University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations


March 2, 2004
Contact: Contact: Renee Paul, (251) 460-6640

USA Hosts Eugene Walter Writers Festival

Writers of fiction, nonfiction, screenplays and poetry are invited to attend the University of South Alabama’s first Eugene Walter Writers Festival on April 2-4 at the Radisson Admiral Semmes Hotel.

T.R. Pearson, author of “Polar” and hailed as “the Faulkner of the New South,” and Les Standiford, author of the critically acclaimed “Last Train to Paradise” and the popular John Deal mystery series, will be the keynote speakers for the event, as well as a host of favorite authors from the area.

Editors Liz Scheier of Bantam, Douglas Pepper of Crown, and Ashley Gordon of River City will be on hand to talk about what publishers are looking for these days.

Eugene Walter

New York literary agents Marian Young of the Young Agency and Gary Morris of the Black Agency will talk about the role of agents and what type of fiction they like to represent.

“The English and Creative Writing departments at USA have wanted to get involved with a writer’s conference for a long time,” USA English department chair Dr. Sue Walker said.

Walker, who was recently named Poet Laureate of Alabama, noted that “we have some extremely talented writers in all genres. This conference is designed to showcase that talent.”

The festival also features writing contests in several categories including best novel, short story, creative nonfiction, poetry and screenwriting. Winning entries have been selected and will be announced at the conference.

The top three award winners in the “best novel” category (all genres) will have their works read by a New York literary agent. Winners in other categories will receive cash awards.

The writing contest awards have been named after local authors, and the conference is named after Mobile’s own Eugene Walter.

Walter, who died in 1998, was a native of Mobile and one of the founders of the Paris Review. He was also awarded the Lippincott Award for fiction, a prestigious British award, and was an acclaimed author of cookbooks, poetry and music, as well as the visual arts.

“We want to celebrate writing,” Walker said. “This is an inclusive conference for all writers in all genres. It’s going to be exciting and educational, as well as offer opportunities for writers to meet members of the publishing industry.”

“Many conferences are designed for one specific type of writing. We’re different. We’ll have mysteries, literary, poetry, nonfiction, short stories. We want to welcome all writers.”

More information on the conference can be found at or by calling the USA English department at 460-6146.

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