Archive for February, 2021

So that every schoolchild in Alabama is familiar with the story of Benjamin Turner, a word about The Slave Who Went to Congress GoFundMe campaign

Thursday, February 25th, 2021 by Suzanne La Rosa

Benjamin Sterling Turner was enslaved in Alabama. Despite obstacles and hardship, Turner would overcome the odds and teach himself to read as a child. That literacy paved the way for Turner to become a successful businessman during the Civil War and the first African American representative in Congress for Alabama during Reconstruction. His story, one of bravery, perseverance, and dedication, has inspired some of Alabama’s most important figures, including Representative Terri Sewell. Rep. Sewell, in a visit to a Selma elementary school classroom, remarked that she stands on Turner’s shoulders. During that very visit, Rep. Sewell donated a copy of NewSouth’s illustrated children’s book about Turner, entitled The Slave Who Went to Congress, to every child in that school’s fourth grade. Inspired by her generosity, the authors of that book, Frye Gaillard and Marti Rosner, in partnership with NewSouth Books have launched a GoFundMe campaign designed to gift a copy of The Slave Who Went to Congress to every public elementary school in Alabama.


Turner’s story is told for children for the very first time in The Slave Who Went to Congress, a beautifully illustrated picture book that movingly describes Turner’s challenges and achievements. Few are the books about Turner. This true inspirational tale, lauded by many since its publication, will resonate with young readers, particularly those from marginalized and underserved communities. Thus was born the idea of crowdfunding the donation of copies to schools across the state. Please take a moment to consider supporting our campaign with your personal donation, and help empower a new generation of kids with the gift.

Dr. Alan Gribben, Twain scholar and longtime NewSouth collaborator, wins 2021 Eugene Current-Garcia Award

Friday, February 5th, 2021 by Matthew Byrne
The Eugene Current-Garcia Award for Distinguished Literary Scholar, named for the founding editor of the Southern Humanities Review, is a recognition sponsored annually by the Association of College English Teachers of Alabama. The award is given to notable scholars with Alabama roots or those who have made significant contributions to the study of the984b14_67dd9150e5d94a69b0399ada75adfdad_mv2 literary arts in Alabama. In terms of literary achievements in the state of Alabama, there is none as great as the Eugene Current-Garcia. It’s for these reasons that we are proud to announce that Dr. Alan Gribben has been selected for the award in 2021.
Dr. Alan Gribben’s achievements in the study of American literature are indisputable. A college educator for over four decades, Gribben’s devotion to the literary arts has led him to positions at three universities: University of California at Berkeley (1972–1976), University of Texas at Austin (1974–1991), and Auburn University at Montgomery (1991–2019). While teaching Gribben has contributed to scholarship particularly in the field of Twain studies as the former editor and publisher of the Mark Twain Journal (2009 to 2020). The co-founder of the Mark Twain Circle of America, Gribben has written numerous articles on Twain for journals such as Studies in American Humor and Western American Literature. His personal publications include Mark Twain on the Move and Harry Huntt Ransom: Intellect in Motion. In 2011, Gribben collaborated with NewSouth Books on landmark editions of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, editions that excised the racial slurs in those books for those unable to teach the novels without that change. These volumes have proven immensely valuable in ensuring Twain’s books remain on curricula in high schools and colleges.
Dr. Gribben’s scholarly efforts may have culminated in his recently published masterwork, Mark Twain’s Literary Resources, a project forty years in the research and writing. Volume I recreates Twain’s library in an effort to understand the creative inspirations for his work. Praise for Mark Twain’s Literary Resources has come from many quarters, including internationally, and includes this recent quote from Bruce Michelson of the University of Illinois, published in the Mark 72ppi 343-MTLR jacket v301Twain Annual: “The scope of his achievement, a project spanning half a century, will be self-evident to anyone who looks into Mark Twain’s life, work, and cultural adventures with any measure of seriousness.” Long assumed in the popular understanding to have been an unread and simple man, Samuel Clemens is proven to be a voracious and wide-ranging reader in Gribben’s amazing book. Volumes II and III of Mark Twain’s Literary Resources will be available from NewSouth Books in Fall 2021.
Our heartiest and warmest congratulations to Dr. Gribben for his winning of the Eugene Current-Garcia Award, a recognition he shares with fellow NewSouth authors Kirk Curnutt (All of the Belles), Frye Gaillard (A Hard Rain), and Sue Brannan Walker (It’s Good Weather for Fudge). We look forward to following Dr. Gribben’s contributions deep into his well-earned retirement.