University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
January 22, 2010
Contact: Alice Jackson, Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6639,  (251) 599-5626

Haines to Receive  Prestigious Harper Lee Award

Carolyn Haines, assistant professor of English and fiction coordinator at the University, has been named recipient of the 2010 Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year..

Haines will receive the award at the annual luncheon held during the Alabama Writers Symposium in Monroeville on April 30. The conference will meet April 29-May 1.

The Alabama Writer’s Forum, a partnership program of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, coordinates the process to select the Harper Lee Award recipient annually from nominations from the field. The honor is presented annually by Alabama Southern Community College at the symposium. It is made possible through a generous grant from George F. Landegger.

“We are delighted with the selection of Carolyn Haines for the 2010 Harper Lee Award,” said James A. Buford Jr., president of the Alabama Writers’ Forum Board of Directors. “On April 30, she will join 12 other distinguished writers whose contributions to the literary arts following in the tradition of Harper Lee.”

“I’m deeply honored to be the recipient of the 2010 Harper Lee Award,” said Haines. “’To Kill a Mockingbird’ had a tremendous impact on me as a young reader and helped shape my destiny to become a writer. Fine writing is part of the Alabama heritage, and I am proud to be included among the winners of this award, which bears the name of an author I so greatly admire.”

“Great congratulations to Carolyn Haines on being named the 2010 Harper Lee Award recipient, and on adding this wonderful award to her string of writing honors and accomplishments,” said Rick Bragg, last year’s recipient. “The award was one of the nicer moments of my writing life, and I hope it is that for her as well.”

Haines is the author of 10 books in the popular Sarah Booth Delaney Bones mystery series. Her latest, “Bone Appetit,” will be released in July by Minotaur Books.

She has received critical acclaim for her mystery series as well as for her stand-alone titles. “Fever Moon,” an historical thriller released in 2007, was a Book Sense notable book, and “Penumbra,” set in 1952 Mississippi, was named one of the top five mysteries of 2006 by Library Journal, a distinction given to “Hallowed Bones” in 2004.

Haines’ first anthology of short fiction, “Delta Blues,” will be released by Tyrus Books on May 1. The book includes a foreword by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman and short stories by some of the finest writers working today, including John Grisham, James Lee Burke, and Charlaine Harris. The stories focus on the Mississippi Delta blues, a unique musical form that originated in that region, combined with a crime, or noir, element.

Her first nonfiction book, “My Mother’s Witness: The Peggy Morgan Story,” tells the story of a woman who testified against Byron Dela Beckwith, the white supremacist convicted of murdering civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

Along with Mobilian Rebecca Barrett, Haines edited a collection of memories about Mobile author Eugene Walter, titled “Moments with Eugene.” Two of Haines’ general fiction novels, “Touched” and “Summer of the Redeemers,” have been reissued in trade paperback. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Haines was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. She was also the recipient of a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 1999.

She received a bachelor of arts in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1974. She received a master of arts degree from USA in 1985.

Haines, a native of Lucedale, Miss., makes her home in Semmes. She teaches the graduate and undergraduate fiction writing classes at the University.

An animal activist, she works to educate the public about the need to spay and neuter pets.
The Harper Lee Award is given annually to a living, nationally-recognized Alabama writer who has made a significant, lifelong contribution to Alabama letters. It includes a cash prize and a bronze sculpture by Frank Fleming of the Monroe County Courthouse clock tower. The courthouse was the setting for Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

This year is the 13th annual Harper Lee Award. Previous recipients include Rick Bragg (2009), Rebecca Gilman (2008), William Cobb (2007), Wayne Greenhaw (2006), Andrew Hudgins (2005), Sonia Sanchez (2004), Rodney Jones (2003), Mary Ward Brown (2002), Sena Jeter Naslund (2001), Helen Norris (2000), Madison Jones (1999), and Albert Murray (1998).

For more information, contact the Alabama Writers’ Forum at (334) 265-7728, e-mail, or visit and


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