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4 Days with 8 Alabama Literary Giants

September 10-13

In what is considered a golden era in American novels, a third of the Pulitzer Prizes in Literature were awarded to writers from two states: Alabama and Mississippi, creating forever the mystique of the Southern writer. Journey into the small town that nurtured greatness in Harper Lee, Truman Capote and Mark Childress. Walk the steps of a writer who changed America, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Visit the ghost of F. Scott Fitzgerald's muse and explore the murky delta that inspired two-time Pulitzer winner E.O. Wilson, ranked as the top scientist in the world. We will meet experts on our writers and there is a reading list for this traveling book club adventure!

Day 1, Sept. 10 — Montgomery

historic church
Rosa Parks statue

Walk the most historic street in America, Dexter Avenue, where at one end, the Confederacy was created and at the other, the telegram to fire on Fort Sumter was sent. Between, Rosa Parks stepped on a bus, The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached, and a slave market flourished. From Civil War to Civil Rights, we move to the Jazz Era and the home of a dazzling young couple, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. End with "Your Cheatin' Heart" at the Hank Williams Museum. We'll eat soul food at Martha's Place, where a former mental patient turned her life around and wrote about it. Overnight in Montgomery.

Day 2, Sept. 11 — Monroeville

The desk of the real Atticus Finch sits in the old courthouse, which was replicated in the movie starring Gregory Peck.

The desk of the real Atticus Finch sits in the old courthouse, which was replicated in the movie starring Gregory Peck. To Kill a Mockingbird featured characters who walked these streets, and we will meet people who knew the real Boo Radley, as well as Truman Capote and Harper Lee. That afternoon, we will travel to Fairhope, a charming coastal town with great shopping! Relax at The Grand Hotel, which has maintained its moniker "The Queen of Southern Resorts" since 1847. The cannon fires at sunset. Overnight in Fairhope.

Day 3, Sept. 12 — Magnolia Springs/Gulf Shores

sandy beach with city skyline in the background

We will take a pontoon boat safari through the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, the childhood home of E. O. Wilson. This rich delta is considered the most biodiverse waterway in the world. A naturalist will point out birds, plants, fish and alligators. Next, Magnolia Springs, the only city in America where mail is delivered by boat. Fanny Flagg lived and wrote here, and we will meet one of the most curious and eccentric real characters from her book, A Redbird Christmas. Dinner at one of the best restaurants in the Southeast. Overnight in Gulf Shores.

Day 4, Sept. 13 — Gulf Shores/Birmingham

At your leisure, walk along the pure, soft white sand of Gulf Shores. The water of the Gulf of Mexico will be warm enough for swimming! We will have a naturalist to guide those who are interested in the local wildlife. We'll eat seafood in the sand at The Gulf, an open-air restaurant built from shipping containers. It sits on the beach and the food is a local favorite. Return to Birmingham.

All of this for a cost of $350 per person, double occupancy. Tour registration will open soon, so watch your inbox for more news. We'll also have a link where you can order any or all of the following books.

Reading List

  • To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
  • A Christmas Memory — Truman Capote
  • Crazy in Alabama — Mark Childress
  • Redbird Christmas/Fried Green Tomatoes — Fannie Flagg
  • The Ants — E.O. Wilson, winner of two Pulitzers
  • Great Gatsby — F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A Testament of Hope — Martin Luther King Jr.
  • I Saw the Light — Hank Williams biography that became a movie