For immediate release | May 31, 2011

Tayari Jones among the featured authors at ALTAFF’s "Celebrating Southern Writers" event at ALA Annual Conference

PHILADELPHIA - The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), will host “Celebrating Southern Writers” from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. CDT on Saturday, June 25 at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

This panel will celebrate authors from the region. Featured authors include Tayari Jones, Jennifer Niven, Kevin Wilson, John Hart, Pat McEnulty, and Kathleen Kent. The program will be moderated by Barbara Hoffert, editor, Prepub Alert, Library Journal. An author book signing will follow. Some books will be given away and others will be sold at a generous discount.

Tayari Jones (“Silver Sparrow,” Algonquin, May 2011) has written for McSweeney’s, The New York Times and The Believer. “Silver Sparrow” is the #1 Indie Next Pick for June 2011. Jones’ first novel, "Leaving Atlanta," received best-of-the-year nods from The Washington Post, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Creative Loafing. "The Untelling" won the Lillian C. Smith Award from the Southern Regional Council and was a Target Breakout Book. She holds degrees from Spelman College, Arizona State University and the University of Iowa. She serves on the MFA faculty at Rutgers University.

Jennifer Niven (“Velva Jean Leans to Fly,” Plume/Penguin, Sept. 2011) is the author of "Velva Jean Learns to Drive," which was published to wide acclaim and was chosen as an Indie Reader's Group Top Ten Pick. She has also written three nonfiction books. "The Ice Master" was named one of the top 10 nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, has been translated into eight languages and received Italy's Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize. "Ada Blackjack" was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick and has been optioned for the movies.

Kevin Wilson (“The Family Fang,” Ecco/HarperCollins, Aug. 2011) is the winner of the 2009 Shirley Jackson Award for his story collection "Tunneling to the Center of the Earth." He was born, raised and still lives in Tennessee. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, The Greensboro Review, The Oxford American, The Carolina Quarterly and other publications. His work has twice been included in the "New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best." He has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo and the KHN Center for the Arts. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Florida, he teaches fiction at The University of the South.

John Hart (“Iron House,” St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan, July 2011) is a former criminal defense attorney who has also worked as a banker, stockbroker and apprentice helicopter mechanic. His books have been translated into 26 languages and published in more than 30 countries. A husband and father of two, he still lives in his native North Carolina, where he writes full-time.

Pat McEnulty (“Wait Until Tomorrow: A Daughter’s Memoir,” The Feminist Press at CUNY/Consortium, May 2011) is a teacher, writing coach and freelance editor. She holds a Ph.D. from the creative writing program at Florida State University. MacEnulty is the author of four novels, including "Sweet Fire," "Time to Say Goodbye," "From May to December," "Picara" and the short story collection "The Language of Sharks." Her interviews, short stories, essays, poems and plays have appeared in The Sun and other publications. From 1995 to 2002 she facilitated writing and drama workshops for prisoners as well as at-risk juveniles. MacEnulty currently resides in Charlotte, N.C.

Kathleen Kent (“The Traitor’s Wife,” Little, Brown Trade Paperback/Hachette, Sept. 2011) is the author of "The Heretic's Daughter." She is a recipient of the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American Historical Fiction. She lives in Dallas.

“Celebrate Southern Writers” will be held at the Morial Convention Center, Room 335-336. The event is free for conference attendees; for more information about registration options, visit Those purchasing the Exhibits Plus package ($35) will have access to hundreds of vendors on the exhibits floor, plus programming on the PopTop Stage, the Opening General Session and all non-ticketed programs of ALTAFF, including “First Author, First Book.” For more information about “First Author, First Book” and other ALTAFF events at the ALA Annual Conference, visit


ALTAFF is a division of the American Library Association that supports citizens who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. ALTAFF brings together library Trustees, advocates, Friends, and Foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information, visit, or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or


Jillian Kalonick