News & Forthcoming
Foster Dickson is a writer, editor, and teacher in Montgomery, Alabama. He is the author of Closed Ranks, the editor of Nobody’s Home and level:deepsouth, and the coordinator of the Fitzgerald Museum’s annual Literary Contest.
The initial compilation of the Nobody’s Home: Modern Southern Folklore anthology was completed in September 2021, and all lesson plans have been published. The anthology contains forty-four essays, and the lesson plans offer curricular connections (standards, objectives, and activities) for secondary English and social studies teachers to use them in their classrooms. In 2022, Foster will continue promoting the works and writing his editor’s blog Groundwork.
Nobody’s Home is an online anthology of creative nonfiction about the prevailing beliefs, myths, and narratives in Southern culture over the last fifty years, since 1970. For those writers, reviewers, and interviewers who may be interested in adding to the anthology, the new, updated submissions guidelines have been posted.
The submissions period for the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum‘s fourth annual Literary Contest and second annual Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald Young Writers Award closed on December 31, 2021. In August, the theme of “The Radiant Hour” was announced, and submissions were accepted starting on September 1. This year’s judges are Jason McCall, Kerry Madden-Lunsford, and Lisa Reeves. Winners will be announced no later than March 15, 2022.
Foster re-designed and began coordinating the museum’s contest in 2018, a year that marked the centennial of Scott and Zelda meeting in Montgomery. The Literary Contest is open to high school students and college undergraduates anywhere, while the Zelda Award is for Alabama high school students only.
level:deepsouth is wide open for submissions of creative nonfiction, reviews, and images related to growing up in Generation X in the Deep South in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s. Recently published stories have discussed attending college in Tennessee in the 1990s and growing up in Georgia in the era of the 1980s film Red Dawn.
For those more interested in reading than contributing, the project has added “tidbits, fragments, and ephemera,” a usually weekly but not always, sometimes substantial but not making any promises glimpse at some information and news related to Generation X in the Deep South.
Foster is currently working on a commemorative/historical book about Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School for its upcoming 150th anniversary celebration in 2023. Montgomery Catholic was founded as St. Mary of Loretto School in 1873 by the Sisters of Loretto. Over a century-and-a-half, St. Mary of Loretto evolved into a regional K-12 school with three campuses, to become one of the longest-standing continuously operated schools in Alabama. Foster’s book-length treatment of the school’s history is right now a work-in-progress, and no release date has been set.
On Tuesday evening, December 14, Foster was a presenting writer at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts’ Wilderness Inspires program. The event, which was free and open to the public, featured local writers sharing literary works based on the Lesley Dill, Wilderness: Light Sizzles Around Me exhibit. Foster’s ekphrastic poem was titled “A Broken Haibun within the Place Where Wild Deer Go.”
On Thursday, October 12, Foster was a presenting writer at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts’ In the Arts event from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. From the museum’s website: “The Muses Teen Council hosts this arts-related career night for River Region teens. Professionals from community arts organizations and creative businesses showcase their work and answer questions about their education and career paths.”
In May 2021, Foster was featured in an episode of the Alabama Arts Radio podcast, with Anne Kimzey. The two talked about Foster’s work and specifically about Nobody’s Home, which was his project for the Literary Arts Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
The Sketches of Newtown books arrived from the printer in March 2021. Approximately half of the books have been shared with current and former Newtown residents, while the remaining half have gone to student contributors, organizations that supported the project, and archival institutions.
This student project was funded by an Alabama Bicentennial Commission education grant as a follow-up to the February 2019 oral history event in Newtown. It had Foster’s high school Creative Writing students researching and writing about this north Montgomery community, which began as a housing settlement for enslaved people in the 1830s. A second oral history event, originally slated for December 2020, had to be cancelled due to COVID concerns, though the book publication was completed in its stead. The entire print run of the book was given away at no charge. An e-book is available by clicking here.
In March 2021, Foster was included in the article, “Race is a thorny topic in America. Some say schools must join the conversation.” by the Montgomery Advertiser‘s race and ethnicity reporter Safiya Charles.
Foster was a presenter at the Monroeville Literary Festival this year! The 2021 festival was virtual, not on-site in Monroeville, and his presentation was on Thursday, March 4 at 2:00 PM. The festival continued on March 5 and 6 with presentations and awards ceremonies.
Foster’s most recent book Closed Ranks: The Whitehurst Case in Post-Civil Rights Montgomery was released in November 2018 and is available in paperback and e-book formats. The release was covered by the Montgomery Advertiser, WSFA, and The Crime Report. If you missed that event or others, the Read Herring bookstore has autographed copies in stock. You can also read the Alabama Writers Forum’s review of the book.
To schedule a signing or book talk, please use the contact form on the About page. While you might think of these as public events that occur in bookstores or on college campuses, Foster will also schedule invitation-only readings and discussions with book clubs, civic organizations, and school groups.
Emily Blejwas’ The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods was released in July 2019, and the curriculum guide that Foster created for it is available here. The book, published by the University of Alabama Press, is available in hardcover, and access to the curriculum guide is free. To learn more about The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods, visit Emily Blejwas’ website.
Any of Foster’s books, including I Just Make People Up about artist Clark Walker and the anthology Children of the Changing South, are available on Amazon and through other national retailers. For a complete listing of Foster’s books, visit his Author Central page on Amazon.
*The photograph that appears in the header of the website was taken on US Highway 80 between Newbern and Selma.