As I mentioned earlier, I have been involved in the AL.com Red Clay Readers Book Club study of To Kill a Mockingbird. On Friday, April 25th the book club culminated in a round table discussion of the book lead by Alec Harvey and featuring this year’s Harper Lee Award recipient, Mark Childress, the wonderful Robert Inman, and Executive Director of Alabama Writers’ Forum, Jeanie Thompson.
Jessica Sawyer-Rigby, the dynamic force behind this great endeavor, was wonderful at getting things organized and keeping us on track. I was thrilled and honored when she approached me to be a part of the study by joining other Alabama writers in recording a video of my impressions of the the novel and its influence on my own writing.
I spent a great weekend in Monroeville, AL, the real-life Maycomb, attending the Alabama Writer’s Symposium’s Conference where Mark Childress was honored with this year’s Harper Lee Award. Childress is a delightful writer and speaker and I enjoyed meeting him on Saturday. We were even given a reading of his WIP!
Friday night, I attended the hometown production of To Kill a Mockingbird in the Monroe Country Courthouse. The Mockingbird Players work tirelessly to present the production each year. It was quite the experience to watch the trial of Tom Robinson from the balcony of the courtroom. I really got a feel for the inspiration for Harper Lee’s novel and it was exciting to be in the town that produced such wonderful writers as Harper Lee, Truman Capote and this year’s recipient, Mark Childress. It is an experience I’d recommend to anyone interested in literature. The town retains it quaint atmosphere and, of course, the Southern hospitality flows as freely as the sweet tea.
For those who wish to take a peek at the articles and videos, you can find the whole study on AL.com. I was particularly happy to hear from attendees how the study was a good teaching tool in the classroom, as well as a great way to join in a book club discussion in the age of computers and social media. Many people expressed how nice it is to be able to participate in a book club on-line.
Red Clay Readers book club is considering doing a quick summer study of several books. Maybe a little light summer reading. And look for a study of one of Mark Childress’ books. Not sure what is in store, but I’ll keep you informed.
It’s a wonderful experience!