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Literature fans head to Harper Lee’s hometown


The Monroeville Literary Festival, a project of the Monroe County Museum, is hosting several best-selling authors and poets its famous courthouse beginning Friday. The majority of events are held in the Monroeville Courthouse, made famous as the setting for Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

The festival aims to introduce readers to new authors, celebrate well-known writers and unite the public with their favorite authors.

Guests include children’s author Charles “Father Goose” Ghigna and U.S. poet-laureate and Joy Harjo, who will be receiving the 2023 Harper Lee Award.

New writers include Lisa McNair. Her acclaimed debut book, Dear Denise, imagines a relationship she could have had with her sister killed in the 1963 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.

“We have such a varied group. We have something for everyone,” said Gail Deas, director of the Monroeville Literary Festival. She says participants will be able to mingle with authors during the two-day event.

Deas said she hopes the festival will encourage more people to pick up a book, particularly younger members of the community.

“We hope that people will realize where they can travel when they read these books and what they can learn. We’re hope that is what they will garner from it. That is our goal,” said Deas. She said highlights of the festival will be presentations of the Harper Lee Award and the Truman Capote Prize.

The Monroeville Literary Festival began in 2020. The event is now in its 26th year and runs through Saturday.

Poppy Jacobs is an international student from England interning at Alabama Public Radio. Poppy majors in Political Science and Philosophy. She plans to pursue a career in journalism after completing her studies. In her free time, Poppy enjoys watching sports, particularly soccer (“football”) and Formula 1 motorsports, as well as reading, working out and travelling with her friends.

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