Assistant Library Director Amanda Borden and Library Director Linda Andrews hold books written by two of the featured authors at this month’s Southern Voices festival. Photo by Katie Turpen.
This year, Hoover Public Library’s literary festival returns with an exciting lineup of authors, musicians, and an artist. Wally Lamb is the featured author.
“Wally Lamb is a one-of-a-kind writer,” said Assistant Library Director Amanda Borden. “His books are hefty reads and deal with difficult subjects such as obesity and mental illness. A lot of readers would be intimidated by the heaviness, but I’ve yet to meet a reader who didn’t love his books. They’re just magical. You fall in love with the characters and don’t forget them.”
Borden said the format has not changed this year, though the conference has a cast of special authors. She said several of Saturday author’s could be keynote speakers themselves.
“The ultimate goal of Southern Voices is to connect our patrons with the authors, artists and musicians that they love,” said Borden. “Many festivals are geared to aspiring writers. Ours is not; it is a conference for readers. We hope at the end of the day that our audience feels like they know a little more about the authors they love, and possibly even discover a new author to love that they had not heard of before.”
Read on to find out about this year’s lineup. For more information or for tickets, visit hooverlibrary.org/sv.
An evening with Wally Lamb
Friday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.
The Library Theatre, $35
Wally Lamb is the critically acclaimed author of She’s Come Undone, I Know This Much Is True, The Hour I First Believed and most recently, We Are Water. Lamb’s first two novels were #1 New York Times best sellers and Oprah’s Book Club selections.
Lamb contributes his time as a volunteer facilitator at York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in Niantic, Connecticut. Lamb’s volunteerism culminated in the publication of two collections of writings by his students: Couldn’t Keep It to Myself and I’ll Fly Away. Writing, Lamb found, was an unexpected and transforming way for these women to recapture their humanity and the hope that many of them had long since lost.
Lamb is a Connecticut native who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from Vermont College. Lamb was in the ninth year of his 25-year career as a high school English teacher at his alma mater, the Norwich Free Academy, when he began to write fiction in 1981.
Saturday, Feb. 28
Registration: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Library Theatre & The Library Plaza- Book sales and signings will follow the afternoon session.
1. Karen Abbott is the nonfiction author of three books, including Sin in the Second City, American Rose and her latest, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy. A writer for Disunion, The New York Times series about the Civil War, Abbott’s most recent work tells the true stories of four daring female Civil War spies. A native of Philadelphia, Abbott currently resides in New York City and is working on her next book, the real tale of a Gilded Age con artist.
2. Amy Greene has been hailed as one of the freshest new voices in Appalachian fiction. Her debut novel, Bloodroot, was a national best seller, receiving a starred review from Booklist and Kirkus Reviews. Her second novel, Long Man, received similar accolades when published in 2014. Born and raised in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, Greene was named as the 2010 Tennessee Writer of the Year by the Tennessee Writer’s Alliance.
3. James Scott is the author of the debut novel, The Kept. Heralded as an Amazon Best Book of the Month and Best Mystery, Thriller and Suspense title, The Kept is set in 1897 and recounts the story of an upstate New York midwife and her 12-year-old son as they seek revenge for the murder of their family. Called a “bright new voice in American fiction” by Ron Rash, Scott currently resides in western Massachusetts.
4. Jon Sealy’s debut novel, The Whiskey Baron, has been called a “simmering powerhouse of a novel” by Wiley Cash. Set in 1932 South Carolina, one man’s whiskey empire is set on the verge of collapse when another man commits murder outside his business. A native of upstate South Carolina, Sealy currently lives in Richmond, Virginia.
5. Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of the novels Bombay Time, The Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet and The Weight of Heaven. The Space Between Us was a finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins award. Born in Bombay, India, Umrigar came to the U.S. when she was 21. She worked for many years as an award-winning reporter, columnist and magazine writer before the publication of her first novel. She currently teaches at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
6. Meg Wolitzer’s novels include The Interestings, The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position and The Wife. Wolitzer’s short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and has won The Pushcart Prize. Additionally, two films have been based on her work: This Is My Life, scripted and directed by Nora Ephron and the 2006 TV movie Surrender, Dorothy, starring Diane Keaton. A resident of New York City, Wolitzer currently works as an instructor in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.
7. Chelsea Cain is the best-selling author of the popular Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers Heartsick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart, among others. Described as “steamy and perverse” by The New York Times, Cain’s novels are included in NPR’s list of the top 100 thrillers ever written. Cain’s newest title, One Kick, features a new character in the spotlight: Kick Lannigan. A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Cain spent her early years in a hippie commune. Today, she lives in Portland, Oregon.
Artist Melanie Morris
Melanie Morris’ contemporary landscapes and florals are in several corporate collections including the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Energen Corporation, Peace College and Southern States Bank.
“I have no choice but to paint – it is like breathing for me,” Morris said.
Morris lives in Birmingham. For more, visit MelanieMorrisArt.com.