Congressman Bradley Byrne Presents 2014 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award to Mary S. Palmer at Mobile Carnival Museum

Byrne honors Mary and Sue

From left, Professor Mary S. Palmer, Congressman Bradley Byrne, Dr. Sue Walker at the Mobile Carnival Museum.

On October 15, Congressman Bradley Byrne presented the 2014 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award to Mary S. Palmer at the historic Mobile Carnival Museum. Byrne also presented Professor Palmer and Dr. Sue Walker from the University of South Alabama with commemorative copies of his speech delivered in Congress (read the full text below) praising their efforts at writing and teaching tourism literature.

Professor Palmer won the SELTI award for her first place entry “Raisin’ Cain” in the Mobile Bay SELTI Tourism Writing Contest, sponsored by the Alabama Tourism Department. “Raisin’ Cain” was set in Mobile’s real Joe Cain Day Parade during the Mardi Gras season. Palmer also teaches English at Faulkner State Community College in the Mobile area. Many of her students attended the awards presentation.


From left, Dr. Sue Walker, Bonnie Hoffman, Bradley Byrne, Patrick Miller (SELTI Founder), Ellen Corley, Kathryn Lang (SELTI Executive Director)

Dr. Walker has been teaching tourism writing to her English students at USA, and SELTI has been publishing her student-written tourism works with travel guides and photos. Walker’s students are the first in the nation to participate in college classroom writing assignments aimed at tourism fiction. Many of Walker’s students were also in attendance, including Bonnie Hoffman, whose brilliant short work “Spirits of Mobile” was recently featured on SELTI. Two more student-written works are on the way to be published on SELTI soon.

The Mobile Carnival Museum was the perfect setting for Palmer’s Mardi Gras themed story. The historic house offers an awe-inspiring look into the costumes and regalia associated with Mobile’s Mardi Gras present and past. The museum is also available for party and wedding rentals.





Thursday, September 18, 2014

  • Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor two outstanding English professors for their innovative contributions toward promoting tourism through literature.
  • First, Professor Mary S. Palmer’s short story “Raisin’ Cain” recently won the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative Tourism Writing Contest Award.
  • Professor Palmer’s story highlighted the family-friendly nature of Mobile’s Mardi Gras and was published online at the Southeastern Literary Tourism Initiative’s website. The story includes photos and tourism links at the end so readers can learn how to visit the real Mardi Gras parades and other nearby Mobile attractions included in the inspiring story.
  • I also want to recognize Dr. Sue Walker who currently teaches tourism writing to several of her English classes at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.
  • Dr. Walker is using the examples of tourism writing from this initiative to challenge her students to compose original short works of literature that encourage their readers to visit the actual places included in the stories.
  • Mr. Speaker, on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, we know just how important tourism is to our local economies. I proudly support any effort to encourage tourism in our region, and I especially applaud innovative methods in the classroom, like tourism writing. Professor Palmer and Dr. Walker have found a unique way to highlight the heritage and culture of South Alabama while providing an enriching experience for their students.
  • I hope my colleagues in the House will invite their state’s writers and teachers to take a look at what is going on in Mobile and consider ways to incorporate these types of college courses into their curriculum, and in turn, highlight their state’s unique tourism attractions.
  • I will be honored to present Professor Palmer with the 2014 SELTI Tourism Fiction Award on October 15 at the Mobile Carnival Museum, and I am excited to highlight these types of innovative teaching methods.
October 18, 2014

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