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The Road to Healing’s Message of Reconciliation Reaches Thinkers from Virginia to Paris

Friday, June 21st, 2019 by Matthew Byrne

The discussion on reparations for slavery and civil rights violations in America has perhaps never reached such a fever pitch as it is during the 2020 election cycle. Just this week, 2020 nominee Cory Booker and author Ta-Nehisi Coates testified before Congress on the necessary justice that reparations would bring to the African American community and the lasting legacy that slavery has in America today. Joining this roiling discussion is Ken Woodley, former editor of the Farmville Herald in Virginia and author of The Road to Healing: A Civil Rights Reparations Story in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Woodley campaigned for civil rights reparations in Prince Edward County after learning that the county closed their public schools in reaction to the Brown vs Board decision. Woodley’s crusade resulted in a state-wide scholarship program for those who had their right to education taken from them, a victory that Julian Bond called the first real civil rights reparations in the United States. Since the release of his book in April, Woodley’s account has brought him into the international conversation on reparations. Woodley’s perspective has been featured on Joshua Johnson’s 1A; the Community Watch program on D.C.’s WPFW; Detroit Today; The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia; and The Richmond Times Dispatch. Woodley was also a guest of honor at a panel featuring former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder hosted by the Democratic Party of Virginia and held at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center in Richmond, Virginia. The panel is dedicated to Barbara Rose Johns, a community organizer in Prince Edward County and key figure in The Road to Healing. Woodley’s take on reparations was internationally considered in Le Monde alongside the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. The passion for justice and reconciliation that Woodley holds should be viewed as a basic civil duty, and we commend Woodley for his dedication.

Frye Gaillard tours nationally with A Hard Rain

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 by Matthew Byrne

There are many ways in which Frye Gaillard has been a great NewSouth Books author and friend, not the least of which has been his adventurous spirit and willingness to travel with his books. With six in all published by NewSouth (and two more forthcoming), he has had many reasons to be on the road, but interest and critical reviews for his masterwork on the 1960s, A Hard Rain, have brought him opportunities from coast to coast. He’s had wonderful events at such far-flung places as the Ford Hall Forum in Boston, Brown University in Providence, the 92nd Street Y in New York City, Newseum in Washington, DC, JimmyIMG_8606
Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, and David Brower Center in Berkeley, California. And he’s made appearances at a long list of bookstores, including such favorites as Park Road Books, Malaprop’s, Prairie Lights, and Page and Palette, and some new ones too: in Portland, Oregon, he stopped at Rose City Book Pub, where his book talk was wonderfully received. Recently he had the great pleasure to participate in Greensboro Bound, a book festival in Greensboro, North Carolina, organized by Scuppernong Books. Coincidentally, Frye’s program was held at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, which occupies the former Woolworth’s building, where the lunch-counter sit-ins discussed in the very first pages of A Hard Rain took place. Frye was moved to be in that hallowed space. And suddenly it seemed as if the miles had returned him to where he’d started with A Hard Rain. Metaphorically speaking, that is. What an amazing journey it has been.

 

Books and BBQ: Preview a Story from L’Chaim and Lamentations by Craig Darch, to be released in August

Friday, May 24th, 2019 by Matthew Byrne

Whatever your plans for this coming Memorial Day weekend, we hope you make time to spend with a book. Allow us to preview a quite special one NewSouth will publish in August. It’s a collection of short stories titled L’Chaim and Lamentions by Craig Darch. With stirring Jewish inflection, Darch’s work speaks about the value of family and community, exploring universal themes of companionship and loneliness, faith and perseverance. These stories detail the lives of the powerful and confident, but also the struggle of the modest and the determined, people doing the best they can to get by. Blurbs for this book by Craig Darch should whet your appetite. Read this one by Seth Greenland, author of The Hazards of Good Fortune, which we quite like: “Warm, satisfying, and evocative of lost times, Craig Darch’s stories are the literary equivalent of my grandmother’s kugel, with far fewer calories.” Happy holiday! 

New Jack Brooks political bio subject of KSTX story; Nancy Pelosi, others turn out for gala DC book launch event

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 by Matthew Byrne

72ppi 1588383210If you think history doesn’t repeat itself, read again. David Martin Davies at Texas Public Radio spoke to author Brendan McNulty about the life of legendary Texas Congressman Jack Brooks, as told in a new book – The Meanest Man in Congress: Jack Brooks and the Making of an American Century – exploring how the impeachment proceedings that faced Richard Nixon during Brooks’s tenure in D.C. may bear considering again today (https://bit.ly/2YESCge). Brooks served in Congress under ten presidents in a remarkable career that spanned five decades, mentoring a younger generation of Congressmen and women including Nancy Pelosi. As Speaker Pelosi observes in her blurb for the book, “Jack had no fear of unpopular opinions or of reaching across the aisle to pursue the common good. His principled leadership and political courage, richly chronicled in this first biography of his life, are an extraordinary legacy.” Pelosi, along with the likes of Randy Weber, Brian Babin, Greg Laughlin, and many others in the halls of power, were also special guests at a D.C. launch party this week for The Meanest Man in Congress. The gala is the subject of this fantastic piece in The Hill: https://bit.ly/2HwHpc3.

