Janet L. McCoy


AUBURN -- A syndicated columnist and Southern humor author, an Alabama native who is being called a literary genius and a Southern history writer and a Alabama African-American who made Civil Rights history are just some of the people who will speaking at Auburn University in February.

As part of its ongoing program to bring writers to campus, AU's Center for the Arts and Humanities has a number of fascinating authors on its schedule, including:

* Humorist P.S. Wall on Monday, Feb. 5,

*Alabama native and critically-acclaimed author Pat Cunningham Devoto on Sunday, Feb. 11,

* A Feb. 14 program featuring journalist-turned writer Frye Gaillard and retired Lowndes County Probate Judge John Hulett, whose story is the center of the Civil Rights Movement in central Alabama county,

* Mary Elizabeth "Sunshine" Johnson Huff, a former Oxmoor House editor and nationally recognized quilt expert, will speak Feb. 21.

All of the programs will be held at historic Pebble Hill. All programs will begin at 4 p.m., except the Sunday, Feb. 11 talk by Devoto, which will begin at 2 p.m.

Awarded Best Humor Columnist of 1996 by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, P.S. Wall has tossed the nation on its funny bone with her nationally syndicated column "Off the Wall," which reaches 10 million homes each week.

Combining the irreverence of Dave Barry and the sass of Molly Ivins, Wall is as irresistible and has been called "Erma Bombeck with attitude" by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Wall is the author of two books, My Love is Free ... But the Rest of Me Donšt Come Cheap and her latest, If I Were A Man, I'd Marry Me, which stayed on the Top Requested Humor Books for 28-weeks and was a finalist for the 1999 Thurber Prize.

Alabama native Pat Cunningham Devoto has been likened to Harper Lee and Mark Twain. Her latest novel is Out of the Night that Covers Me, which delves deep into the Southern experience with a profound tale of love and friendship.

She is also the author of My Last Days as Roy Rogers.

Prior to her days as a writer, Devoto raised two children, taught high school, earned a private pilot's license, designed and help build her lakeside cabin in Alabama, served on the board of her local historical society and ran many programs for inner-city youth.

A special moderated discussion has been planned for Wednesday, Feb. 14, featuring author Frye Gaillard and retired Lowndes County Probate Judge John Hulett.

Gaillard, who is currently conducting research to write a major popular history of the Civil Rights struggle in Alabama, will lead a conversation with Hulett, founder and first chairman of the Lowndes County Freedom Party (Black Panthers) and the first African-American to be registered to vote in his county.

A native of Mobile, Gaillard is the author of more than a dozen books, including The 521 All-Stars: A Championship Story of Baseball , Community, If I Were A Carpenter: 20 Years of Habitat for Humanity and The Unfinished Presidency: Essays on Jimmy Carter.

As a journalist, Gaillard was a staff writer for The Mobile Register, The Associated Press, and a writer and later managing editor fort Race Relations Reporter, an award-winning newspaper published by Race Relations Information Center in Nashville. He was also a staff writer, editorial writer and columnist and then Southern editor for The Charlotte Observer.

Hulett's story is at the center of the Civil Rights movement in Lowndes County and the Black Belt and became the first African-American elected as sheriff as a result of the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Mary Elizabeth "Sunshine" Johnson Huff, a former Oxmoor House editor and nationally recognized quilt expert, will speak Feb. 21.

Her latest book, Quilt Inspirations from Africa: A Caravan of Ideas, Patterns, Motifs, and Techniques, is already a best-seller, touted for its beauty as well as its expertise.

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CONTACT: Jay Lamar, associate director of AU's CA&H at 334/844-4946.