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Authors Michael Knight and Nanci Kincaid To Speak at Alabama Writers' Conferences

Posted: Apr 14, 2009

 On Thursday, April 16, Calhoun Community College will host its Eighth Annual Writers’ Conference. The featured author for the 2009 conference will be Alabama native Michael Knight. The conference will begin at 9:00 am Thursday in the Aerospace Training Center on Calhoun's Decatur, Alabama, campus, and there will also be an event Thursday evening starting at 7 pm at the Princess Theatre in downtown Decatur. The guest author for the Sixth Annual Writers’ Conference was Mississippi native Clifton Taulbert, author of Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored and Eight Habits of the Heart.

Mobile born Michael Knight is the author of the award-winning novel Divining Rod, two story collections, Dogfight and Other Stories and Goodnight, Nobody, and a collection of two novellas entitled The Holiday Season. His fiction has appeared in Esquire, The New Yorker, Oxford American and Paris Review among others and has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories and New Stories from the South: The Year's Best.. Knight directs the creative writing program at the University of Tennessee.

Jonathan Miles in The New York Times Book Review says of Knight : “Michael Knight has the rare power to make a setting breathe, to invest it with a vitality that seems as authentic and intense as the pulse beats of his characters." The Mobile Press Register declares that “Nobody writes about the contemporary Southern upper middle class better than Michael Knight.”

Author and English professor Anita Miller Garner writes of The Holiday Season, published in 2007: “In the first novella, The Holiday Season, Knight keeps the focus in one main character—a narrator reminiscent of Walker Percy’s Binx Bolling in The Moviegoer—as the author shows us the uncomfortable unraveling of family traditions when adult children start families of their own and parents age and die. Regarding the second novella, Garner writes that Love at the End of the Year "could be a screenplay for an ensemble film. This fast-paced account of one New Year’s Eve in Mobile will convince you, no matter how dysfunctional your own holidays, that you actually dodged the juggernaut. …Part of the delight is seeing how Knight takes multiple points of view and renders into fiction just how small the state of Alabama is, how “connected” our lives are, even in the twenty-first century. “

Garner concludes with this observation: “The Holiday Season is not so much about the holiday season as it is about the changes in the structure of relationships and the dynamics of families. That it is set on our beloved Alabama Gulf Coast is lagniappe.”

Speaking of lagniappe, on Tuesday, April 21, 2009, Athens State University alumna Nanci Kincaid, author of five novels including the recently published Eat, Drink, and Be from Mississippi and a short story collection Pretending the Bed is a Raft, will speak at the Athens State library  at 2 pm as a part of Nanci Kincaid Day. The title story of Kincaid’s short story collection was made into the film My Life Without Me.

Following the 2 pm talk and reading on the second floor of the library, there will be a reception in the Founder Parlour on the ASU campus. Kincaid announced earlier this spring that she is donating her papers to the Athens State University archives. Nanci Kincaid, who was born in Tallahassee, Florida, currently divides her time between California and Hawaii.

---Penne J. Laubenthal

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