Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Blue Suitcase

Okay, so Marianne Wheelaghan is not a Southern writer -- she lives in Scotland, in fact. But she's just released her first novel, and she did it by creating her own small press, so I thought lots of writers might be interested in this...

Marianne is an established writer, editor, and creative writing teacher (see her interview in the April, 2008 blog entry). Her husband has written several academic books and is a skilled desktop publisher. When the big publishing houses failed to pick up her novel (historical fiction, by the way; I guess they thought it'd be hard to market?), Marianne and her hubby decided to do it themselves, and why not? They have the skills, talent, drive, and the strict attention to detail that is needed to produce a high-quality publication. Check out their website at

I'll be posting a review of the book soon, and possibly an interview with Marianne. In the meantime, what do you think of start-up presses? Is it a good idea for writers? It's a lot of work, but isn't it better than being ignored by the big presses??

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Local writers' festivals

It's tempting to write off the big-chain-bookstores as the "bad guys" stealing all the business from small bookstores, but every now and then they do their bit to support local writers. A few years ago, I went to the Barnes & Noble in Durham, NC, that had a roundtable of local self-published authors. They talked about their books, and then the audience were able to buy signed copies.

Here's another example of the "local writers festival" at a B&N in Birmingham, AL. Let me know if you know of any other similar events.

Southern Writers' Festival
Author Signing
Come and support our wonderful selection of local authors in person during this eclectic event. With the collection of many genres, there is something for everyone.
Sunday October 24, 2010 2:00 PM
The Summit Birmingham
Summit Shopping Center,
201 Summit Boulevard Suite 100,
Birmingham, AL 35243,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Blue Moon Cafe

My friend recently let me borrow Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe, a great anthology of short stories, essays, and poetry from writers all over the South. It's not new--it was published in 2002 as the result of a literary gathering called Southern Writers Reading in Fairhope, Alabama. Apparently, there's a whole series of them now.

Some of the writers in this first volume include: Rick Bragg, C. Terry Cline Jr., Patricia Foster, William Gay, Pat Controy, Silas House, and lots more. An especially humorous one is "S. Trident" by C. Terry Cline Jr, about the purchase of some old Cold War government property, told entirely in letters to and from the U.S. and Russian government.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

New Indie Bookstore in Hillsborough

Let's hope it's a trend...a new independent bookstore opened in November in Hillsborough, NC. Purple Crow Books is a tiny nook that specializes in Hillsborough and NC authors. There's a cute little kids' room with great selections and a special "seat" made out of a claw-foot tub!

If you've heard of any new indie bookstores in the South, please let us know!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Southern-style book reviews

If you've not already checked out Southern Literary Review, here's another good reason ... their book review section. There's a good mixture of academic stuff, literary journals, and fiction. Fun to read for the recommendations or just as reading material in itself. Here's the website:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Writing contest for study abroad

There's a new kind of writing prize at the University of New Orleans. Three contest winners will attend a writing program at the Ezra Pound Center for Literature in Dorf Tirol, Italy, or the Writing Workshops in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Prizes are given annually to a poet, a fiction writer, and a creative nonfiction writer. The award includes full tuition and lodging, and the winning works are published in the Pinch. The editors of the Pinch will judge. Using the online submission system at the link above, submit your work with a $25 entry fee by January 31. Visit the Web site for complete guidelines.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Walker Percy Project

Have you read any Walker Percy? I came across this website dedicated to the Alabama-born author, winner of the 1962 National Book Award for his first novel The Moviegoer. The site is a literary center with lots of information, free to the public. It's a little hard to navigate, but if you're like me and hadn't heard of Percy, it may pique your curiosity about the unusual writer. There's even an online discussion group.

Here's a quote from the website, answering the question, "Who is Walker Percy?"

"novelist of ideas
philosophical novelist
comedic satirist
cautionary moralist
prophetic essayist
post-modern thinker
'existentialist' Southern gentleman
ex-suicide wayfarer-pilgrim
Martian castaway [...]
None of the above/all of the above"