Diane B. Clifton, 334/844-5117)

Wayne Greenhaw


AUBURN -- Two Alabama authors, Wayne Greenhaw and Helen Norris, on Tuesday (April 29) will address members of an Auburn University Academy of Lifelong Learners class studying the memoirs of Alabama writers.

The presentations will be at 10 a.m., at the Auburn University Hotel and Dixon Conference Center.

The AUALL course members are using the book The Remembered Gate: Memoirs by Alabama Writers, edited by Jay Lamar and Jeannie Thompson. Essays by Greenhaw and Norris are included in the book.

Lamar, who will introduce Norris and Greenhaw at 10:15 a.m., is the associate director of AU's Center for the Arts and Humanities and editor of First Draft, the journal of the Alabama Writers' Forum. Thompson is executive editor of the journal and executive director of the Alabama Writers' Forum.

"Helen and Wayne are two of the premier writers in the state," said Lamar. "A lot of their work reflects their heritage and their sense of place in Alabama and the South."

Greenhaw, editor and publisher of The Alabama Magazine, has written 15 books of fiction and non-fiction and published hundreds of articles in regional, national and international publications. His latest book is The Long Journey.

Greenhaw, who lives in Montgomery, graduated from the University of Alabama and attended the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City College and received a certificate for completing graduate studies as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

Norris, a native of Montgomery and a graduate of the University of Alabama, is the author of four novels, four collections of short stories and two books of poetry. Her fiction and plays have received a number of awards, with stories translated into Chinese, Polish, Dutch and Tamil. Norris, who writes poetry as well as prose, was elected poet laureate by the Alabama Writer's Conclave and was commissioned by former Gov. Don Siegelman in 1999.

Mary Burkhart, director of AUALL, said she is enthusiastic about Norris and Greenhaw's visit.

"We're very excited because these are two very well known people," said Burkhart. "We're thrilled they are willing to come and share their insights into their own writing experience and, in particular, in writing memoirs."

Marjorie Fitzpatrick, a former mathematics instructor at AU, is one of the AUALL members taking the course.

"We are being introduced to authors that many of us had never heard of, and it opens up a lot of reading for us," said Fitzpatrick.

During the AUALL class, individual members take one of the essays from The Remembered Gate and make a presentation about that particular memoir.

"The class discussion is wide open as people tell their own experiences that fit into the stories we've been reading," added Fitzpatrick.

Terry Ley, also taking the AUALL class, is another former AU faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching. Ley, who was an English instructor, says that, coming from Iowa to Auburn in 1974, he finds the perspective of Southern writers intriguing.

"The themes of race, closeness of family and appreciation for the land and tradition that are developed are very interesting," said Ley. At the end of the course, several AUALL class members will present abbreviated versions of their own memoirs, and Ley says that there is so much interest in the subject that a course on writing memoirs may become a future course for AUALL.

AUALL is a member of the Elderhostel Institute Network, an international association of more than 275 Institutes for Learning in Retirement affiliated with Elderhostel Inc. Since its organization in 1990, AUALL has enjoyed more than a decade of success and growth, from a handful of members to almost 250. It is supported by annual membership fees.

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CONTACT: Jay Lamar, 334/844-4947; or Mary Burkhart, 334-844-3102.