TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Eight distinguished authors will be inducted into the 2023 Alabama Writers Hall of Fame at The University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center March 10.
Members of the 2023 class include: Tom Franklin, Trudier Harris, Angela Johnson, Howell Raines, Michelle Richmond and Daniel Wallace. Authors Eugene Walter and Kathryn Tucker Windham will be inducted posthumously. Carolyn Haines, a 2020 inductee, is slated to serve as master of ceremonies.
A reception will be held in the authors’ honor at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The induction ceremony will immediately follow dinner.
Tickets to attend the event or to sponsor an inductee table that seats 10 can be purchased online.
“It is both an honor and a privilege to take part in recognizing the creativity, dedication and accomplishments of the authors represented in the 2023 class,” said Michael Pearce, director of the Alabama Center for the Book, which with the Alabama Writers’ Forum co-sponsors the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.
“The best way to celebrate the spirit and brilliance of all present and past Alabama Writers Hall of Fame inductees is to promote their works as an inspiration to the generations that follow.”
The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame was founded in 2014 through a partnership between the Alabama Center for the Book and the Alabama Writers’ Forum. The Alabama Writers’ Forum, a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, engages with a wide network of state and national partnerships to support, advocate and promote writers and reading throughout the state.
The Alabama Center for the Book, housed in the University Libraries at The University of Alabama, is the state affiliate of the National Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
The 2023 Inductees
Tom Franklin, a novelist and short story writer, was born in Dickinson. He is the author of the short story collection “Poachers” and novels “Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter”; “Hell at the Breech” and “Smonk.” Franklin is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Mississippi.
Trudier Harris, born in Greene County, is an acclaimed author and scholar whose many authored and co-edited books often focus on Black American literature and authors. Her memoir, “Summer Snow: Reflections from a Black Daughter of the South,” was published in 2003. She retired from her position as The University of Alabama Distinguished Research Professor of English in 2022.
Angela Johnson, born in Tuskegee, is the award-winning author of over 40 books for children and young adults. Her first book, “Tell Me a Story, Mama,” was published in 1989. Her picture books, poetry and young adult novels celebrate Black families, their history and community, and frequently feature Alabama settings. Johnson received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003.
Howell Raines, a native of Birmingham, is a prize-winning journalist and author of fiction, nonfiction and memoir. Raines reported for regional newspapers prior to positions at the New York Times, where he was executive editor for three years. His novel “Whiskey Man” and books about fly fishing complement a career that includes commentaries, essays and reviews.
Michelle Richmond, a native of Mobile, is the author of six novels, several short story collections and numerous essays. Among her best-selling novels are “The Year of Fog,” “The Marriage Pact” and “The Wonder Test.” She is a recipient of the Truman Capote Prize for literary nonfiction or short story. Her fiction often explores ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Daniel Wallace, from Birmingham, is a best-selling novelist, short story writer, children’s book author and illustrator. His best-selling novel, “Big Fish: A Story of Mythic Proportions,” was the basis for a popular film by director Tim Burton. Wallace is a professor of English and director of the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
Eugene Walter, the “Renaissance Man” from Mobile, was a writer, actor, cookbook author, costume designer, host, editor and artist. He served in the military in the Aleutian Islands and lived in New York, Paris and Rome before returning to Mobile in his later years. He was a founding editor of Paris Review. His first novel, “The Untidy Pilgrim,” won the Lippincott Prize for fiction and his Time-Life cookbook “American Cooking: Southern Style” is a classic of the genre.
Kathryn Tucker Windham, born in Selma, was a journalist, photographer, folklorist, author, storyteller, actor and national radio commentator. She was the first woman journalist for the Alabama Journal and later reported for The Birmingham News and the Selma Times-Journal. Her eight “Jeffrey” books presented ghost stories from throughout Alabama and beyond. She was best known for her appearances at storytelling festivals, schools and other events and for her regular commentaries for National Public Radio.
The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.