Updated: Jan 26, 2020
The Monroeville Literary Festival and the Alabama Writers’ Forum are pleased to announce that Patti Callahan Henry (Mountain Brook, AL) is the recipient of the 2020 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer.
A New York Times bestselling author of fifteen novels including the critically-acclaimed historical novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, Henry is also a USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and the Globe and Mail bestseller. Henry hosts the popular seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launched in October 2019. She is also the recipient of The Christy Award for Christian Fiction — A 2019 Winner "Best Book of the Year."
Henry’s 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, Becoming Mrs. Lewis (written as Patty Callahan), and The Favorite Daughter. In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released.
Other awards for her fiction include a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has been published in numerous languages, and her articles and essays have appeared in Southern Living, PINK, Writer’s Digest, Garden and Gun, Portico Magazine, Love Magazine (UK), Red Magazine (UK), Atlanta Journal, Birmingham Magazine, and more. Her essays can also be found in anthologies and collections such as Our Prince of Scribes: Writers Remember Pat Conroy; Southern Writers Writing, and State of the Heart.
Of her award Henry said, “I am overwhelmed, thrilled and honored to become part of this lasting legacy. Alabama has shaped my life, and my family’s life, in rich and powerful ways. I am overwhelmed and ecstatic to join the distinguished ranks of the other Harper Lee Award winners. Thank you from the bottom of my writer’s heart for this distinguished recognition: I am so happy to accept it.”
Growing up in Philadelphia, Patti learned early the value of storytelling. At the age of twelve, her family moved to South Florida where Patti found the sanctuary of libraries and began her slow but steady journey into understanding the power of story to navigate confusing times in life, she said. Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. For 25 years she was a resident of Atlanta, then she moved to Mountain Brook in the summer of 2011 with her husband, Pat, and three children. She has written six books in Alabama, including Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and her seventh novel, forthcoming in 2021.
Alabama Writers Awards
The presentations of the Alabama Writers Awards is a highlight of the Monroeville Literary Festival. The recipient of the Harper Lee Award (named after the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird) is selected through a process coordinated by the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary arts organization funded by the Alabama State Council on the Arts. The recipient of the Eugene Current- Garcia Award is selected by the Association of College Teachers of Alabama (ACETA), a diverse organization representing faculty at all of Alabama’s two-year, four-year, and doctoral institutions. Both awards are funded by the generous sponsorship of Mr. George F. Landegger. The Truman Capote Prize for Alabama's Distinguished Writer of Literary Non-Fiction or the Short Story is awarded by a selection committee chaired by Dr. Don Noble of Tuscaloosa. This award is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ms. Dianne Lawson Baker.
Past Harper Lee Award Winners
The Harper Lee Award
For Alabama's Distinguished Writer
The Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer is awarded each year at the Monroeville Literary Festival, hosted by Coastal Alabama Community College in Monroeville. The annual award recognizes the lifetime achievement of a writer who was born in Alabama or whose literary career developed in the state. The recipient is selected through a process coordinated by the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a statewide literary arts organization founded in appreciation of Alabama’s strong literary heritage with a commitment to its continuation.
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