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Southern Voices Guests 2012

Scott Turow

Scott Turow set the bar for legal thrillers in 1987 with the publication of his explosive debut novel, Presumed Innocent. Since that time, the writer and attorney has penned nine best-selling novels, including The Burden of Proof, Pleading Guilty, Personal Injuries and most recently, Innocent, the long-awaited sequel to his first book. His books have been translated into more than 25 languages and have sold more than 25 million copies worldwide.

Turow continues to work as an attorney, concentrating on white collar criminal defense while also devoting a substantial amount of time to pro bono matters. In one such case, he represented Alejandro Hernandez in the successful appeal that preceded Hernandez’s release after nearly 12 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Mr. Turow has been active in a number of charitable causes, including organizations that promote literacy, education and legal rights. Along with Southern Voices alumni Greg Iles and Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow plays in the Rock Bottom Remainders, a musical group of best-selling authors that raises funds for various literary charities.

Karin Slaughter

Keynote Speaker: Karin Slaughter is the international and New York Times best-selling author of several novels, including the Grant County and Will Trent series. Most recently, she combined the two series to form a third, which includes the novels Undone, Broken and Fallen. Known for her razor sharp writing style, Ms. Slaughter’s novels have sold over 20 million copies worldwide and have been published in nearly 30 languages.  Dubbed as “one of the best crime novelists in America,” Karen Slaughter, a Georgia native, attributes much of her success to libraries and is founder of the SaveTheLibraries project.

Jeffrey Stepakoff

Jeffrey Stepakoff began his career writing for film and television in Hollywood, and has credits on 36 television episodes. He has written for 14 different series and has worked on seven prime-time staffs, producing hundreds of hours of internationally-recognized television, including the Emmy-winning The Wonder Years, Sisters and Dawson’s Creek, which he co-executive produced. His debut novel, Fireworks Over Toccoa, was a Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance "Okra" Pick and an American Booksellers Association Indie Next List Notable.  His second novel, The Orchard, also a SIBA pick, was released in July 2011.

Mark Childress

Mark Childress is the author of seven novels, including Crazy in Alabama, One Mississippi, and his latest novel, Georgia Bottoms, which Fannie Flagg dubbed as “another laugh-out-loud Southern classic.” Born in Monroeville, Alabama, Childress is a graduate of the University of Alabama, a former reporter for The Birmingham News, Features Editor of Southern Living magazine and Regional Editor of The Atlanta Journal- Constitution. He has been writing fiction full time since 1987.

James L. Swanson

James L. Swanson is the Edgar Award–winning author of the New York Times best-seller Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer. In 2009, Patricia Cornwell named Swanson's Manhunt and Truman Capote's In Cold Blood as the two best nonfiction crime books ever published. His newest book, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse, brings to life two epic events of the Civil War era: the thrilling chase to apprehend Confederate president Jefferson Davis in the wake of the Lincoln assassination and the momentous 20-day funeral that took Abraham Lincoln’s body home to Springfield, Illinois.

Vanessa Diffenbaugh

Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the author of the astounding best-selling debut novel, The Language of Flowers, which chronicles the story of an 18-year-old girl, Victoria, who was recently emancipated from the foster care system. Released in late August 2011, the novel has received critical acclaim. A foster mother herself, Vanessa Diffenbaugh is the founder of the Camellia Network, whose purpose is to create a nationwide movement to support youth transitioning from foster care.

Anna Jean (A. J.) Mayhew

Anna Jean (A.J.) Mayhew writes from her vivid memories of growing up in the segregated South. Her debut novel, The Dry Grass of August, won the prestigious Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Society, joining past winners Lee Smith and Reynolds Price. The novel is also a 2011 Okra Pick of Southeastern Independent Booksellers Alliance and a candidate for the New Writers Award of the Great Lakes Colleges Association. Mayhew is currently working on her second novel, Tomorrow’s Bread.

Arthur Price

Friends Gallery - Theatre Level • Artwork on display through March

Arthur Price is an artist, gardener and visionary who has imaginatively painted since he was a child. An Alabama native, Price studies myths, fables and legends of many cultures past and present. After studying at the Atlanta College of Art, he and his wife, fellow artist and gardener Caren, moved to a farm near the Cahaba River in Shelby County, Alabama, where they grow organic vegetables and herbs and care for their horses and rescued dogs and cats.
Arthur’s work reminds the viewer of the harmony, peaceful balance and rejuvenation offered by nature. His work manifests in the form of large, un-stretched canvases stained with chimerical veils of muted, monochromatic washes that combine before the eyes into ethereal beings, emerging from and merging with shadows. They give a momentary glimpse into a timeless dimension of our world where benevolent spirits are at work and play.

Arthur paints in a small studio imbued by nature, where birds nest in the rafters. When the studio is not large enough for the size of the canvas on which he loves to work, he moves outside to the trees and hangs the canvas from branches using a pulley system of his own invention. Arthur spends his days in faded overalls, transforming canvas into mystical wonderlands, influenced by the surrounding woods.

Arthur’s artistic motivation is in the “honoring of imagination through the personification of nature. My pieces have serious and fantastical images of people, animals and spirits that are submerged into nature. They are things that people will immediately recognize. They are interesting yet unusual combinations, from floating spirits to ancient ceremonies to sea turtles gathered on a beach. They tend to combine in dreamlike ways.”

Price’s work has captivated public attention since his days in art school, and are now amongst many private and public collections, including Alabama Power, Baptist Montclair Hospital, Mountain Brook Country Club, Stillwater Country Club, Cantina and GianMarco’s restaurants.