Top Menu FAQ Membershipts etc

Search the catalog above.

Southern Voices Guests 2017

Rebecca Wells

And the YA-YA Sisterhood

In a new theater work based on her #1 New York Times best-selling novel Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, author and actor Rebecca Wells summons the Ya-Yas, bringing to the stage all of the spirit and energy of the world’s wildest and most beloved chosen-sister tribe. Wells embodies the indelible characters from her novels and transforms theaters into Pecan Grove in Thornton, Louisiana.  In between storytelling, Wells shares personal stories and insights into her own creative process, including the real-life inspiration for the Ya-Yas. With honesty and compassion, she openly addresses the challenging topics of feminism, racism and spirituality in today’s world and in her work.  

Rebecca, like the Ya-Yas, reminds us that imagination and love are essential to overcoming hardship, that a little humor heals most wounds, and that a good story can literally set us free.  After an evening in her world, she leaves the audience repeating the three sweetest words in the English language . . . tell me more.

Lou Berney

Lou Berney is the two-time Edgar-nominated author of The Long and Faraway Gone, Whiplash River and Gutshot Straight.  He’s written feature screenplays and created television pilots for, among others, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Focus Features, ABC and Fox. He teaches in the Red Earth MFA program at Oklahoma City University.

Chris Bohjalian

Chris Bohjalian is the author of 19 books, most of which were New York Times best sellers. His work has been translated into over 30 languages and adapted into feature films. His most recent novel, The Guest Room, a story of human trafficking, a marriage in crisis and two remarkable women, was published earlier this year. Bohjalian’s new novel, The Sleepwalker, will be released on January 10, 2017.

C.J. Box

C. J. Box is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of 21 novels including the Joe Pickett series. A recipient of many literary awards, his novels have been translated into 27 languages and optioned for both film and television. Over ten million copies of his novels have been sold in the U.S. alone. His newest Joe Pickett novel is Off the Grid. Box currently resides outside Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Julie Cantrell

Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, has served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and is a recipient of the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Fellowship. She is the author of Into the Free, which received Christy Awards for Best Debut Novel and Book of the Year 2013, as well as the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. The Feathered Bone is her third and most recent novel. Cantrell lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Rabia Chaudry

Rabia Chaudry is a wife, mother, attorney and currently a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace where she researches the intersection of religion and violent extremism. She is also a vocal public advocate of Adnan Sayed, whose controversial murder conviction is the center of the most popular podcast in history, Serial. She is the co-host and co-producer of the hit podcast “Undisclosed,” with over 100 million downloads. Adnan’s Story is her first book.

Kristy Woodson Harvey

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the best-selling author of Dear Carolina, Lies and Other Acts of Love, and the forthcoming Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple. Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and son.

Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of The Good Girl and Pretty Baby.  Her first novel, The Good Girl, received a Strand Critics Nomination for Best First Novel and was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards in Debut Goodreads Author and in Mystery & Thriller for 2014.  Her newest book, Don’t You Cry, was released to rave reviews in May, 2016. Kubica lives outside of Chicago where she enjoys photography, gardening and caring for the animals at a local shelter.

Michael Farris Smith

Michael Farris Smith is the award-winning author of Rivers and The Hands of Strangers. Rivers was named in numerous Best Books of the Year lists and garnered the 2014 Mississippi Author Award for Fiction. His short fiction has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and his essays have appeared in The New York Times, Catfish Alley and Writer’s Bone. His newest novel, Desperation Road, will be released in February 2017. He lives in Columbus, Mississippi.

Karen White

Karen White is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of 22 novels, including Flight Patterns and The House on Tradd Street, the first in a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her 23rd novel, The Guests on South Battery, will be released in January 2017. Though she hails from a long line of Southerners, she spent the majority of her youth in London, England. Today, she resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bethanne and Darius Hill

Bethanne Bethard Hill was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and raised in Birmingham. She is a 1985 graduate of the Alabama School of Fine Arts and holds a BFA in painting and sculpture from Birmingham-Southern College. Bethanne works from her studio in the carriage house behind their home, where she paints and illustrates full time. Her interests are driving back roads and listening to bluegrass music. As a young artist, her first great influence was primitive art, specifically Australian Aboriginal art. The bold outlines, patterns and simplified shapes seemed to directly convey the power of the animals depicted. Also of great interest are old barns, churches, houses, cemeteries and animals. All works are acrylic paint on wood, paper or canvas. Some have india ink and colored pencil, as well. Bethanne’s work can be found in cover illustrations and interior art on numerous books and CDs, as well as the permanent collections of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Alabama Power, Children’s Hospital of Alabama and many private collections throughout the country.

Darius Hill is Chair of the Visual Arts Department at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. He holds a BFA in printmaking from the Atlanta College of Art and an MFA in studio from the University of Alabama. Hill’s 3D mixed-media pieces are sculptural and architectural. He has earned numerous honors and awards including Operation New Birmingham Best in Show Award at the Magic City Art Connection and was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Darius’s works have been selected by many juried exhibitions such as the Red Clay Survey, Huntsville and the Energen Exhibition, Birmingham, and are represented in numerous museum, corporate and private collections throughout the U.S.

Bethanne, Darius and their three children, Olivia, Esme and Atticus, live in Birmingham.

Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM • Friends Gallery Theatre Level •Free and open to the public