Writers’ Forum spotlights student writers

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Two Pelham High School students, Anna Carden and Kathleen Kelley, have won Alabama High School Literary Arts Awards. The PHS Literary Magazine also won awards and was recognized among the best of the state’s high school literary magazines.

Both of these girls’ parents thanked me for encouraging and teaching their daughters. These students are amazing and I am blessed to be their teacher. I am no hero; however, I do know my students’ unsung heroes.

My students, their parents and I traveled this week to Writers’ Forum’s prestigious High School Literary Arts Awards Ceremony at the Capitol. State representatives and senators were photographed with their district’s winning students by Writers’ Forum staff. Rep. Matt Fridy congratulated both Carden and Kelley while encouraging them to continue honing their craft.

Writers’ Forum is in partnership with the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Creating opportunity for Alabama’s writers, sharing information to bring them together for the state’s literary events and keeping Alabama legislators supporting students excelling as writers are all important aspects of Writers’ Forum’s mission.

Writers’ Forum Executive Director Jeanie Thompson opened the ceremony by revealing that these winners were chosen from hundreds and hundreds of entries. Poetry judge Dr. Susie Paul praised them expressing her delight with their work. Finally, Writers’ Forum President Jacqueline Trimble shared her writing experience declaring “my mother was a foot soldier in the battle for civil rights. My mother taught me to write poetry by the way that she lived.”

Alabama’s Writers’ Forum members are foot soldiers whose battles exist to spotlight student writers. I’ve had the good fortune to observe their hard work and I’ve come to know these amazing adults who create Alabama literary gold with their own poetry, fiction, memoir and essays, while also working to ensure that younger writers have competitive, creative opportunity.

What Writers’ Forum does for Alabama’s young writers is life-changing. My students leave this ceremony with confidence.

“Jeanie Thompson said, ‘Poetry is sustaining,’” Carden says. “I’m quoting her.”

Our thanks go to the Alabama Writers’ Forum for their sustenance and their support.