ASFA-CW Is Large, We Contain Multitudes: Student Readings, Visiting Writers, Statewide Contests!

IMG_20171109_113435[1]Hello to the ASFA-CW Extended Support Network – Happy 2018! If it’s January, we must be plugging some events: student readings, visiting authors, and statewide contests, o my!


  • Wed 1/24 – Elijah Thompson, Allison Sharp, Lauryn-Elizabeth Dewberry, Daniel Blokh
  • Wed 1/31 – Anna Butcher, Annabelle Blomeley, Kameron Helms, Shelby Nesbitt


  • Fri 2/9 – SENIOR READING #1: Scarlett Connolly & Blanca Tallaj (7 PM)
  • Wed 2/14 – Tyler Dalzell, Sebastian Anderson, Hugh Fournier, Tess Moore
  • Wed 2/21 – 9-10th Grade Student Reading (Readers TBA)

As per usual, Wednesday afternoon student readings start at 3:30 PM; all readings are held in the Lecture Hall and open to the ASFA community (students, parents, teachers, and their guests). Here’s a link to the full semester schedule, for those of you keeping score at home…

Also: won’t you help us plug our writing contests for young writers throughout Alabama?! The deadline for submissions is just about one month away. {{Cash prizes!}} Link to our submission guidelines on your respective Instaweb feed(s) etc:


PS…Speaking of thanks: thanks to some generous grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Alabama Humanities Foundation (and to the tireless efforts of the ASFA Foundation team), fiction writer Sheree Renee Thomas will be in town on Feb 8-9, reading at DISCO on Thurs 2/8 @ 7 PM and visiting ASFA-CW the following day. You’re all encouraged/welcome to join us for both events, and we’d be much obliged if you’d help us spread the word about the DISCO reading, as well, which is free and open to the public!    

ASFA-CW Does Poetry Out Loud!

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As you might have noticed, we’ve been branching out around here over the past couple of years. The students and teachers of the ASFA-CW Universe are pretty well sold on the idea that creative writing isn’t a subject matter, per se. It’s a way of thinking, of observing, of listening, of engaging with the world. How all of that gets expressed isn’t limited to the page. Other art forms, other disciplines, can — and should — inform what and how we write.

Our 3-D Poetry Initiative and our collaborations with other ASFA specialty departments are all a part of that expanding creative umbrella. Now, this year, we’re stepping out in another direction: spoken word poetry. Continue reading

The Secret to Success in Teen Writing Contests, or The Pros and Cons of Precociousness


Having just announced the winners of our annual statewide contests — and having just had a department-wide talk about (among other things) the pros and cons of contest success in the life of any young writer — it strikes me that it might be useful to reveal a (the?) “secret” to success in writing contests for teenagers, and what that success might really mean in the long run. Continue reading

Congrats to the 2017 ASFA Literary Contest Winners!

PrintCongratulations to the twenty young Alabama writers who received awards in ASFA’s annual literary contests this year (see list of winners below the break). We received hundreds of submissions and, as usual, there was far more excellent writing than there were awards to be given. All students who entered the contest (and the teachers who sponsored them) are to be commended for their commitment to the craft of writing. We wish them well in their future creative endeavors!

The Alabama Humanities Foundation, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, co-sponsors this project. Continue reading

ASFA-CW Open House!

Today we’re hosting our annual open house, which is always a good time. It’s a treat for us to spread the good word about what we do here at ASFA-CW. In case you aren’t able to join us, here’s a thumbnail sketch of some of the resources (etc) we have to offer:

Here’s our departmental page on the school’s web site. Lots of useful info there, not least our calendar of events.

Here are some other excellent writing-related organizations in Birmingham:

To be a great writer, you need to read. A lot. And widely. For young writers, it’s also important to try to read a little bit above your grade level — to stretch your imagination and your critical thinking skills. Good writing is good thinking; reading challenging material helps you think better. Here are some resources to help you read broadly and deeply:


Aspiring Minds Poetry Contest Winners @ Tuscaloosa County High School


In case you haven’t noticed, ASFA-CW faculty member Ashley Jones is barnstorming the state to meet, greet, and congratulate some of Alabama’s best young poets! Here she is at Tuscaloosa County High School with two of the winners in ASFA’s 2016 Aspiring Minds Poetry Contest for Region III (Hale, Perry, Greene, Tuscaloosa, Bibb, and Marengo counties), and their teacher, Jody Evans. From left to right: Ms. Evans; Ms. Jones; Sarah Goodman, whose poem “Stonewalls” won first place for Region III; and Emma Beeler, whose poem “Memories” won second place for Region III. Congrats, again, to these two talented poets and to Ms. Evans!