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Mark Childress Wins Harper Lee Award

Mark Childress, author of seven novels and a former managing editor of The Crimson White, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Harper Lee Award as Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year.

Childress will receive the award at the Alabama Writers Symposium 0n April 25, 2014 in Monroeville, Ala., hometown to both Childress and Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The award  is presented by the Alabama Writers’ Forum. Past recipients include Gay Talese, Fannie Flagg, Rick Bragg, and Winston Groom.

It includes a Frank Fleming bronze of the Old Monroe County Courthouse, and a $5,000 honorarium.

“I am overwhelmed,” Childress said in a statement released by the Alabama Writers’ Forum. “I am basically the kind of writer who doesn’t win awards, and I am really grateful.  Harper Lee is my hero, and I am so happy to accept this award.”

Next year marks the 30th anniversary of Childress’ debut novel, “A World Made of Fire.” He is also the author of “Crazy in Alabama,” for which he wrote the movie screenplay as well, along with “V is for Victor,” “Tender,” “Gone for Good,” “One Mississippi,” and “Georgia Bottoms.”

Childress’ career began at The University of Alabama, where was joined The Crimson White as a staff writer before serving as managing editor in 1976-77. He graduated in 1978. He later worked at The Birmingham News, Southern Living magazine, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before writing fiction full-time.

(Photo from Mark Childress’ Facebook page.)