Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) in Rainsville, Alabama, held its annual Arts and Humanities Speakers Forum on April 20, 2023, with writers Taylor Brown and Caleb Johnson. The focus of this year’s forum was “A Sense of Place: Embracing Our Roots.” The authors participating were Taylor Brown (Wingwalkers, Pride of Eden, Gods of Howl Mountain, The River of Kings, Fallen Land, In the Season of Blood and Gold) and Caleb Johnson (Treeborne). The audience was also treated to readings by each author from the novels on which they are working.
Taylor Brown lives in Savannah, Georgia, after having lived in Buenos Aires, San Francisco, and North Carolina. He is the editor-in-chief of BikeBound.com and notes that he likes old motorcycles, thunderstorms, and dogs with beards. Taylor is an Eagle Scout and graduated from the University of Georgia in 2005. He has won numerous awards including the 2021 Georgia Author of the Year.
Caleb Johnson lives in Mobile, Alabama, and teaches creative writing at the University of the South. He grew up in Arley, Alabama, and studied journalism at The University of Alabama before earning his MFA in creative writing from the University of Wyoming. His nonfiction has been published in Garden & Gun, Southern Living, and The Wall Street Journal. His debut novel, Treeborne, received an honorable mention for the Southern Book Prize and was longlisted for the Crook’s Corner Book Prize.
The panel discussion was moderated by Don Noble, recipient of the 2017 Governor’s Arts Award. Dr. Noble taught American literature at the University of Alabama from 1969 until 2001. Through his work with the Alabama Public Television series, Bookmark, Noble has interviewed hundreds of writers. Noble commented that “these young men have bright futures ahead.”
Dr. David Campbell, President of NACC, began the Arts and Humanities Speaker’s Forum in 1993. Since that first year, the Forum has hosted such writers as Tom Franklin, Silas House, Michael Knight, George Singleton, Mark Powell, Janisse Ray, Mary Hood, Dori Sanders, Thomas Cook, Ron Rash, Pam Duncan, Sena Jeter Naslund, Robert McCammon, and Joshilyn Jackson.
Over 100 were in attendance for the morning session and 50 were in attendance for the afternoon Master Classes which were held with each author. In addition to the NACC student body, faculty, and staff, there were faculty from Chattanooga State Community College.
Joan Reeves, Chair of the English and Fine Arts Division, noted, “This event has always been such an important one for our students, faculty, staff, and community. We were delighted to be able to bring young writers like Taylor Brown and Caleb Johnson to our campus. Dr. Campbell showed great vision when he created this forum in 1993, and because of this, we are very fortunate to have been able to have brought such exemplary Southern writers to NACC over the last thirty years.”
The NACC chapter of Sigma Kappa Delta does have some signed copies of books by these authors available. For more information, contact Joan Reeves at 256-638-4418 or 256-228-6001, ext. 2231, or by email email@example.com.
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