Old Enough: A Conversation with Creative Southern Women

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Join Ernest & Hadley Booksellers on Friday, June 21 from 5:30-7:00 PM, as we welcome the editors and several contributors of Old Enough: Southern Women Artists and Writers on Creativity and Aging. Joining us that evening: Gail Andrews, Jennifer Horne, Jay Lamar, Jeanie Thompson, Lila Quintero Weaver, Yvonne Wells, and featuring Claire Lewis Evans. 

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In Old Enough, twenty-one women artists and writers write about the experience of aging. Gay, straight, unmarried, partnered, widowed, Black, white, Latinx, retired, and working, these women are not squeamish about the challenges of growing older, including ageism, health concerns, and loss. And they are frank about how received notions of female aging can be restrictive and diminishing. But in lyrical, sometimes wry, often inspiring essays they explore what growing older can offer: self-knowledge, insight, and acceptance. Striking portraits by award-winning photographer Carolyn Sherer, who is also a contributor to the volume, accompany each essay.

At the heart of this invigorating collection is the bold championing of creative practice. Some contributors look back to their girlhood to recall their first powerful connections to art, while others show how they have refreshed their commitment to maintaining a practice. However, all are still driven to create and to investigate, to stay committed to the processes that work while finding new ways to stay creatively alive. Old Enough aims to honor the limitless variety, depth, and scope of being “old enough” and will resonate with readers who want to understand and find purpose, meaning, and comradery in their creative journey.

Gail Andrews joined the Birmingham Museum of Art in 1976 as assistant curator of decorative arts, subsequently serving as assistant director and ultimately as director of the museum for twenty years. An acknowledged authority on folk art and textiles, she has written numerous articles and catalogues, quilt and needlework chapters for Made in Alabama: A State Legacy, and the introduction to the book Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists and edited and contributed essays to Pictured in My Mind: Contemporary American Self-Taught Art. Andrews is actively involved in a variety of arts and educational organizations locally, regionally, and nationally. She served as president of the Association of Art Museum
Directors, and in 2017 she received the Jonnie Dee Riley Little Lifetime Achievement Award from the Alabama State Arts Council.

Jennifer Horne served as the twelfth Poet Laureate of Alabama (2017– 2021). She is a writer and editor of prose, poetry, and fiction who has taught creative writing in workshops across the Southeast and in school, university, and prison classrooms. The author of three collections of poems, Bottle Tree, Little Wanderer, and Borrowed Light, she also has written a collection of short stories, Tell the World You’re a Wildflower. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield, Odyssey of a Wandering Mind: The Strange Tale of Sara Mayfield, Author. Horne has been the recipient of fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Seaside Institute in Florida, and in 2015 she was awarded the Druid City Literary Arts Award, given by the Tuscaloosa Arts Council. Her website is: https://www.jenhorne.com/

Jay Lamar is coeditor with Jeanie Thompson of The Remembered Gate: Memoirs by Alabama Writers. Her essay “Secrets” was included in a special edition of Southern Humanities Review, and she is a contributor to Albert Murray and the Aesthetic Imagination of a Nation (2010), one of several titles in the Pebble Hill Imprint series she established while serving as director of Auburn University’s Center for the Arts and Humanities. She was founding director of the Alabama Book Festival and first director of the Alabama Center for the Book. She served as executive director of the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, 2014–2020.

Jeanie Thompson is director emerita of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, a poetry faculty member with the low-res MFA Writing Program at Spalding University in Louisville, and a literary arts education advocate. Thompson attended the University of Alabama, where she received her MFA in creative writing and was founding editor of the Black Warrior Review literary journal. She has published five collections of poems and three chapbooks and edited a collection of memoirs by Alabama authors, The Remembered Gate, with Jay Lamar. Her latest work, The Myth of Water: Poems from the Life of Helen Keller, was a finalist for the 2016 Foreword Indie Poetry Book Awards. www.jeaniethompson.net

Lila Quintero Weaver is the writer and illustrator of a graphic memoir, Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White, and later served as co-translator of its Spanish edition. As a graphic novelist and documentarian of the immigrant experience in the American South, Weaver has lectured at college campuses across the United States. Original artwork from Darkroom has been exhibited in numerous galleries, including Whitman College, the Rosa Parks Museum, the Levine Museum of the New South, the Jule Collins Smith Museum, and CentroCentro, in Madrid, Spain. Weaver received the 2013 Druid Arts Award from the Arts Council of Tuscaloosa, and that same year Darkroom was named one of the Notable
Books for a Global Society by the International Reading Association. In 2018 Weaver published a children’s novel, My Year in the Middle. Her website is lilaqweaver.com

Yvonne Wells is an internationally renowned quilter who lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. In 1985 she made her first appearance at the Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Alabama, where she won her first of six Best in Show awards. Wells’ work has been exhibited in Japan, France, and Italy, as well as displayed in the prestigious Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and the American Museum of Folk Art in New York City. Her awards include the Alabama Arts Award from the University of Alabama Society for the Fine Arts and a Governor’s Arts Award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Her book with Professor Stacy Morgan, The Story Quilts of Yvonne Wells, is forthcoming this fall from the University of Alabama Press. Visit https://www.oldenough.org for more information.

Event date: 
Friday, June 21, 2024 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
1928 7Th St
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401-1829
Old Enough: Southern Women Artists and Writers on Creativity and Aging By Jay Lamar (Editor), Jennifer Horne (Editor), Katie Lamar Jackson (With) Cover Image
By Jay Lamar (Editor), Jennifer Horne (Editor), Katie Lamar Jackson (With)
ISBN: 9781588385185
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NewSouth Books - May 1st, 2024