All workshops take place in the Old Alabama Town Loeb Center at 301 S. Columbus Street.
Fill out the form below to register for workshops, and be sure to click the Submit Form button at the bottom of the page. Each workshop is limited to 40 participants and space is reserved on a first come, first served basis.
FICTION 10 am-10:50
with Randi Pink
Young-Adult Fiction is one of the fastest-growing genres in publishing, with more and more authors exploring how the coming-of-age process is shaped by culture, background, and setting. But in reality, YA fiction is really no different than other genres of the novel: it's all about telling people's stories. Join novelist Randi Pink as she offers practical tips on creating realistic, rounded characters and plausible plots, balancing growth and development with story pacing.
Randi Pink is a young-adult novelist. She believes human beings are glaciers, expressing only their peaks while entire ecosystems of brilliance exist just beneath the surface. Her writing is conceived and born out of frustration that most people live and die without exploring that underneath.
Her debut novel, Into White, dares to discuss race, one of America’s most difficult subjects, without tiptoeing around common stereotypes and biases. Through the first person narrative, Pink allows her main character to express challenging topics with complex human judgments and even levity. Pink’s second novel, Girls Like Us, hits shelves fall 2019.
Pink grew up in the South. She lives with her husband, young daughter and two rescue dogs in Birmingham, Alabama, where she writes freelance stories for a branch of National Public Radio.
GUIDED POETRY WORKSHOP 11 am-11:50
with Sara Pirkle Hughes
Join poet Sara Pirkle Hughes as she guides you through manipulated poetry
exercises guaranteed to get you brainstorming. Attendees will produce at least two new poem drafts in this workshop. No previous writing experience necessary! (Though due to content, this workshop is for individuals over the age of 18.)
Sara Pirkle Hughes is the author of The Disappearing Act, which won the 2016 Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry and was published in 2018. Her poems have been published in Rattle, Reed, Entropy, TAB, The Raintown Review, Emrys, and Atticus Review, among others. Sara has received writing fellowships from The Anderson Center, I-Park Foundation, and The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She is the Assistant Director of Creative Writing at The University of Alabama, where she also hosts the Pure Products Reading & Lecture Series.
NON-FICTION NARRATIVE and BIOGRAPHY 12 pm-12:50
with Lars Anderson
Writing non-fiction, whether reporting on a sports or news event or producing a full-length biography, seems simple enough: gather information, then present it. In reality, telling the stories of real people is a fraught process. There can be too much information, too many details, conflicting accounts, all of which must somehow get weaned down into a narrative that's entertaining but remains true. Join former Sports Illustrated senior writer and current Alabama sports journalist Lars Anderson as he discusses the challenges of researching and storytelling. Among many other works, Lars is the author of The Mannings: The Fall and Rise of a Football Family (2016) and The Storm and The Tide (2014), which chronicles the Alabama Crimson Tide's 2011 BCS National Championship season, and how it was impacted by the devastating tornado that ripped through Tuscaloosa that year. Fans of Alabama football will be especially interested in this workshop, since Lars will be previewing his latest book, Chasing the Bear: How Bear Bryant and Nick Saban Made Alabama the Greatest College Football Program of All Time, which will be out in September 2019!
Capturing the Muscle Shoals Sound in Photography 1:00-1:50 pm
with Dick Cooper Moderator: D. K. Harris
Dick Cooper's career as the official chronicler of the Muscle Shoals sound began on the day in 1972 when, as a general assignment reporter for the local paper, he wandered into a session at the storied FAME Studios where Mac Davis just happened to be recording his No. 1 hit "Baby Don't Get Hooked on Me." Shortly after writing an article about the session, Dick started a music column, which gave him an excuse to lens luminaries as diverse as Etta James, the legendary producer Jerry Wexler (the man who invented the term "rhythm and blues"), John Prine, Willie Nelson, and Bob Dylan. In fact, more than a dozen of Dick's photos of Dylan's late-1970s' sessions at the Shoals adorn the excellent compilation Trouble No More:The Bootleg Series Vol. 13 / 1979-1981, which explores an era when the now-Nobel laureate produced a trio of brimstone-and-fire gospel albums, including Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love, all controversial at the time but now considered classics. Come and learn how Dick captured the legends of Muscle Shoals, and how his friendship with the Swampers led to his years as a roadie and road manager, and how he later served as an advisor to the Drive-By Truckers as they created their classic album Southern Rock Opera. Please note: This session is a panel, not a workshop, but aspiring journalists and photographers will pick up great tips about capturing the arts both in images and words.
Sweet Home Storytelling Dance Series: A Moving History for Alabama's Bicentennial 2:00-2:50 p.m. with Victoria Niblett
Join dancer and choreographer Victoria Niblett for a discussion of how non-verbal forms of narration such as dance can tell stories every bit as vividly as words do. Victoria created The Sweet Home Storytelling Dance Series with the goal of inspiring others through the universal language of movement to engage with our state’s history in a unique and interdisciplinary way. The bicentennial is an opportune time for remembering Alabama’s history and gaining the tools to build a better tomorrow, and this series hopes to capitalize on this exciting time in our state. The Sweet Home Storytelling Dance Series hopes that through these performances, audiences can learn about such pivotal figures as Zelda Fitzgerald, Tallulah Bankhead, Dinah Washington, and other members of the Alabama Womens’ Hall of Fame. Through the series, audiences will discover the stories Alabama has to tell and what makes this state a “Sweet Home” worth commemorating, celebrating, and investing in for a brighter future.
Indie Publishing and Planning an Author Tour 3:00-3:50 pm
with Tina Mozelle Braziel, Ashley M. Jones, Edward Garner, and Angela Broyles. Moderator: Sandra O'Donnell
Independent publishing is a fast-growing, cutting-edge sector of the publishing industry, with new imprints acquiring projects that major houses are too beholden to the bottom line to take on. Two of Alabama's most experienced small-press publishers, Angela Broyles (Bluewater Publishing) and Edward Garner (Mindbridge Press) offer tips on how to approach houses like theirs, how their business models work, and how they define their niche. Whether an indie-press author or self-published, most writers these days are required to promote their own books by setting up signings and readings. Two of our poets at this year's festival, Tina Mozelle Braziel and Ashley M. Jones, teamed up to take on this intimidating duty, promoting their recent poetry collections with a rollicking double bill they call the "Dark // Salt Sisters Tour." Come pick the brains of these four experts on not only getting your book into print but getting your books into readers' hands!