The University of Alabama

UA’s C&IS Honors Frank Sikora with Nonfiction Writing Award

Frank Sikora

Frank Sikora

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s department of journalism and College of Communication and Information Sciences have named Alabama writer Frank Sikora as the recipient of the 2014 Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing.

Sikora, who will receive the award Feb. 7, was selected for his long-form nonfiction work, much of which dealt with Civil Rights era issues in Alabama.

“It’s fitting that Sikora be honored this year as we look back on the historic events in Alabama that set the stage for change in the South,” said Jennifer Greer, interim dean of the College. “The award is named for a man whose writings did just that, and Frank follows in the footsteps of Clarence Cason.”

Sikora, from Byesville, Ohio, began his writing career at The Gadsden Times in 1964 before moving to The Birmingham News in 1967. He worked at the News for 32 years and also freelanced for Time magazine from 2001 to 2007.

While working at the Times and the News, Sikora saw firsthand many of Alabama’s historic Civil Rights era moments. His first book, “Selma, Lord, Selma” (1980, reprinted 1997), is an account of two young girls in 1965 Selma, Ala., in the days leading up to the Selma-to-Montgomery March, known as Bloody Sunday. This book was made into a television movie.

Sikora’s other Civil Rights related books include “Until Justice Rolls Down: The Birmingham Church Bombing Case” (1991, reprinted 2005), “The Judge: The Life and Opinions of Alabama’s Frank M. Johnson Jr.” (1992, reprinted 2006) and “Let Us Now Praise Famous Women: A Memoir” (2005).  He also co-wrote the novel “The Visitor at Winter Chapel” (2006) and the biography “Hear the Bugles Calling: My Three Wars as a Combat Infantryman” (2007).

The Clarence Cason Award in Nonfiction Writing is named for Clarence Cason, the first chair of UA’s department of journalism in 1928. Each year, the department bestows the honor on behalf of the College and the University to a recipient with a strong connection to Alabama and whose writings have made a critical contribution to the journalism and literature of the South.

In winning the award, Sikora joins such distinguished writers as Rick Bragg, Diane McWhorter, Howell Raines and E.O. Wilson, all winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

UA’s department of journalism will present the award to Sikora at a luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Feb. 7, at the Hotel Capstone on The University of Alabama campus. Tickets for the event are $35 and may be ordered by phoning Sheila Davis at 205/348-4787 by Jan. 31.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Misty Mathews, UA Media Relations, 205/348-6416, mmathews@ua.edu
  • SOURCE: Dr. Wilson Lowrey, journalism department chair, 205/348-8608, wlowrey@ua.edu