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Alabama Fiction

Kay Cornelius (1933-2017) of Huntsville was a successful romance author of over a dozen novels published between 1985 and 2005. Vicki Covington of Birmingham published her first of five novels, Gathering Home in 1988. It is set in Birmingham like her last two. William Cobb was born in Alabama and moved to Montevallo in Shelby County to teach at the University of Montevallo in 1963. His most critically acclaimed novel is A Walk Through Fire published in 1992. Daniel Wallace is a Birmingham native who is the director of the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina, and the author of six novels. His latest book, Extra-Ordinary Adventures (2017) is set in Birmingham, but his most successful book, Big Fish (1998) was set in the fictional town of Ashland, Alabama. It was a New York Times best-seller. Sena Jeter Naslund was born and raised in Birmingham and went to college there. She has published seven novels, notably Four Spirits (2003) a fictional take on the 1963 racist bombing of the 16th Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham which killed four young African-American girls. It was a New York Times Notable Book. Naslund directs the MFA Program at Spalding University in Louisville. The first novel of Gin Phillips, also from Birmingham, The Well and the Mine, was awarded the 2009 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana, but raised in Huntsville. Her first novel, published when she was 26, is Homegoing (2016). It received the Hemingway Foundation PEN Award for 2017, the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award and the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” Award. Caleb Johnson is from Arley, Alabama, in Winston County. He is the author of Treeborne (2019) which was one of Library Journal’s “Books to Get Now,” one of Southern Living’s “Best New Books,” and an honorable mention for the Southern Book Prize.

-- George Brosi