Free Anabranch workshops for teachers, writers set for Friday at Montgomery Campus


A series of free workshops for teachers and aspiring authors will take place Friday on Troy University’s Montgomery Campus as part of Anabranch, Alabama’s three-day celebration of literature and the humanities.

Marking a collaboration between the Alabama Book Festival, Old Alabama Town, the Alabama Humanities Foundation and the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Anabranch will include humanities-focused speakers, presentations and educational offerings. The event will culminate with the annual book festival in Montgomery’s Old Alabama Town on Saturday.

The celebration’s name, Anabranch, comes from the section of a river or stream that diverts from the main channel or stem of the watercourse and rejoins the main stem downstream. Just as the stream eventually comes together again, the vision behind the literary Anabranch is “a connected Alabama where people communicate freely about big ideas that can and will improve quality of life for people in Alabama and beyond.”

Friday’s workshops, a part of the University’s sponsorship of the festival, take place in Whitley Hall and feature authors sharing their insights on particular writing genres. Teachers have the opportunity to earn continuing education units.

Dr. Natalie Robertson and producers of the documentary-in-progress, “110: The Story of the Last Enslaved Africans Brought to America” will kick off the workshops with the discussion, “The Clotilda and Africatown,” from 9 a.m. to noon in rooms 140/141.

Authors Irene Latham and Charles Waters will present “Writing for Young People I,” from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by “Writing for Young People II” by Bethany Hegedus, from 11 a.m. to noon in room 318.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival will present “Alabama Story,” introducing participants to the little-known, true story on which the play “Alabama Story” is based. The play unfolds as a lesson on censorship, prejudice and the power of books. Drawing from history, theater and communication studies, participants will examine the play and related texts. Teachers will develop innovative, curriculum-appropriate assignments for their students. The workshop will take place in the Whitley Hall Gold Room, located on the second floor, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Also at 1:30 p.m. in Whitley Hall room 318, Randi Pink, author of “Into White” and “Girls Like Us,” will present the workshop, “Young Adult Writing I,” followed at 2:30 p.m. by “Young Adult Writing II” by S.F. Henson, award-winning author of “Devils Within.”

On Saturday, the Alabama Book Festival will offer author panels from 9 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. Recipients of Troy University’s Hall-Waters Prize, songwriter/musicians Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, will speak on “Creating the Muscle Shoals Sound” beginning at noon at Venue D.

In addition to author panels, the festival will include literary-related exhibits, a variety of children’s activities, food vendors and book sales of the works of participating authors.

Sponsors of the 2019 festival include the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Troy University, Old Alabama Town/Landmarks Foundation, the Alabama Humanities Foundation, the Alabama Writers’ Forum, the City of Montgomery, the Montgomery City-County Public Library, the Alabama Library Association, the Alabama Bench and Bar Historical Society and the Alabama Tourism Department.

For more information, visit the festival website.