Reprinted here in its entirety.
What are you reading now? If it’s a Southern book you like (and
there seems to be more and more of them out there), then attending “On the
Brink” at JSU on Saturday, Feb. 6, should be a way to widen and aid your
The writers’ conference, now in its 15th year, is designed as a provocative
and entertaining gathering of Southern writers and readers.
Again, the conference offers a forum to emerging writers as they explore the
Southern experience through our past, present, and future.
The conference begins at 9:30 a.m. on the 11th floor of Houston Cole Library
and includes two sessions, and two book signings, and interaction with the
writers, with the event ending at 3:30 p.m. Lunch is included in the $45 fee.
Full -time students may attend for $15.
According to JSU’s English Department, pre-registration checks must be mailed
in by Jan. 31.
Notices have been mailed to those already on the mailing list. For more
information, contact Gena Christopher at 782-5856.
Increasingly, people are reading and writing novels, poetry, cookbooks and
more. Small southeastern publishing companies seem to be flourishing and more
willing to put their own money on the line for authors, according to Judith
McKibbin, a member of the “On the Brink” Committee.
“People read for refuge from a noisy day,” she says, “or as an escape during
a stressful day, or to fight insomnia. But the reading public has also waked up
to the joy of reading simply for pleasure,” the retired English teacher said.
The “On the Brink” committee selects Southern writers that have been
published by a reputable publishing company and it’s not unusual that the ones
selected have written several books and can claim national fame. Writers like
JSU graduate Lester Laminack — who writes children’s books — and novelist
Carolyn Jourdan, who lives on the family farm in East Knox County, Tennessee,
for example, can claim national honors and are in demand as speakers.
It should be interesting to talk with writers who have been down the
publishing path and reached their goals.
“Unless you’re well established, the publishing industry is tight,” Laminack
says. “The key is matching what you do with interested publishers. You
absolutely have to be well read on the publishers.”
Laminack, who received his bachelor of science and master of science in
elementary education at JSU is ready to share more about his journey to success.
He earned his doctor of education in elementary education and reading from
Auburn University. And he has another Important link to our area: his childhood
was spent in Heflin.
“I was a Southern boy, in a small southern town, with a southern grandmother
who spent time with me, “Laminack shares. “What better ingredients could there
be to create a memoir?” Write one he did, and “Saturdays and Teacakes” which he
will dwell on Feb, 6 is described as a heartwarming tribute to the love of his
grandmother and the importance of making memories.
His “Snow Day” was reviewed in the New York Times Children’s Book Section
this month. According to his web site, children of all ages will delight in the
anticipation of a day with lots and lots of snow — enough for the teachers to
declare no school.
Laminack’s four children’s books are published by Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
He lives in Asheville, N. C., where he is retired from teaching at Western
Carolina University. He continues to work with schools around the country, but
the educator feels comfortable in returning home to his desk and vast collection
of children’s books
“I’ve been writing full time now, and I’ve never looked back,” he says.
Jourdan has no Alabama connections, but that seems unimportant when she
describes her book, “Heart in the Right Place.”
It has a special message for everyone who has ever lived in the rural South,
she says, but bookshop customers in urban areas are buying it, too. A
disturbing, uprooting move back home to Tennessee from Washington, D. C., and
her job at the Senate inspired her to write the book that was honored in Family
Circle Magazine as the magazine’s first ever Book of the Month.
The story tells of her mother, who was in the hospital, and of Carolyn going
home. Since there was no other choice in the family, she was asked to work,
unpaid, in the father’s tiny medical office because the job required someone who
would understand the medical programs and billing. Her book is reviewed as a
story with compassion, wisdom and wit. Carolyn’s soft Tennessee accent connects
her to listeners not only as an advisor, but a kindred spirit.
Gena Christopher’s address is Gena Christopher, Jacksonville State
University, Attn: Department of English, 700 Pelham Road, N., Jacksonville
About Hervey Folsom
Hervey Folsom, an Anniston resident, writes Down
Art Avenue. Her column centers on those who contribute to the art world in any
way, including musically. Hervey also contributes to The Anniston Star and is
active in a number of civic organizations. She and her husband, Bob, are members
of Grace Episcopal Church in Anniston. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com