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Dear Members,

It seems fitting to start the new year with this impeccable prose poem by Mary Ruefle (published in The Most of It), who was the visiting poet at the University of Alabama, where she lived in the Hudson Strode house for a season back in the early 2000's. I'm sharing this poem as both balm and reminder to go easy on yourself--and your writing. To celebrate each perfect turn of phrase. To savor the moments when the poem flowers across the page and leaves you with an unexpected meadow. To enjoy the writing process rather than worry about the finished product. And to support fellow writers by sharing their work with librarians, book clubs, editors, and fellow writers in your community.  

One of AWC's innovative experiments involves opening up membership to nonprofits, publishers, book stores, community groups, and various associations through our
Organization Membership. What does this mean? How will this expand and enlarge the benefits to Alabama literary community?
  • Connect writers to bookstores or libraries seeking readings and events
  • Publicize events at organizations and bookstores
  • Offer new platforms for collaboration
  • Provide a ready-made pool of reviewing talent for publishers or authors with recent books
  • Publicize news books by Alabama publishers
Honestly, when I start thinking about all the potential untapped synergies here, I get a little dizzy. For example, I currently have three new books by Alabama authors that could use a review and some publicity. If you'd like to review one of these books, please contact me and I will mail it along. Then you can read, review, and email the final product to me and it will go up on our website (see this lovely review by Charlotte Pence for example). Helping one another is often a means of building stronger ties to local writers and lending a hand in the creation of literary community. I encourage you to reach out. 

We are thrilled to announce that AWC is partnering with Anne Markham Bailey's Green Bucket Press to print copies of the 2018 Awarded Writers' Collection (formerly Alalitcom). The online version is available to read now. As soon as print copies become available, the AWC website front page will banner the book's availability for purchase. So keep your eyes peeled for this exciting gift to purchase for friends and family. 

In the meantime, please keep sending your wonderful publications, writings, inspirations, and current activities to me at Be sure to send any links to recent journal publications, especially those online publications that we can all enjoy for free. And thank you so much for making Alabama a more writerly place.

Best wishes,
Alina Stefanescu, Newsletter Editor, Publicity Chair, Web Manager, and Tireless Web Jockey

P.S. Next month's email will be full of goodies so please email me and send them along. The more links and images you send, the easier it is for me to devote time to other members and make sure the newsletter catches a little bit of everyone.
The Grapevine: Member News
Beauty in the Wild: A Poetic Celebration in Honor of Ntozake Shange

Poet and Birmingham culture activist Shaunteka LaTrese Curry hosted an evening dedicated to Ntozake Shange in early December 2018 at Desert Island Supply Co. in Woodlawn. Poets from across the state gathered to present Shange's poems (and share their own poems inspired by her work).  The event was beautiful, inspiring, and magical. 

AWC members might be interested in Love Hard Live Free: Conversations with She by Shaunteka LaTrese Curry, available for purchase online from Amazon.
  1. T. J. Beitelman's most recent collection,  This Is The Story of His Life, is now available to purchase from Black Lawrence Press. Learn more about the book and his vision from our recent interview.
  2. AWC Secretary Karim Shamsi-Basha is now serving as Editor of The Selma Sun. We are so proud of him and grateful for his dedication to Alabama's literary community.
  3. Debra Goldstein's One Taste Too Many, the first volume in the Sarah Blair Mystery series, was released in December 2018 and is available for purchase online. 
  4. Lana K. Austin shared her thoughts and the title poem from her first collection, Blood Harmony, on the AWC blog. 
  5. C. I. Marshall's poem, "There Is Nothing Beautiful," won second place in a ASPS Fall Contest on inspiring wild animals.  Her poem, "Homing Pigeons," will be included in PITWR's Winter Poetry Card for over 20,000 surgery offices in the UK.
  6. Jacqueline Trimble shared her thoughts and poems in a terrific interview with Negative Capability Press. 
  7. Foster Dickson is serving on the Board of the Fitzgerald Museum and encouraging young persons to enter their annual literary contest. The deadline is the end of December.
  8. Clarence Bonner's experience as a volunteer firefighter in a small rural Alabama town led him to write and share a poem, "Shielded." We are grateful for his service as AWC Historian.
  9. Kwoya Fagin Maples talked about her debut poetry collection, MEND, with Alabama Public Radio. 
  10. Ashley M. Jones has been reading for her new, prize-winning poetry collection, dark // thing. It is amazing and worth your time.
  11. Nancy Owen Wilson's memoir, Searching for Nannie B:  Connecting Three Generations of Southern Womencontinues to generate interest among southern writers and local historians
  12. The Magic City Poetry Festival is scheduled to begin on April 4,2019 and continue through the month of April in Birmingham. More information will available soon from the website (currently in production). Please contact Alina at if you would like to donate any materials or supplies or assist with this event. 
We're currently assembling the 2019 online Bookshelf page featuring book publications by AWC authors so please share your latest or forthcoming publications by filling out this handy online form

