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Media: Mountain Brook author wins 2020 Harper Lee Award

Birmingham Real-Time News



If you’re a writer, especially one connected with Alabama, there’s no higher praise than to be compared to “To Kill a Mockingbird” author Harper Lee.


Fittingly, the Alabama Writer’s Forum’s annual top prize for a distinguished writer from our home state is called the Harper Lee Award.


This year, the award goes to Patti Callahan Henry, a celebrated author of 15 books, most recently the critically acclaimed 2018 historical fiction best-seller, “Becoming Mrs. Lewis.” Henry, an Auburn University graduate, has called Mountain Brook home for nearly a decade.


“I am overwhelmed, thrilled and honored to become part of this lasting legacy,” said Henry. “Alabama has shaped my life, and my family’s life, in rich and powerful ways.”

She’ll receive the award March 6 at the Monroeville Literary Festival in Harper Lee’s hometown.


Henry grew up in Philadelphia and moved to south Florida at age 12, where she “found the sanctuary of libraries and began her slow, but steady journey into understanding the power of the story to navigate confusing times of life,” she noted in a news release about the award.


She went to Auburn for her undergraduate work and Georgia State University for her graduate degree, then lived in Atlanta for 25 years before moving to Mountain Brook with her husband, Pat, and three children in 2011.


She’s been prolific since moving to Alabama, producing six books here, including “Becoming Mrs. Lewis,” and her seventh novel, which is expected to publish in 2021.


Henry has also produced a seven-part podcast, "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis,” that pulls from the reams of material that didn’t make it into the historical novel.


The book is about the fascinating relationship between Joy Davidman and acclaimed British author C.S. Lewis, best known for his Narnia series.


Davidman, a poet, writer and mother of two from New York, became improbable pen pals with Lewis in the 1950s. The letters blossomed into a full-blown love story and led to a 10-year marriage that saw Davidman become Lewis’ muse and even co-writer before she died from cancer in 1960.


Lewis, a former atheist, and Davidman, who had disavowed Judaism, not only found love, but together found a shared Christian faith.



Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a New York Times best selling book about the relationship between Joy Davidman and Narnia author C.S. Lewis.




“Becoming Mrs. Lewis” is not only a New York Times best seller, but it earned Henry the 2019 Christy Award for Christian Fiction, which acknowledges the value and impact of the novel of faith in contemporary culture.


Henry’s other novels include “Losing the Moon”; “Where the River Runs”; “When Light Breaks”; Between the Tides”; “The Art of Keeping Secrets”; “Driftwood Summer”; “The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story”; “Coming Up for Air”; “And Then I Found You”; “The Stories We Tell”; “The Idea of Love”; “The Bookshop at Water’s End”; and “The Favorite Daughter.”


Her historical novel based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released in March 2021.


Paperback Expanded Edition Coming Mar 24, 2020

Available for pre-order now

Audiobook Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast

Available Now


Want more? patticallahanhenry.com



Shelly Haskins writes about points of pride statewide. Email your suggestions to shaskins@al.com, or tweet them to @Shelly_Haskins using #AlabamaProud.


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© 2020 by Patti Callahan Henry

patti@patticallahanhenry.com

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