News & Forthcoming
October was the official start of Foster’s Literary Arts Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The fellowship “recognizes artistic excellence as well as professional commitment and maturity. It is intended to contribute to the further development of the literary artist and the advancement of his or her professional career.” Foster’s project for the fellowship is Nobody’s Home: Modern Southern Folklore, which will be an online anthology of creative nonfiction about the prevailing beliefs, myths, and narratives that have driven Southern culture over the last fifty years, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The first reading period is open to submissions until December 15. Three more reading periods will follow throughout 2021.
In July, Foster did an interview with The Alabama Writers Cooperative’s Alina Stefanescu about the fellowship and his other current writing projects. You can watch that video here:
In March 2020, Foster began a new project called level:deepsouth, which is an online anthology created to document the experiences of Generation X in the Deep South during the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s by collecting personal essays and memoirs about our lives back then and since then. The first few works were published in the summer and early fall, and the project is wide open for submissions. Though any submission that fits the subject matter will be considered, Foster is especially interested in works by writers who were born between 1965 and 1980, and who grew up in the region.
The guidelines for the third annual F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum’s annual Literary Contest. The theme for 2020 – 2021 is “The Education of a Personage,” to honor the centennial of Scott’s debut novel, This Side of Paradise. This year’s theme, which comes from one of the novel’s section titles, implies works about learning, growing, and maturing. The contest is open to high school students and college undergraduates, and submissions are accepted each year from September 1 ’til December 31.
Foster re-designed and began coordinating the contest in 2018, a year that marked the centennial of Scott and Zelda meeting in Montgomery. The first year’s theme was “What’s Old Is New,” giving a nod to the daring and innovative spirit of Scott’s and Zelda’s artistic and literary work, and in 2019–2020, the theme was “Love + Marriage” to honor the couple’s 1919 love affair and 1920 wedding.
Foster is currently working on two local history projects, one himself and one with his students. The first is a commemorative/historical book about Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School for their 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.
The latter is the “Sketches of Newtown” project, which is funded by an Alabama Bicentennial Commission education grant. This project is a follow-up to the February 2019 oral history event in Newtown and has 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 is being planned (with COVID safety top of mind), and a book publication will follow in 2021.
In February, Foster had articles published in It’s a Southern Thing and the Montgomery Advertiser. He wrote about the Lillian E. Smith Center in Clayton, Georgia for the former publication and contributed a “Love Letter to Montgomery” for the latter’s series. You can click on the red links to access them.
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 of Foster browsing books, which appears in the header of the website, was taken by artist Tommye Scanlin in the library at the Lillian E. Smith Center in the summer of 2010.