Alabama Writers

I’ve mentioned more than once that I enjoy books with a Southern flare.  I just finished Mary Kay Andrews, Spring Fever, and loved it. I promised myself I wouldn’t buy another book before I finish what’s on my Kindle. Hmmmm.  I seem to have forgotten to include the library.  We make a trek to the local library about twice a week so the girls can load up on fresh reading materiel. This past trip I purposely didn’t step foot in the adult fiction area, I thought it would be best to take a peek at nonfiction.  It’s not like I’m going to read those, I generally just look at the pretty pictures and dream.

Yea, right! I came away with a little cookbook, OK 5 cookbooks, one’s about a local Mobile author, Eugene Walter. He’s known as Mobile’s Renaissance man. Ever heard of him?  No, take a moment and look him up.  Anyway, there’s an entire cookbook dedicated to him.

The Happy Table of Eugene Walter- Southern Spirits in Food and Drink, edited by Donald Goodman & Thomas Head

The book is a cross between the life and times of Eugene and a cookbook. Unlike most cookbooks, it’s divided into two sections: Drinks and food. I’ll let you guess which section’s larger.

I do have a point.  This little book made me think about all of the wonderful writers that have lived in, or have ties to, Alabama.  I haven’t read every great writer from Alabama and I can think of one I actually try to avoid.  But here’s a list of my favorites.

Great Alabama Writers

  1. Fannie Flagg– First let me say, that is an awesome name. Famous for her book, turned movie Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I highly recommend that book along with all of the others. She’s funny and has a way of depicting Southern small towns without resorting to cliche.
  2. Harper Lee– she’s a staple on my favorites list. I want to curl up and get lost between the pages of To Kill A Mockingbird. I long to run through town with Scout, Jem, and Dill and watch for Bo through the windows.
  3. Zora Neale Hurston. There has been a bit of discussion on where she was born, but most settle on Alabama.  I discovered her in college. It’s not her most famous book that I love.  I prefer Dust Tracks on a Road, her autobiography.
  4. Eugene Walter– a native Mobilian. I love his novel, The Untidy Pilgrim. His views on the madness of Mobile are wonderfully true. Growing up here and then reading about my city was shocking and exhilarating. It was the first book I read by a local writer.
    Grave of Eugene Walter

    Grave of Eugene Walter

    His grave holds a place of honor in a local historic cemetery. It rests next to the most famous man in Mobile history, Joe Cain- the man who brought Mardi Gras back after the Civil War.

    “Born in the land of lizard fever in sweet lunacy’s county seat. The untidy pilgrim of the world lived by the credo: When all else fails, throw a party.” –  engraved on Eugene Walter’s tombstone.

  5. Anne George–  Author of Southern Sisters Mystery Series is always a good summer read. My favorite is not part of this series, but a stand alone. This One and Magic Life,  this one takes place on Mobile Bay. She writes beautifully about the twists and thorns attached to families.
  6. Jimmy Buffet– yes, I went there. He did write a book, but I’m talking about his songs.  They make me happy.
  7. Carolyn Haines–  author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mystery Series. These are great summer reads as well. Quirky characters and dead bodies.  Perfection.


Alabama writers on my TBR list include:

  1. Truman Capote
  2. Rick Bragg
  3. Mark Childress
  4. Andy Andrews

There you go Alabama writers 101.

What writer’s can you recommend from your neck of the woods?



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