Brendan McNulty_TimothyMcNulty_SpeakerPelosi_JebBrooks_JustinHochPhotography

Rod Davis wins another award, for lifetime achievement serving veterans

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017 by Randall Williams

In the years since 2003 when NewSouth Books published Rod Davis’s first novel, Corina’s Way, we have taken pride and pleasure in seeing him recognized in the literary community for his work as a writer, including as a book critic and columnist. Highlights of his career to date include receipt of a PEN/Southwest Award for Corina’s Way and his induction into the Texas Institute of Letters. Davis added a different kind of award to his portfolio last week, when he received the Bill Pearson Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award from the Western Association of Veterans Education Specialists. A Vietnam Era vet, Davis co-founded and served as director of the Texas A&M University System’s Veterans Support Office (VSO). The award recognizes “individuals who have made outstanding contributions through constructive participation in veterans’ organizations, thus demonstrating a deep sense of caring for the veteran,” WAVES president Tracy Copeland told the Texas A&M University System News. The News notes that under Davis’s leadership, “the A&M System VSO provided coordination, communication and guidance to the system’s 11 universities and engaged in outreach on veteran education support issues throughout Texas and nation.” Congratulations to Rod on this most-deserved humanitarian honor.

Jacqueline Trimble wins 2016 Balcones Poetry Prize for debut collection, American Happiness

Friday, July 14th, 2017 by Randall Williams

In a bit of great news, American Happiness, recently published by NewSouth Books, wowed the judges of the Balcones Prize, winning the 2016 award for Jacqueline Allen Trimble in the poetry category. The judges at Austin Community College said of her work, “Hers is a refreshing voice. Her poetry is intimate and irony-filled.” They add, “Trimble should never be taken lightly — but, darn it, her poems are so often funny.” Certainly, Jackie Trimble does not take receipt of the award lightly. She was overjoyed about it, especially given the caliber of the poetry award finalists — Claudia Rankine, Bryce Milligan, James Galvin, and Martin Espada — sevand the many greats who were previous winners (Natalie Diaz and Mark Jarmon, to name just two). For Jackie Trimble, the Balcones Award follows receipt of the 2016 Seven Sisters Book Award in the poetry category. The Seven Sisters Book Awards recognize “the stories of women and those who tell them.” The award was established by author Lynne Hinton in 2015.

American Happiness is available from NewSouth Books, or your favorite bookstore.

Frye Gaillard adds Jefferson Cup Honor Book for Go South to Freedom, film documentary about Journey to the Wilderness to list of credits

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017 by Randall Williams

Award-winning author Frye Gaillard is enjoying a banner year: his book Go South to Freedom has just been named a Jefferson Cup Honor Book for young adult readers by the Virginia Library Association. The Jefferson Cup honors a distinguished biography, work of historical fiction or American history book for young people. Presented since 1983, the Jefferson Cup Committee’s goal is to promote reading about America’s past; to encourage the quality writing of United States history, biography, and historical fiction for young people; and to recognize authors in these disciplines.

News of the award reached Frye as he was on the road filming a television documentary based on his book Journey to the Wilderness: War, Memory, and a Southern Family’s Civil War Letters. Produced by Mike Letcher of Dragonfly Public Media, the program follows the footsteps of Gaillard’s ancestors who fought in the Civil War. In the film Gaillard reflects on the Civil War letters written by his great-great-grandfather and other family members, noting, “My own generation was perhaps the last that was raised on those stories of gallantry and courage. Oddly, mine was also one of the first to view the Civil War through the lens of civil rights.” The film is being produced in partnership with The Center for War and Memory at The University of South Alabama for public television.

In other news, Frye Gaillard has just put the final touches on his forthcoming memoir A Hard Rain: America in the 1960s, Our Decade of Hope and Innocence Lost. In this book, Gaillard gives us a deeply personal history, bringing his keen storyteller’s eye to this pivotal time in American life. A Hard Rain is due out from NewSouth Books in spring 2018. He is presently at work researching the life of Benjamin Turner for his first illustrated children’s book, a project he’s collaborating on with Marti Rosner. The Slave Who Went to Congress will be released by NewSouth Books in fall 2018.

