Alabama Book Festival catches Pearl and a 'Big Fish'

MONTGOMERY, AL - The Alabama Book Festival is slated for April 17 at Old Alabama Town and has been extended an extra hour to accommodate two big names in the literary world who have just been signed to the festival: Pearl Cleage and Daniel Wallace.

Pearl Cleage is a legendary author and playwright who catapulted to fame when her first novel, "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day," became an Oprah Book club selection in 1998 and was listed on the New York Times bestseller list for nine weeks. Her latest play, "The Nacirema Society Requests the Honor of Your Presence at the Celebration of Their First 100 Years," opens at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in September.

Daniel Wallace's first novel, "Big Fish," also achieved enormous success upon publication in 1998. It was turned into a major motion picture directed by Tim Burton and starring Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Billy Crudup and Jessica Lange. It was shot entirely in Alabama, mostly in Montgomery and Wetumpka.

Both authors have published extensively since the success of their first novels. They will be speaking, meeting fans and signing books at the Alabama Book Festival on April 17.

Cleage will be speak 3:30-4:30 p.m., while Wallace will take the stage 4-5 p.m. The free public event was originally planned to end at 4 p.m., but was extended to make room for these renowned authors.

"We are thrilled to have added Pearl and Daniel to the author line-up, so much so that we added another hour to the program," said Ashley Gordon, head of author selection for the festival. "Daniel is such a favorite in Montgomery and after Pearl's play debuts at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, we are sure she will be one as well."

Other authors attending the festival include Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Bragg, 2010 Harper Lee Award recipient Carolyn Haines, and Alabama Poet Laureate Sue Brannan Walker.

For a complete list of participants, visit