Monday, March 12th, 2012 by

On March 1, the University of Alabama’s journalism department presented NewSouth writer Frye Gaillard with the Clarence Cason Award. Gaillard is the third NewSouth author in a row to win the prize, following Rheta Grimsley Johnson and Clyde Bolton. The award honors nonfiction that contributes to a greater understanding of the South.

A native of Mobile, Alabama, Frye Gaillard has published numerous works, including Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America, which won the Lillian Smith Award, and Watermelon Wine: The Spirit of Country Music, republished by NewSouth Books for its twenty-fifth anniversary. In 2002, he won the NAACP’s Humanitarian award for his writing on civil rights. Gaillard is currently writer in residence at the University of South Alabama.

At the awards ceremony, Gaillard shared a few words about eye-opening experiences during his career. One profound instance involved interviewing the father of a girl murdered in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham and discovering the father’s remarkable sense of forgiveness. Another memorable, but very different, moment occurred while writing the biography of a NASCAR driver, who surprised Gaillard with his passion for reading.

NewSouth will publish Gaillard’s The Books That Mattered: A Reader’s Memoir this fall. Watermelon Wine is available from NewSouth Books,, or your favorite retail or online bookseller. Gaillard is also a contributor to the collection American Crisis, Southern Solutions: From Where We Stand, Promise and Peril.