Foster has received one of four Literary Arts Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts for the 2021 year! 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.” The announcement of this year’s recipients was made in June, and fellowships begin in October 2020.
In March 2020, Foster began a new project called level:deepsouth, which is an online anthology created with the goal of documenting 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 project is now 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.
Foster is currently working on a commemorative/historical book about Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School for their upcoming 150th anniversary celebration in 2023 and 2024. Montgomery Catholic was founded as St. Mary of Loretto School in 1873 by the Sisters of Loretto. Over the last 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.
In early 2020, Foster began publishing articles on Medium. With the subtitle “Where Words Matter,” this platform is a subscription service that offers writers and publications the opportunity to contribute new articles or to repost existing works. On Medium, Foster’s subject matter includes on the writing life, education, movies, and social justice.
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.
The winners of the second annual F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum’s annual Literary Contest were announced on March 15. The theme for 2019–2020 was “Love + Marriage” to honor the Zelda and Scott’s love affair in 1919 and their 1920 wedding in New York. Thank you to Joe Taylor and Kwoya Fagin Maples, who were our judges this year.
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 contest is open to high school students and college undergraduates, and submissions are accepted each year from September 1 ’til December 31. The theme for next year’s contest will be shared in August.
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.
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.