Troy University plays supporting role in annual Alabama Book Festival

Posted: Wednesday, 13 April 2016

MONTGOMERY - Some 55 authors will converge in Montgomery's Old Alabama Town April 23 for the 11th Annual Alabama Book Festival.

The free, daylong, family-friendly festival features books for every taste and every age, from children's and young-adult to mysteries and science-fiction to coffee-table books, sports books and Southern fiction.

According to Dr. Kirk Curnutt, chair of English at Troy University and one of the festival organizers, the festival also offers free workshops for aspiring writers of all stripes.

"This year, we're very excited that Diane Haeger, who also publishes under the pen name Anne Girard, will kick us off at 9 a.m. with a fiction workshop," said Curnutt. "We also have acquisitions editor Deni Dietz coming all the way from Vancouver to do a workshop on the etiquette of submitting and ‘pitching' work to agents and editors at 12:30-1:30 p.m."

Curnutt also noted that the workshops offer expanded opportunities for writing beyond fiction.

"We have a workshop on what it takes to make a coffee-table book that I'm really excited about, as well as one on comic book writing," he said. "But maybe the one I'm most excited about is one on screenwriting we're offering for the first time. The producing team of Nicole Yorkin and Dawn Prestwich, who are currently leading the writing scripting's Z, based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, will show us what it takes to take a script from conception to execution."

In addition to the workshops, the festival will feature such prominent writers as Rick Bragg, Homer Hickam and Reta Grimsley Johnson. Several new faces will appear for the first time, including mystery writer Laura McNeill, acclaimed Alabama political columnist Steve Flowers and novelist Katherine Clarke, whose two novels about Birmingham were commissioned by the late Pat Conroy, who appeared at the 2015 festival.

Since 2010, Troy University has been a major sponsor of the festival. For the second year, the University will present its Hall-Waters Prize to an acclaimed Southern writer. This year's winner is former United States poet laureate Natasha Trethewey, who will appear at 3 p.m.

A full list of authors and panel times is available at

In addition to TROY's sponsorship, the Festival is also sponsored by Alabama Bench and Bar Historical Society, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Old Alabama Town, the City of Montgomery, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama Writers' Forum, Montgomery City-County Public Library, the Alabama Library Association, the Alabama Tourism Department, Lamar, "The Montgomery Advertiser," River City Publishing, the Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery and Art Works.

Book Festival

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author Rick Bragg autographs a book during the 2015 Alabama Book Festival. Bragg, author of best-selling books “Ava’s Man” and “All Over but the Shoutin’,” will be among the more than 50 authors taking part in this year’s festival, set for April 23 in Old Alabama Town in downtown Montgomery.