Sunday Salons

Sunday Salon Speakers for 2012-13

HLA members and guests gather to enjoy readings and discussions by selected authors and poets.

All meetings this year will be held in the Jane Grote Roberts Auditorium at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library Main Branch located at 915 Monroe Street, Huntsville, AL 35801.

The meetings will be held on Sunday afternoons from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

For more information about any of these programs, call 256-652-2629.

October 14, 2012 - Dr. Monita Soni.

Dr. Monita Soni will present a humble homage to the magical poetry and art of Rabindra Nath Tagore, first Indian Nobel Laureate for Literature. The poet's gift lies in effortlessly capturing the elusive and mystical in a simple metaphor whispered by the grass, the moon, the river and the rich soil of Bengal.


November 4, 2012 - Adam Vines.

Adam Vines is an assistant professor of English at UAB and editor of Birmingham Poetry Review. His first collection of poetry is The Coal Life (U of Arkansas P, 2012). He has published recent poems in Poetry, The Literary Review, Redivider, and Post Road. The Alabama State Council on the Arts awarded him an individual artist fellowship this year.


January 13, 2013 - T.K. Thorne .

Author T.K. Thorne, recently returned from Turkey, speaks about how she accidentally became a police officer, didn't end up in a space capsule, and tackled a historical fiction novel about an unknown woman in one of the oldest and most famous stories on earth. Her debut prize-winning novel, Noah's Wife, gives the Biblical story of Noah-and-the-ark a unique twist, telling the tale from the perspective of a brilliant young girl with a form of autism (now known as Asperger's Syndrome) and setting the story in a culture that existed during a great flood in the Black Sea region thousands of years ago. 

Noah’s Wife won ForeWord Review’s Book of the Year for Historical Fiction (2009). Thorne’s short stories and screen plays have garnered awards as well, and her monthly column in Synergy Magazine is a must-read for Birmingham’s city center. A film from her screenplay, Six Blocks Wide, has shown at film festivals in Alabama and Europe. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, she retired from the Birmingham Police Department as a captain and currently serves as executive director of the business improvement district, CAP, in downtown Birmingham.


March 3, 2013 - Dr. Tennant McWilliams.

A native Alabamian, Tennant McWilliams is now a full-time writer after spending some thirty-five years as a dean, vice president, and faculty member at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Before joining UAB he taught at Walker College, Tidewater College and the University of Georgia. After attending Indian Springs School, he earned the A.B. degree (history and literature) at Birmingham Southern College, the M.A. degree (US diplomatic history) at the University of Alabama and the Ph.D. degree (modern American history and US diplomacy) at the University of Georgia -- where he had the fascinating experience of working with former US Secretary of State Dean Rusk in the years immediately following the Vietnam War.

Dr. McWilliams is the author of The Chaplian's Conflict and his historical writings have appeared in such scholarly journals as Diplomatic History, The Pacific Historical Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Gulf Coast Historical Review, the Alabama Review, and The Journal of American History. He has completed a set of essays assessing higher education in the modern South, for the University of North Carolina Press. And he is currently working on a biography of Renwick C. Kennedy – a tantalizing tale about enduring Scots-Irish influences in the 20th century Alabama Black Belt.

April 7, 2013 - NewSouth Books.

Looking for the next great Alabama novel? Keep your eyes on Montgomery's NewSouth Books and come to the HLA Sunday Salon on April 7 from 2 – 4 at the HMCPL to learn about their publishing efforts. Partners Randall Williams, editor-in-chief, and Suzanne La Rosa, publisher, are in their second decade of a mission to publish the best regional fiction and nonfiction with a national and even international interest. Not all of their books are about the South, but the region in all its aspects is their prime focus. NewSouth has published works by acclaimed Alabama novelist William Cobb (The Last Queen of the Gypsies) and by popular columnist Rheta Grimsley Johnson (Enchanted Evening Barbie and the Second Coming) as well as the first novel by award-winning historian Robert J. Norrell (Eden Rise). See the website at for a full list.

NewSouth has a division, Junebug Books, that publishes works for children and young adults. Some of those titles are among NewSouth's best sellers. Ted Dunagan, a Georgia resident originally from Grove Hill, Ala., looms large among those. Dunagan is writing a series of historical adventure novels set in Alabama in the 1940s and '50s. His heroes are two friends, a black boy and a white boy. The first book in the series, A Yellow Watermelon won Dunagan author of the year honors in Georgia in 2009 and was placed on the inaugural list of 25 books young Georgians should read. But the NewSouth title that has received the most attention - from as far away as England and Australia - was a new edition of a classic: Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: The NewSouth Edition. It removed a controversial racial epithet and ignited a firestorm of criticism


Postponed until next season - Rebecca Burt.

Rebecca Rozelle Burt was born and grew up in Talladega, Alabama. She attended Auburn University, married, and later graduated from the University of Alabama at Huntsville. After teaching English in junior high and high schools in various northeastern Alabama locations, she spent the last several years of her career in the English Department of Jacksonville State University. She is the author of a novel, Facing Bulls, published in 2010 and is currently working on another novel, Because I Live Here. She lives in Anniston, Alabama, with her husband, Mack.

Ms. Burt will discuss her latest work, the non-fiction I Had a Daughter. The book is a memoir as well as a spiritual diary. Written by a mother who becomes a primary caregiver for her beloved 46-year-old daughter, the book is composed of a chronological narrative interspersed with pertinent e-mails, inner monologues, and medical data. No component of the author’s experience is omitted. Burt does, however, recognize her limitations. “I tell Rozelle’s story only as I could perceive it within the space allowed to those we love, the borders of our private inner worlds. I admit to the subjectivity of my perceptions and memories.”

This book will provide insights for any reader who has faced adversity and survived. It will also be of interest to anyone who has wondered about the mysterious ways in which we incorporate suffering and loss into our lives without falling into despair.


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