It started with two blockbuster authors from Monroeville.

Harper Lee, real local name "Nelle Harper Lee," was the best-selling author of "To Kill a Mockingbird," based loosely on her South Alabama hometown of Monroeville.

Then, there was the true crime story that read like a novel, by Truman Capote. "In Cold Blood" popularized a new literary genre, creative non-fiction.

After "To Kill a Mockingbird" hit the bestseller lists, won the Pulitzer Prize, and was made into a popular movie (starring Gregory Peck), the city of Monroeville began to hold literary events that centered on the one book. Those events included plays reenacting the courtroom trial depicted in the book, held in the historic courtroom in the center of Monroeville.

On March 1 and 2, that same courthouse, which is now "The Courthouse Museum," will be one of the venues for the annual Monroeville Literary Festival. It has expanded beyond just the two local celebrity authors, now deceased, and includes writers from all over Alabama.  


You can make an entire Friday and Saturday of it in Monroeville, taking in the whole experience, or select which authors you want to hear and meet.

Activities begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, March 1, and end at 1:45 p.m. on March 2.

You can attend readings, discussions, and book signings for free, but registration is required. Ticketed meal events must be purchased and paid before Monday, February 26.

Click here to register and purchase tickets via Eventbrite, or call the Museum at 251-575-7433. 

This year's authors include Kim Cross, James Braziel, Ethel Morgan Smith, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Barbara Barcellona Smith, Robert Bailey, Tina Mozelle Braziel, Tom Franklin and Jennifer Horne.

The invitation from the literary festival reads:

Monroeville Literary Festival Bringing Writers and Readers together in the Literary Capital of Alabama Join us in the courtroom made famous by To Kill a Mockingbird for captivating readings, enlightening discussions, amusing conversations and Monroeville’s famous brand of hospitality. We’re welcoming friends to discover new authors, celebrate favorite writers and share great times with others who love Southern literature. Alabama novelist Tom Franklin is this year’s Harper Lee Award recipient, and Kim Cross receives the Truman Capote Prize. This year’s food writer is Bravo "Top Chef" winner and 2024 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: South Kelsey Barnard Clark. Talks and readings are free. Paid tickets are required for the opening supper/reception (6 p.m. - 9 p.m.) and Saturday lunch. NOTE: Readings, workshops and discussions are FREE, but registration is required using Eventbrite. Although most events are free, all ticketed events must be reserved and paid in advance no later than Monday, Feb. 26, 2024.

"Novels can hallow a place, cast a glow upon it and inspire bookish pilgrims—and there are always visitors, who'd read the book or seen the movie." - Smithsonian Magazine

Jim Zeigler is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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