Starting in 2020, Foster’s blog Welcome to Eclectic has moved from publishing regular posts to offering less-frequent posts, most of which will contain updates on author events, new publications, and related news. Having been continuously published since 2010, the blog, which was originally titled Pack Mule for the New School, has remained essentially the same, with a focus on what is “Deep Southern, Diversified & Re-Imagined.” As a part of the changes, the “Dirty Boots” column published its last installment on New Years Eve 2019, on the twentieth anniversary of Y2K.
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.
April 15: Alabama Library Association Convention in Birmingham
Emily Blejwas’s new book 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.
The deadline for submitting to the F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum’s annual Literary Contest has now passed, and Foster is at work coordinating with judges Kwoya Fagin Maples and Joe Taylor. The theme for 2019–2020 is “Love + Marriage” to honor the Zelda and Scott’s love affair in 1919 and their 1920 wedding in New York. The contest is open to high school students and college undergraduates, and submissions are accepted each year from September 1 ’til December 31. Winners will be announced in March.
Foster re-designed and began coordinating the contest in 2018, a year that marked the centennial of Scott and Zelda meeting in Montgomery. Last 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. The winners were notified in March 2019.
In the summer of 2019, Foster participated in Arizona State University’s National Sustainability Teachers’ Academy as part of a “teacher team” from Montgomery. The week-long workshop in Missoula, Montana centered on training teachers how to evaluate their schools’ needs and potential for improved sustainability and how to implement positive solutions. This school year, Foster has expanded the school garden extracurricular and created a recycling program, and more sustainability programs are in the works. (Thank you to the Montgomery Advertiser for running a nice article on it!)
The Newtown Oral History Collection and the accompanying photographs are being posted on the website of the Montgomery County Archives. So far, some of the interviews and photographs have been made public (and are accessible free of charge). This collection was a project that Foster conducted with his students in early 2019; it was made possible by an education grant from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, which purchased supplies and rented a space to hold interviews, and was generously supported by County Commissioner Isaiah Sankey, Newtown Reunion organizer Martha Johnson, and other members of the Newtown community.
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 or his page on GoodReads.
*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.