Go South to Freedom is available from NewSouth Books or your favorite bookstore.

Peter O’Toole remembered by Lawrence of Arabia assistant director Ibrahim Fawal

Friday, December 20th, 2013 by Brian Seidman

The Disinherited by Ibrahim FawalAuthor Ibrahim Fawal (On the Hills of God, The Disinherited), born in Ramallah, Palestine, worked with renowned director David Lean as the Jordanian first assistant director on the classic Lawrence of Arabia. He sent this remembrance of actor Peter O’Toole, who died this past month.

I am proud to say that I had a very friendly relationship with Peter OToole when I was working as the first assistant director on Lawrence of Arabia in the Jordanian desert in 1961. In fact, he and Omar Sharif promised to dance at my wedding, which was to take place right after production of the movie ended. Due to unforeseen circumstances and a delayed production schedule, they missed my wedding, but that did not prevent big crowds from jamming the streets and the church, expecting the two stars to be in attendance.

One of my most vivid memories of working with Peter OToole took place early one morning, when David Lean asked me to go find Peter, who was late for the shooting of a certain scene. When I found Peter, he was in his luxurious tent, getting dressed. I urged him to hurry up, as we were late for the first morning shot. As we walked out of the tent, into the desert, with the blue sky and miles and miles of utter tranquility around us, he was still buttoning his shirt. Suddenly, he stopped walking, and the next thing I knew he was raising his hands up toward the sky, shouting Hey God, where are you? Stunned by the sudden outburst, I asked what he was doing, but he kept looking up, repeating, Where is He? Where is He? It was a powerful moment, one that stayed in my subconscious for more than 40 years. It was later included as a scene in my book, The Disinherited.

What a magnificent opportunity to work with a legend like Peter OToole. Now hes with his elusive God, at last.

The PEN Oakland award-winning On the Hills of God and its sequel The Disinherited, by Ibrhaim Fawal, are available in hardcover and ebook from your favorite bookstore.

No Holiday Cheer in Poverty Statistics

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 by Randall Williams

As Southern members of Congress continue to say “no” to most safety-net and stimulus proposals, the grim reality is that poverty is deepening across the nation and especially in the region.

According to a report issued today by the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), extreme poverty in the United States increased during 2009 by 12.9 percent, expanding the number of people living below 50 percent of the poverty threshold by more than 2.1 million. As a result, extreme poverty was the fastest growing income group in America last year, and the South’s share of the increase was almost twice that of any other region of the country.

One out of every 16 Americans – 18.8 million people – lived on less than seven to ten dollars per day at the end of 2009. This number of persons was larger than the combined population of 15 US states.

Analyzing recently released Census data, SEF’s update on extreme poverty notes that half of the additional 2.1 million persons who fell into extreme poverty during 2009 resided in only seven states, including four Southern states: Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New York, and Ohio. The 15-states of the South had 45.3 percent of the nation’s increased population in extreme poverty – almost twice the share of any other region.

Among states, growth rates for extreme poverty were over 20 percent – highest in the nation – in Colorado, Kansas, Utah, Idaho, and Missouri. The five states with the next highest rates of growth were all in the South: North Carolina (19.7 percent), Florida (18.7), Tennessee (18.6), Alabama (18.5), and Georgia (18.2).

“Southern states and the nation cannot long ignore these trends without imperiling the future prosperity of all of its residents,” stated SEF President Kent McGuire. “Even in the worst of times, addressing the problems of extreme poverty is in everyone’s best interest.”

SEF’s full 24-page report includes nine charts, three maps and various graphs illustrating and ranking developments among the states and regions on how extreme poverty grew in 2009 and which population groups have the highest rates of extreme poverty. The update also discusses the implications these trends have for education in the South and the nation.

Damned good advice for writers and editors . . .

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010 by Randall Williams

. . . in the 8/4/2010 New York Times Schott’s Vocab column.

In the item, guest columnist David Crystal, a linguistics professor at the University of Bangor in Wales, writes about what he learned when he recently asked a 12-year-old to go through one of his manuscripts and underline anything she didn’t understand. The result — demonstrating that there’s a vast cultural knowledge gap between today’s youngsters and the rest of us — may seem obvious, but writers and editors working on material targeted for children or young adults still stumble over this every day.

In Crystal’s case, he made a reference to John Wayne, and his young test reader had no idea who Wayne was, had never seen any of his movies, and could not have cared less. I was reminded of the time my youngest son came home from school and, following up on some discussion in his second-grade classroom, asked me, “Daddy, what was it like during the Civil War?” Not wanting to disappoint, I told him how it was, but you get the idea . . .