TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama College of Communication and Information Sciences, along with the department of journalism and creative media, has named award-winning author and professor Dr. Patricia Foster winner of the 2017 Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing.
Foster is professor of English at the University of Iowa and a native of rural Alabama. Foster’s memoir, “All the Lost Girls: Confessions of a Southern Daughter,” explores the lives of white, middle-class children growing up in south Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s. Her lyrical prose depicts the contradictory expectations placed on Foster and her sister by their mother, who encouraged the girls to maintain the ambition of a man and the temperament of woman.
In a later publication, “Just Beneath My Skin: Autobiography and Self-Discovery,” Foster addresses similar topics with attention given to the confrontation of the self in the context of culture, place and history.
“Patricia Foster is a unique talent in that she can capture both fiction and nonfiction writing effortlessly,” said Dr. Cory Armstrong, department chair for journalism and creative media. “Her impact to both the writing and academic communities has been remarkable. She is a deserving candidate to honor Clarence Cason’s legacy.”
Clarence Cason, for whom the award is named, founded UA’s department of journalism in 1928. His most noted work, “Ninety Degrees in the Shade,” took a critical stance on race relations in the South at a time when tensions were nearing a climax. Each year, The University of Alabama bestows the honor on a recipient with a strong connection to Alabama whose writing have made a critical contribution to the journalism and literature of the South.
“It is an honor to present the Cason award to Dr. Foster,” said Dr. Mark Nelson, dean of the College of Communication and Information Sciences. “Her ability to tell stories about growing up in rural Alabama during the ’50s and ’60s has helped to bring to light the challenges surrounding traditional gender roles.”
Tickets for the luncheon honoring Foster are $35 and include a copy of, “Ninety Degrees in the Shade.” The luncheon will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 3, in the Governor’s Ballroom at Hotel Capstone. Foster will accept the award and speak at the luncheon. To order tickets, call Sheila Davis at 205/348-4787 by Monday, Feb. 27.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.