Don't forget to check our web calendar for other events near you. If you have something to add to the calendar, take a quick minute to give us details here. We can't share cool things if we don't know about them.
Poetry Writing Prompt from Member

 "My favorite is actually a prompt I was given in a workshop taught by Jane Hirshfield. She had us write a poem in which the pronouns follow the pattern of conjugation: I, you, he/she/it, we, you, they. It was great fun, and as with all good prompts, it helped me discover a poem I would not have otherwise written, “Family Photograph: A Conjugation.” 

- Jacqueline Trimble in interview with Negative Capability Press

T. K. Thorne Talks Craft & Crime Fiction

"Writing, at it’s heart, is story-telling. The first stories I created were for myself to keep the monsters from emerging when the lights went out. Stuffed animals went to bed with me, particularly a beautiful rabbit with long-lashed eyes that shut when you turned her on her back. I named her “Peter” because, at age four, that was the only rabbit name I knew. Peter, I decided, had magical powers that could protect me from the monsters, as did Spot, who was red with white spots and button eyes. The stories I told myself expanded into scenarios and interactions between the stuffed animals and how they fought evil.  Later, I became the neighborhood children’s director for the play-stories we enacted. It was fun—since I assigned the roles, I always got to be the queen! That was the beginning. It’s never stopped. As a police officer, I often day-dreamed about plots and characters as we patrolled deserted night streets. It kept me entertained until the adrenaline-interludes which provided some of the fodder for my stories."

- Author T. K. Thorne in an interview about her new book and her venture into crime fiction

Laura Hunter's first novel, Beloved Mother, will be available in bookstores from Bluewater Publishers in early 2019. You can learn more about the book and purchase an early copy by emailing Laura at

If anyone would like to read and review a copy for the AWC website, please contact Laura and email a review (under 1500 words) to

Volunteers for One-Day Workshop Needed

“How to Get Published” is a Writing Day Workshop  scheduled for Friday, March 8th, 2019 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm in Birmingham, Alabama. The workshop will include practice in pitching to agents/editors.  

A minimum of two volunteers is needed. However, if AWC has more than two volunteers, then our volunteers can attend sessions (as long as two are assisting). All volunteers get a free lunch with the faculty, and one free pitch session with an attending agent or editor. We ask that one of the volunteers speak (5 minutes) about AWC and pass out literature about our organization or the conference. If you would like to volunteer and attend, send a quick email to TK Thorne at

Brian A. Klems (@BrianKlems), is the former online editor of His blog during his tenure there, The Writer’s Dig—which covered everything writing and publishing—was one of the largest blogs in the writing community. Brian’s first book, Oh Boy, You’re Having a Girl: A Dad’s Guide to Raising Daughters (Adams Media) was released in April 2013. It received high-level buzz and praise from some of the funniest writers alive, including Dave Barry and Bruce Cameron. Brian is also a proud graduate of the Ohio University E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, a husband, softball infielder, perennial fantasy sports underachiever, and father of three lovely little girls.
BOOKSHELF: New From Members

Alabama State Poetry Society Spring Contests

Follow directions and submit your poems before March 9, 2019 deadline for chance to win cash prizes.

Rockvale Review
is accepting poetry submissions from new and established poets. Deadline is March 31, 2019.
Submit online here

Real Life Poets will be celebrating over 10 years of working with the community on February 8th at the Birmingham Museum of Art.

If you will would like to present a poem or share a story about RLP send us an email at
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Alabama Writers' Conclave · 7296 Bayberry Road · Helena, AL 35022 · USA

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