Coming in 2013

With a year coming to close and a new one about to begin, the time for looking back a little bit and for figuring out what to do next is upon us. 2012 has been a good year. Children of the Changing South has sold reasonably well since its release in November 2011, mostly to university libraries, and I gave a talk about the book at the Alabama Book Festival. I taught one composition class at Auburn University ay Montgomery during the Fall 2012 semester, which went well. Back in October, I took 25 of my students to the Kentuck Festival of the Arts once again. While I have no substantial progress on any new book projects to report, I’m tinkering with a few ideas, the main one being this novel that I haven’t had sufficient time to work on lately.

One thing definitely worthy of attention is: the Film Club that I sponsor at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School is hosting a screening of Andrew Beck Grace’s film Eating Alabama on January 31. Along with the film, there will be a food tasting of all-Alabama foods, which will start before the film, and also a post-show discussion led by Andrew Grace and Don Wambles, the director of the Alabama Farmers Market Authority. Tickets are $10 each, which covers our costs of bringing you the food and the film. If you’d like to come, please contact me.

My main concern right now is wanting to hear back about the Guggenheim Fellowship that I applied for last fall, which will determine whether or not I pursue the nonfiction book project that I have the most well-thought-out right now. The Guggenheim Foundation’s website explains that they get between 2,000 and 3,000 applications, and usually give 220 fellowships, so the odds are stacked against anyone applying . . . but it’s worth a try, right? Word comes in April, and that outcome will have a major impact on how I spend much of my time in 2013.

For now, I’m kind of holding off making any major plans, while I wait on that answer. Teaching will continue, of course, and that will keep me busy enough. I am also working on promoting, organizing and fundraising for the second Student Readers Group for the Alabama Book Festival; this year, the book selection is The Poet of Tolstoy Park by Sonny Brewer. I might even get a little writing done on that novel, too . . . you never know.

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