TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Don Noble, a New York native, has spent nearly 30 years promoting Alabama writers on public radio and TV.
He has interviewed Alabama authors such as Winston Groom, Rick Bragg, Fannie Flagg and Sena Jeter Naslund.
But now, it’s the retired UA English professor’s time to be honored.
On May 24, the Alabama State Council on the Arts will honor Noble with the Governor’s Arts Award at the “Celebration of the Arts” awards ceremony at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery at 7:30 p.m.
The awards program shines a spotlight on the arts in Alabama and individuals who have made important contributions to Alabama, said Al Head, executive director of the council.
“These individuals represent the scope and breadth of artistic diversity, talent, leadership and generosity that is an integral part of the cultural landscape of Alabama,” Head stated.
Noble will be one of eight “outstanding Alabamians” honored at the ceremony, which is free and open to the public.
Other recipients include:
- Gail Andrews who’s receiving a Jonnie Dee Riley Little Lifetime Achievement Award;
- Eddie Floyd who’s receiving the Alabama’s Distinguished Artist Award;
- Art Bacon who’s receiving a Governor’s Arts Award;
- Chuck Leavell who’s receiving a Governor’s Arts Award;
- Cheryl Morgan who’s receiving a Governor’s Arts Award;
- Jake Landers who’s receiving a Alabama Folk Heritage Award;
- Todd Strange who’s receiving a Special Council Legacy Award.
Noble, 75, said he was pleasantly surprised when he received a phone call inviting him to the ceremony as an honoree.
“What I think I’m winning the prize for is paying a lot of attention and getting exposure for Alabama writers,” Noble said.
“I am particularly delighted to win this prize because it’s not all that common for people from New York to win prizes in Alabama. Winston Groom and Rick Bragg won this prize, and they’re Alabamians. But for the Arts Counsel to give the prize to someone who isn’t a homeboy is unusual. But, I’ve lived in Alabama for 48 years, and that’s a long time. It is really nice to be recognized by Alabama, my adopted state.”
Noble moved to Alabama in 1969 where he taught American literature in the English department of The University of Alabama until 2001.
In 1988, he started a TV show called “Bookmark,” which airs on Alabama Public Television.
“I interview writers, many of them Alabama writers, and have done about 400 shows,” Noble said. “It’s still ongoing.”
In 2002, he started a radio segment doing book reviews on Alabama Public Radio. The reviews air Monday mornings and afternoons. He has written and broadcast 750 book reviews in 15 years.
“I’ve also written a lot about Alabama writers,” he said. “I put together an anthology about Harper Lee, and I co-wrote a 60-minute documentary with Brent Davis about Alabama writer William Bradford Huie and, also with Brent, wrote a 30-minute documentary about Hudson Strode, an Alabama alum and professor.”
Noble received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from SUNY-Albany and, specializing in Southern literature, his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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.