Aunt Sister, a collection of humor columns from award-winning Alabama author Julia Harwell Segars, is a welcome front-swing companion to all who celebrate life in the South, both now and then.
The book takes its name from the pen name Segars uses for the column, which appears regularly in the Daily Home. It includes 40 works written in 2016 and 2017, some never before in print.
“I had an Aunt Sister, whose real name was Julia,” Segars says. “So it seemed natural to me to pay homage to her and wink at our family heritage at the same time.”
Segars began writing anonymously as Aunt Sister to keep her avocation separate from her position as a vice president of Alabama Power Company’s Eastern Division. She describes her alter-ego as “a Southern Lady who was raised right, but overcame it, bless her heart.”
Segars retired in July to launch a small creative services business. She grew up in Hoover, and now resides in Anniston. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama, with a degree in journalism, and worked as a newspaper reporter before her 31-year corporate career.
One of the columns included in the book placed first in the Alabama Press Association’s 2017 Better Newspapers Contest for humor. It tells the tale of the “’Leven Dollar’ store -- a bait shop, gas station and convenience store -- where most all purchases end up costing $11, because the clerk “can’t do take-aways.”
“Whether sports, holidays, religion, bidness, food, travel, manners, family and more, you’ll find perfect descriptions of all familiar – and some heretofore unfamiliar – Alabama traditions, written in an original and comic prose,” writes Dr. Ed Mullins, retired dean of UA’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, in a review of the book.
“Aunt Sister not only knows the difference between a real neighbor and a ‘waving neighbor,’” he adds. “She also nails pre-pubescence. It’s when ‘The boys’ voices hadn’t changed and neither had the girls’ chests.’”
Aunt Sister will be released to the public Oct. 17. It is available online at auntsister.com.