The Alabama Library Association announced its Author Awards Program winners earlier this month, and one of the recipients is Ashley M. Jones, an author and instructor at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival. Jones received the Poetry Award for her book “Magic City Gospel," which published in 2017.
The Authors Awards Committee of the Alabama Library Association Alabama seeks to promote interest in local authors and their work. Each year, the committee selects Alabama authors to receive awards in nonfiction, fiction, juvenile, young adult, and poetry.
The winners of this year’s awards include: Fiction Award— “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan, Nonfiction Award— “The Story of Alabama in Fourteen Foods” by Emily Blejwas, Young Adult Fiction Award— " Turtles All The Way Down" by John Green, Juvenile Award— Meet Miss Fancy by Irene Latham.
The Alabama Library Association also awarded Charles Ghigna, popularly known as “Father Goose,” a lifetime honor for his career authoring books, poems, and encouraging reading in children.
In 2019, Jones released “dark / / thing,” her second book of poetry. In addition to writing the blurb for the book, celebrated poet, educator, activist, and Birmingham native Sonia Sanchez also selected Jones to receive the 2019 Lucille Clifton Legacy Award from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
The Magic City Poetry festival became a 501 C-3 nonprofit in 2019. Jones says she has a lot of plans for the celebration of spoken word, which is now entering its third year. She is also now a co-director of PEN America’s Birmingham chapter, serving alongside Alina Stefanescu. Jones says the pair is working on a number of literary and social activism programs in the city, including more local events for the Magic City Poetry Festival.
“This year, we are renewing our focus on local projects, so this year’s festival is community-created, community-implemented,” said Jones in an email. “We want to serve as a source for resources for the amazing projects already in process in Birmingham, and for those ideas that just need a little support to get off the ground.”
Posted Jan 31, 2020