham News and The University of Alabama at Birmingham at their links.

Jacqueline Matte holds master’s degrees in History and Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a B.S. from Samford University. Matte first contacted the MOWA Choctaw in 1980 while researching her first book, and now holds the title of Tribal Historian. Matte continues to spend her time with the MOWA Choctaw, also testifying as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearings for federal recognition of the Alabama Choctaw.

They Say the Wind is Red is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Dr. Regina Benjamin Named Surgeon General by Obama Administration, Profiled in American Crisis

Monday, July 13th, 2009 by Brian Seidman

Dr. Regina Benjamin — profiled by journalist Frye Gaillard in his essay in American Crisis, Southern Solutions: From Where We Stand, Promise and Peril — has been named the next surgeon general by President Barak Obama. Benjamin is an Alabama physician and, as president of the Alabama Medical Association, was the first female African America president of a state medical association.

On the occasion of Dr. Benjamin receiving a MacArthur Foundation award in 2008, Gaillard wrote, “It seemed to me that Dr. Benjamin’s story … offered powerful lessons for the health care industry during a time when so many people can’t afford what it offers.”

Read Gaillard’s full essay on Dr. Benjamin in American Crisis, Southern Solutions. The volume includes thoughtful, provocative essays from a dozen Southern writers, historians, business and labor-watchers, and philosophers, presenting suggestions for a fresh path America should follow in governance, international affairs, the environment, workplace security, freedom of the press, and immigration reform. They present “Southern solutions,” based upon southern experience, to a nation that has drifted far off course.

American Crisis, Southern Solutions is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

Roger Reid’s Space Rockets to Alabama Department of Ed’s Emphasis on Reading List

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 by Lisa Harrison

Space, the young adult novel by Roger Reid, has been named to the Alabama Department of Education’s Emphasis on Reading list for the school year 2009-2010. Mr. Reid was the only Alabama author to have a book so designated.

Criteria for the award include quality of writing, character development and appeal to young readers. Library media specialists vote to select titles that will be ultimately voted on by kids themselves. The children’s choices become those named to the final list. Books are selected in three grade level categories: K-1, 2-3, and 4-6. The list of 2009-2010 books can be found on the program website.

Space is set at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and blends an exciting mystery story with intriguing morsels of scientific facts about astronomy and America’s space program. The book is available from NewSouth Books, Amazon, or your favorite local or online book retailer.