Archive for the 'In the Company of Owls' Category

Hats Off to Alabama Public Libraries

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

Not enough gets said about the good job many public libraries do in serving their communities with events programming. Alabama has quite a few that deserve recognition, many of which have hosted programs featuring NewSouth Books authors in the last few years. To name just a few who’ve partnered with us recently: the B.B. Comer Memorial Public Library in Sylacauga; the Ashland City Public Library; the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library; the Pell City Public Library; the Adelia McConnell Russell Library in Alex City; the Birmingham Public Library; the Selma-Dallas County Public Library; and the Mobile Public Library.

Our new favorite library is the Bradshaw Public Library in Valley, Alabama. Several NewSouth authors have enjoyed good audiences there as part of its “Lunch and Learn” series. On November 21, Peter Huggins spoke about his new young adult novel In the Company of Owls and talked about the process of creating a book. Adult Programs Coordinator John Tidwell said of Huggins’s presentation, “In the Company of Owls, a very exciting book for all family members, was excellent! We will probably ask you to schedule Peter for a return engagement.”

On December 4, former Alabama governor John Patterson and historian Warren Trest discussed Nobody But the People, a biography offering new insights and rich details into the life of this significant Southern politician. The crowd of almost a hundred people greatly enjoyed meeting Gov. Patterson and hearing his personal story. Mr. Tidwell observed, “The presentations by Governor Patterson and Warren Trest fascinated our Lunch and Learn group. So much so that they kept them answering questions twenty minutes after the program was scheduled to end! This was indeed a rarity! We were well-pleased.” This must be true, because a reprise program featuring Governor Patterson and Warren Trest is being planned for March or April of next year.

About his experiences, NewSouth author Warren Trest had this to say: “The Valley librarians were fantastic hosts — and top of the mark in every way.”  We couldn’t agree more.

The fruitful partnership between NewSouth and the Bradshaw Library will continue when Ted Dunagan speaks about his young adult novel A Yellow Watermelon on February 20, and when Rev. Robert Graetz discusses his memoir A White Preacher’s Message On Race and Reconciliation on February 27. These noontime programs will be highlights of the library’s Black History Month observation.

In the Company of Owls, Nobody But the People, A Yellow Watermelon, and A White Preacher’s Message on Race and Reconciliation are available directly from NewSouth Books, or your favorite local or online book retailer.

SCBWI Southern Breeze Authors Release New Books From NewSouth

Friday, August 29th, 2008 by Lisa Harrison

NewSouth Books’ Junebug Books imprint recently published two new titles by Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) members: In the Company of Owls by Peter Huggins, and Space by Roger Reid. These books join Reid’s 2005 title Longleaf and A Yellow Watermelon by Ted Dunagan as the latest works by Southern SCBWI chapter Southern Breeze authors to be released from NewSouth.

In the Company of Owls tells an exciting story of courage and the triumph of family loyalty in the face of danger. After Aaron Cash and his father discover their neighbor Morgan Blackburn’s illegal still, Blackburn resorts to increasingly violent acts to force the Cash family to sell their land. Aaron must ultimately use his wits–and his BB gun–to defend his family, an act that leaves both Aaron and the reader to consider its many implications. Of In the Company of Owls, poet Tony Crunk writes, “[Aaron’s] story, and Huggins’s graceful telling of it, sneak up as quietly as a spring shower, but startle as fiercely as a copperhead strike.”

In Space, fourteen-year-old Jason is recruited by his cantankerous friend Stephen to help find which of a group of gathered scientists killed Stephen’s father. Adding to the suspense is a mysterious Man in a Red Flannel Shirt who keeps appearing wherever Jason happens to be. In the climactic scene, Jason uses his scientific knowledge to escape a pursuing gunman in the woods surrounding the real-life Conrad Swanson Observatory. Graham Salisbury says of Space, “Another Roger Reid winner for young mystery lovers. Space is packed with fascinating science, action, compelling story questions, and an ending that rockets off the page. Loved it!”

Southern Breeze named author Ted Dunagan’s A Yellow Watermelon, published earlier this year, a “Soaring Success.” In the best Southern literary tradition, A Yellow Watermelon explores poverty and racial segregation through the eyes of an innocent boy; Ted Dillon wanders through the cotton fields, streams, churches, whiskey stills and his own heart and mind as he struggles with the hypocrisy and wonders of his small world, amid the lingering effects of the Great Depression. Yet with beguiling prose and an ear for the way people speak, the author brings to life a story so engaging and heartfelt that it will resonate with young and old. Kirkus Reviews calls A Yellow Watermelon “a memorable, generous-hearted tale.”

NewSouth Books is a general trade publisher based in Montgomery, Alabama, with a growing list of fine literary fiction–for adults and young adults–and non-fiction.

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