Make Birmingham your first stop with this ultimate guide to Alabama’s literary destinations

When it comes to exploring Birmingham’s rich history of writers and creative thinkers, there’s romance in this Magic City, ya’ll.

Author Randi Pink via randypink.com

While the entire state of Alabama is a book lover’s dream, did you know that Birmingham is home to so many writers?

Everyone from literary figures, iconic authors, more journalists than you can shake a stick at, editors, novelists, filmmakers, you name it, we’ve reported it, told it, written it, edited it, produced it, you get the picture.

Ever heard of Irita bradford van doren? She’s obscure, but what a life as an editor! What about Howell Raines? You know him? He ran The New York Times for a stint, and won a Pulitzer in 1992.

Walker Percy, via Encyclopædia Britannica

Walker Percy? (I hope you know this one!) Born at St. Vincent’s Hospital, this man was a prolific writer with quite the southern life. You can read a bit more about him in this story by Weld publisher Mark Kelly.

What about Daniel Alarcón who studied at Indian Springs School? Or Ibrahim Fawal, who spent time at Birmingham Southern College? More literary heavy hitters from Birmingham.

So, we’re sharing the same skyline as this long list of successful creatives. That’s a thought to consider. Who knows? Maybe it’s the way the moon hangs over the Magic City that’s inspired so many from here. I hope Birmingham inspires you, like it does me, too.

Theatrical poster via Paramount Pictures

That reminds me, did you know that Joe David Brown, another Birmingham resident, wrote a novel called Addie Pray, which became the inspiration for the film Paper Moon?

For 2017 I’m dedicated to first-time novelists, so I’m into Randi Pink, a Birmingham author who debuted her first novel in September 2016. It’s called Into White, and I can’t wait to give it a read.

“It’s a controversial book in some ways,” Pink said in an interview with WSFA, “So it helps to level with people and be open about my own story.”

You can read an excerpt and purchase the book here. And, if you’re wanting to treat yourself, how about reading Into White at one Birmingh

“Into White” by Randi Pink. Cover Art courtesy of Macmillan.

am’s signature coffee spots? We have a guide for that, too!

Beyond Birmingham: Try These Top Three Literary Stops
Ready to hit the road, book lovers? Check out the Alabama portion of the Southern Literary Trail for these literary spots throughout the state:

  1. The Fitzgerald Museum in Montgomery is a must-see attraction for fans of Zelda and F. Scott. If you are inspired by their way(s) with words, along with their tragic and passionate lives together, then we must be friends. Oh, the Lost Generation!Seriously, the Fitzgerald Museum is the first destination on my 2017 Alabama literary travel list, right behind binge-watching Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything.  Check out the clip below:
    Maybe The Marble Ring, Birmingham’s only speakeasy, will host a viewing party. Hint, hint … Please give me a reason to wear sequins, somewhere, soon, Birmingham.

    Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan courtesty of Associated Press via New York Times

  2. Up next on the list is Ivy Green, the Helen Keller Birthplace, located in Tuscumbia. A true inspiration for all of us. This writer is unforgettable. The relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller is an encouraging tale of faith and encouragement, along with recognition.

    Actor Gregory Peck in the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird” via Hollywood Reporter

  3. The Old Courthouse Museum  in Monroeville is home to permanent exhibitions that feature two of Alabama’s literary heavy hitters: Truman Capote: A Childhood in Monroeville and Harper Lee: In Her Own Words. What a combination! Photos, postcards, drawings and other memorabilia are located inside the famed Monroe County Courthouse. There’s even talk of the “Harper Lee Trail, a multifaceted collection of new Lee-related attractions” planned for 2017.

Enjoy Birmingham and enjoy Alabama, fellow travelers. See you around!