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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

You Just Never Know

"Success Occurs When Your Dreams Get Bigger Than Your Excuses."

Editorial Photo Credit: 

Dear Friends,

Some things we dream about having and never get, and other things we never dreamed and then they come knocking on the door. You just never know.  About twelve years ago, I was invited to speak at the Monroeville Literary event (home of Harper Lee). I spoke on a stormy Saturday morning in the courthouse where Atticus fought his honorary battle. I read from my book, Between the Tides, where the main character receives a signed copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. I believed that was as close as I would come to being a part of the legend and literary influence of that powerful book. And it was enough for me. I was thrilled. 

Now, all these years later I received a call that I had been awarded the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year Award. I cried. That was my initial reaction. Not “finally” or “Oh, I've hoped for so long” but…a flood of gratitude that came out as tears. 

Sometimes we just don’t dream big enough but our body of work dreams for us. And that’s what happened here. 

So, here’s to our work and our creations out there in the world doing the dreaming for us. 

I am so excited about so many things coming up. Read below! 

We’ll dig into “What I Found” this month on my never-ending quest for the book, podcast, quote, item, etc… that thrills me on this journey.  

The first thing I want to talk about is the EXPANDED EDITION paperback version of BECOMING Mrs. Lewis. 

We have been working on this for months and months, and I'm thrilled to tell you about it. With French flaps and deckled edges, this edition will have the following:  

Coming in Expanded Paperback Edition March 24, 2020 

New expanded edition includes:

  • A map of Oxford

  • An expanded discussion guide with 20+ questions for book clubs

  • A timeline of Jack and Joy's Live

  • Joy's (imagined) letter to Jack

  • 10 Things You May Not Know About Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis's Love Story

  • A Behind the Scenes Essay: Oxford—The City

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice. 


News 📢 I Want to Share 

“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.” — Patti Callahan Henry

Patti Callahan Henry Announced as

2020 Harper Lee Award Winner

The Monroeville Literary Festival and the Alabama Writer's Forum recently announced that Patti Callahan Henry of Mountain Brook is the recipient of the 2020 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer.  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 an appreciation of Alabama’s strong literary heritage with a commitment to its continuation. 

On March 6, Henry will receive her award at the Monroeville Literary Festival, a project of Coastal Alabama Community College and other organizations in Monroeville, Harper Lee’s hometown.  View Past Winners.  

The award is named for Harper Lee, whose novel To Kill a Mockingbird has sold more than 30 million copies.

Past Winners


What I Found 

A Special 🏆 Historical Mention 

Honoring Harper Lee | To Kill a Mockingbird

Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In honor of my recent distinguished Harper Lee Award, I found this special article to commemorate the late Harper Lee, a Monroeville native. 

To Kill a Mockingbird is the fifth most checked-out book in the history of the New York Public Library, and the second most checked out novel. Most recently announced to celebrate its 125th anniversary—named as a "Top 10 Book of All Time."   

Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960. It won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature, read in most high schools and middle schools. The plot and characters are loosely based on Lee’s experiences in Monroeville in the 1930s. To Kill a Mockingbird was Lee’s only published book until Go Set a Watchman, an earlier draft of the novel, was published in 2015. Lee died in 2016 at the age of 89.


An ✍ Essay 

The Southern Woman

By Mary Miller  

I sat down one morning in the quiet and found this essay by Mary Miller. It’s beautiful. The language; the rhythm; the honesty. I bet you’ll love it, too.  Click Here: The Southern Woman


A 💌 Quote 

By Mark Nepo 

‘“We work so hard to get somewhere, to realize a dream, to arrive at some destination, that we often forget that though some satisfaction may be waiting at the end of our endurance and effort, there is great and irreplaceable aliveness in the steps along the way.” Mark Nepo


A 📺 Video 

Ted Talk


I have always been fascinated by the Gaelic (Irish) language — the Irish in me feeling it sounds like a song. This Ted Talk woos me every time. This line brings my heart to its knees “What is your soul’s language?" Click here: A Ted Talk


And Book 🚗 🧳✈Tour

— I am packing again

(if you love packing, don’t tell me. It’s my albatross)

to come see you (hopefully) and talk about Mrs. Lewis!

We’ll have the Expanded Edition and the podcast episodes all finished!

With Love and Gratitude, 



About the Author

and Podcast Host 

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction),  BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan).  

In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner "Book of the Year.” ; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.  

The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launched,  October 2019.  The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released on January 7, 2020, and available now.  The new expanded Becoming Mrs. Lewis paperback edition will launch on March 24, 2020, and available for pre-order now. 

In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released.  

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER (writing as Patti Callahan Henry—Southern Contemporary Fiction) was launched on June 4, 2019, and THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella released October 8, 2019, and available now.

A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

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