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Southern Voices 2015

Southern Voices Festival 2016

A Celebration of Writing, Music and Art

An Evening With

Erik Larson

Erik Larson is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin; Thunderstruck; Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time and the Deadliest Hurricane in History; The Devil in the White City and most recently Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which hit #1 on the Times list soon after its launch.

Known for his thoroughly researched, highly compelling and exceedingly dramatic storytelling, Erik Larson turns a work of nonfiction into an engrossing page turner. He appeals to all types of readers, from scholarly historians to those who seek simple entertainment. Perhaps this is the formula of success that landed The Devil in the White City a combined total of five years on the Times hardcover and paperback bestseller lists, as well as a movie deal with Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and Paramount Pictures.

Larson's research has taken him to far-flung locales, and down innumerable strange alleys. For example, he traveled to London, Munich, Rome, Nova Scotia and Cape Cod during his research for his 2006 bestseller, Thunderstruck, as he sought to chronicle the strange intersection in the careers of Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of the wireless, and Hawley Harvey Crippen, England’s second most famous murderer.

In addition to his popularity, Larson has received much critical success, including an Edgar Award for nonfiction crime writing and a finalist for the National Book Award. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife and three daughters.

Authors Conference

Saturday, Feb. 27 - Registration: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. - The Library Theatre & The Library Plaza- Book sales and signings will follow the afternoon session. - Lunch on your own

Natalie Baszile

Natalie Baszile is the debut author of Queen Sugar, the story of a strong-willed, African-American widow and mother who inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. A moving tale involving race relations in the contemporary South, Queen Sugar is set to be adapted for television by Ava Duvernay for Oprah’s television network. Baszile has an M.A. in Afro-American Studies from UCLA and is a graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers. She currently lives in San Francisco, California.

Beth Ann Fennelly and Tom Franklin

Beth Ann Fennelly has penned three books of poetry including Tender Hooks, Unmentionables and Open House, which won her multiple prizes and critical claim. Most recently, she collaborated with her husband Tom Franklin on a novel, The Tilted World, set during the 1927 flood of the Mississippi River. Fennelly has taught poetry and nonfiction at the University of Mississippi since 2001, where she also directs the MFA program. She’s won several teaching awards including Outstanding Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year and the University of Mississippi Humanities Teacher of the Year.

A native of Dickinson, Alabama, Tom Franklin’s work has been heralded as both powerful and eloquent, drawing comparisons to the likes of William Faulkner. He is the author of five books, including Hell at the Breach, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and most recently, The Tilted World, which he co-authored with his wife Beth Ann Fennelly. The winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association’s Gold Dagger Award, Franklin currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi.

Craig Johnson

Craig Johnson is the bestselling author of the popular and critically acclaimed series, Longmire, which serves as the basis for the hit A&E series of the same name. Titles from the popular series have won many awards, such as the Wyoming Historical Association’s Book of the Year for Death Without Company. Dark Horse was named a Publisher’s Weekly best book of the year in 2008 and Hell is Empty was named Best Mystery of the Year by Library Journal. Johnson lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

Jamie Mason

Jamie Mason has written two novels including Three Graves Full and most recently, Monday’s Lie, a gripping psychological thriller surrounding the marriage of a seemingly conventional couple. Compared to Gillian Flynn and the Coen brothers, Mason is known for her “Hitchcockian menace.” Though Mason considers herself a veteran nomad, she currently lives in the mountains of western North Carolina. In addition to writing, she enjoys films, Formula 1 racing, NFL football, coffee and whiskey.

Laura Lane McNeal

A native of New Orleans, Laura Lane McNeal spent most of her career in advertising, but in 2005, when the devastation of Hurricane Katrina left her rebuilding her life, she decided to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a writer. As a result, her debut novel, Dollbaby, was born. A coming-of-age novel set in civil rights-era New Orleans, Dollbaby was chosen as a 2015 SIBA Book Award finalist and has received wide critical acclaim and comparisons to Sue Monk Kidd, Pat Conroy and Kathryn Stockett.

Mark Pryor

Mark Pryor’s newest released thriller, Hollow Man, has been called “as sharp and slick as a switchblade” by Lee Child. Told from the viewpoint of the most unreliable of narrators, a psychopath, Hollow Man is psychological storytelling at its best. Both an Englishman and Texan, Assistant District Attorney and writer, Pryor is also the author of five Hugo Marston mysteries, which follow the US Embassy’s Chief of Security as he solves crimes on the streets of Paris. Pryor resides in Austin, Texas.

Concert Event

Kellylee Evans

“Try to put singer/songwriter Kellylee Evans into any one musical category, and marvel as she effortlessly soars over, under, dances around, or bursts through it. Her electric, eclectic vibe is a heady brew of jazz, soul, blues, Caribbean and more.” ~ Jazz Review

A rising star from Canada, singer/songwriter Kellylee Evans will immediately draw you in with her naturally magnetic charm, effervescence and a musical spirit critics have described as “effortless.” Her chameleon-like performances have gained worldwide acclaim for their electrifying conjuring of soul, pop and hip-hop grooves that feel simultaneously fresh and retro. With three albums and two Juno awards to her credit, Kellylee continues to awe and impress audiences around the globe with her undeniably current sound.

Tickets $25

Wednesday, February 24, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.



The Art of

Heart of Dixie Rug Bee

The process that goes into creating these intricate art pieces goes beyond the art of hooking strips of wool. It starts with selecting a design, often times an original design such as a family crest or landscape scene taken from an individual photograph. Then the creative process moves to determining the colors and textual wools, and many of the women dye their own wool colors to complement their design. The next step is to cut the wool into long strips. The width of the wool cut is determined by the itricacy and detail required in the design - the finer the detail, the thinner the cut. At this point, the design is transferred onto a specialized background fabric and rug hooking begins; which in itself is a creative process dependent on the embellishments and textual design desired.

Through the years, the Birmingham rug hookers have had selected art works in national exhibits, publications and rug hooking books. They continue to advance their skills and craft. but importantly, they have found great friendships and mutual enjoymeny in this creative and beautiful art form.

The Heart of Dixie Rug Bees are a group of women rug hookers that have been meeting for 26 years to pursue their artistic craft. The current membership includes 17 women from the Birmingham and surrounding area that meet weekly to share their knowledge and works of art.