Fiction Writer Cate O’Toole Chooses Her Own ASFA-CW Interview Adventure!

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Cate O’Toole was awarded a Rachel Carson Fellowship and earned her MFA in fiction from Chatham University. She is the author of the chapbook Big Women, Big Girls (Stamped Books, 2011) and her stories have appeared in Six Sentences and the 6S Vol. 1 anthology, Wanderlust Review, The Linnet’s Wings, shady side review, and elsewhere. Cate was the 2012 recipient of the Poetry & Prose Winter Getaway’s Jan-Ai Scholarship. She lives and writes in Seattle, WA.

Her collection of flash fictions, Oh My Darling!, re-imagines the folk ballad “Oh My Darling, Clementine” into a haunting choose-your-own-adventure (CYA) narrative, of which Harmony Neal writes: “All roads lead to death — it’s the choices along the journey that make the life. Cate O’Toole has masterfully created the parallel stories of Clementine, letting the reader choose her path, which, while not pretty, is made of choices, as all lives are. Grim, sure, but choose your own adventure never goes out of style, especially when the language sings and the setting gets dirt in your teeth.”

After reading (and loving) Oh My Darling! for this past year’s Senior Thesis seminar, ASFA-CW Seniors Norah Madden-Lunsford and Willow Tucker devised their own CYA adventure for Cate to navigate. Here’s the path she took:  Continue reading

ASFA-CW’s “Iris Rinke-Hammer pushes her students to find their voice.”

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Click here to read Erin Edgemon’s excellent al.com feature profile of award-winning master teacher, Iris Rinke-Hammer! The best news of all? “Though, she is in her 60s now,” Edgemon writes, “Rinke-Hammer isn’t thinking of retiring anytime soon. ‘I love it too much,’ she said, of teaching. ‘This is brain food and heart food for me. It is very fulfilling.'” As the article clearly indicates, Iris is one big reason why ASFA-CW is the place to be for Alabama’s best young writers!

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

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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 Inaugural Fundraiser = SMASH SUCCESS!

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With the help of our friends at the Nitty Gritty Magic City Reading Series and the Desert Island Supply Company, ASFA-CW took Woodlawn by storm this evening. We made our goal and then some, but more important our kids really stepped up to the plate — writing poems on demand in the lunch room for the past two weeks, selling raffle tickets, spreading the word, and then sharing their fine work in what is probably BHM’s preeminent venue for writers of all ages. It’s good to be an ASFA-CWer. Thanks especially to the senior class and THE Ms. Ashley M. Jones, who spearheaded the effort. #huzzah!

ASFA-CW’s Iris Rinke-Hammer Named One of Ten Recipients of Prestigious National Teaching Award!

IrisRinkeHammerThe Kennedy Center recently announced that ASFA-CW’s Iris Rinke-Hammer has been named one of just ten national recipients of the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award. The Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards solicit nominations from the general public and notable public figures. Nominators submit stories about teachers and professors who made a significant difference in their lives. Rinke-Hammer was nominated by ASFA alumna Adriane Tharp, who wrote this essay in support of Iris’s nomination. Congratulations to Iris, who is truly a master teacher!