Birmingham Public Library

Jane About Town: Black Nativity & Birmingham’s Best Bites

Here are two events a Jane about town shouldn’t miss this weekend:

Birmingham’s Best Bites

bham best bites
Food Network Star Martie Duncan and several popular Birmingham area chefs will be at the Birmingham Public Library on Saturday, Dec. 13 to sign copies of the new book, “Birmingham’s Best Bites: Favorite Recipes from Restaurants, Bars, & Food Trucks Around the Magic City’’ from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The book, which features more than 80 recipes from more than 60 area restaurants, is $25. Proceeds will benefit the library. Some of people’s favorite recipes are in the book like Hot and Hot’s Tomato Salad, Ashley Mac’s Mac and Cheese, Dreamcakes Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Bourbon Caramel Glaze and many others. Chefs such as The Fish Market’s George Sarris, Little Savannah’s Maureen Holt, The Gardens Café by Kathy G, Primeaux Cheese & Vino’s Ric Trent and Chris Vizinna will sign books on Saturday. Refreshments will be served.


Black Nativity


The Aldridge Repertory Theatre will present a dinner theater production of Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity at 6:30 p.m. on December 13 and 2:30 p.m. on December 14. Black Nativity is a retelling of the classic Nativity story with an entirely black cast and gospel music. The show was first performed Off-Broadway in 1961. Dinner at this weekend’s performances will include grilled chicken, caesar salad, grilled mixed vegetables, rice pilaf, rolls, tea, and dessert. Tickets are $35. For more information and to reserve your seat call 205-538-1828 or visit


Let’s Eat Drink Read Write with the Birmingham Public Library


It’s time for the Birmingham Public Library’s most popular event — the Eat Drink Read Write Festival! This year’s festival will be held October 3-10 and will feature the city’s best food and beverage offerings served with a literary twist.

On Friday, October 3, enjoy poetry paired with craft beer and soul food at a special Bards & Brews Poetry Slam featuring beer from Back Forty Beer Co. and J. Clyde and food from Full Moon Barbecue.

On Wednesday, Oct. 8 enjoy a literary cocktail competition with a Jazz Age theme at the Collins Bar.

On Thursday, Oct. 9, listen to food-inspired tales by the city’s best storytellers and enjoy latte art showcased by local baristas.

This year’s festival will conclude Friday, Oct. 10 with Birmingham’s Best Bites and the Instagrammys. This event will feature great food, an appearance by  Food Star Network Star finalist Martie Duncan, and the unveiling of the new Birmingham’s Best Bites cookbook, which is full of recipes and history of some of your favorite local restaurants and bars. Also, some of the best photos taken during the festival and posted to Instagram with the #EDRW and #InstagramBham hashtags will receive an Instagrammy award.

These events are just a small sampling of all the Eat Drink Read Write Festival has to offer.

For a complete schedule and more details on these and other events visit

Why Women Writers Should Love the Birmingham Public Library

Image via Flickr/Creative Commons

This week has been National Library Week and thus I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love my local library. When I asked myself that question the answer came to me quickly: My local library empowers me both as a writer and a woman. 

I could talk about the hours on end I spent as a teenager in the North Birmingham, Titusville, and Downtown branches of the library reading books to help me with everything from figuring what religion I truly believed to applying for college, scholarships and financial aid. But I don’t have to look back that far. 

Just this year my local library has done plenty for me. 

In February the downtown library hosted its annual Local Authors Expo and gave me an opportunity to lead a workshop on social media and talk about See Jane Write to other local writers. 

In March at the Smithfield library I attended a motivational talk by Eunice Elliott on pursuing dreams, a talk that helped me focus on the goals that matter to me most and figure out the kind of legacy I want to leave. 

The library also opens its doors to local organizations that want to host events of their own to empower Birmingham residents. 

A few weeks ago I attended Power In Heels, a program for female entrepreneurs sponsored by Operation Hope and hosted at the downtown library. I left that program feeling fearless. And last year See Jane Write hosted a panel discussion on publishing.

Women writers should love their local libraries because libraries are buildings rich with inspiration for great stories, and that inspiration doesn’t only rest within the pages of novels or short story collections. Visit the archives section, step back in time and watch your imagination run wild. 

Ask to see old scrapbooks of early Birmingham residents like Edith Ward. Take a look at the paper dolls she collected as a child, the letters from boyfriends she received as a teen, and other items like a dance card, clippings of her favorite poems, and playbills from theater performances she attended. Look at photos and read diary entries about her love for her bike, or her “wheel” as she called it. For Edith and other young women of the late 1800s their bikes represented freedom. A girl might hop on her bike and ride from the Southside all the way to Bessemer. 

I don’t write much fiction, but learning about Edith’s life had me itching to try my hand at a historical novel set in Birmingham. 

Birmingham Public Library staff members after collecting signatures
at City Hall for th
Declaration for the Right to Libraries

As National Library Week comes to an end show your appreciation for Birmingham libraries by signing a declaration of support. The national campaign known as the Declaration for the Right to Libraries is simply a good-faith effort to show how important libraries are in empowering and building communities, strengthening families and changing lives. 

You may visit any library in Jefferson County and ask to sign the Declaration for the Right to Libraries. Or you may go online and sign by visiting
For more information, visit 

Reconnect with Your Fearless Self

Rep. Merika Coleman-Evans signed a declaration
of her support of Birmingham libraries.
(Photo Credit: Chanda Temple)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Do you remember what answer you gave to that question when you were a child? I wanted to be the first female president of the United States. Alabama legislator Rep. Merika Coleman-Evans had this same dream as a girl and shared this with me and the dozens of other female entrepreneurs who gathered for the Power in Heels business workshop on March 28. The free event, hosted by Operation HOPE Birmingham, was held in the Arrington Auditorium of the central branch of the Birmingham Public Library

Coleman-Evans was the keynote speaker at Friday’s event and she talked to us about being fearless and fierce. Like many of us, Coleman-Evans had plenty of fierceness and fearlessness as a girl dreaming presidential dreams. 

But she not only talked the talked, but she also started making strides toward achieving her lofty aspirations. In 2002 Coleman-Evans was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives when she was only 28 years old. 

But that’s only part of the story, Coleman-Evans told us. Along her road to success, she faced a speed bump: fearfulness. She began to to doubt herself. 

Perhaps you’re dealing with doubt too. Perhaps you’re dealing with a significant other, a family member, a co-worker, or a friend who is discouraging you from pursuing your writing or business goals. Perhaps you’re doubting yourself because you’ve faced rejection. 

But Coleman-Evans gave us a simple charge: Don’t let anyone else dim your light.

She urged us to remember that boldness we had as girls and to reconnect with our fearless selves. Coleman-Evans closed her talk with a song many of us knew from childhood: “This Little Light of Mine.”

She invited us all to stand to our feet, clap and sing along. She wanted us to declare, in song, that we will let our lights shine everywhere we go. 

When you were a child what did you dream of becoming? Why did you let that dream go? 

Sometimes we let go of dreams because our goals and interests change. I realized I wasn’t interested in politics enough to run for any office. I realized writing was my true passion. But sometimes we let go of dreams because we start to doubt ourselves as we grow older and face failure, rejection and fear.  But what would happen if we chose to believe in ourselves anyway? 

Dare to have childlike faith in yourself.