Sumiton book store offers alternative for textbooks and hang out
by Chris Yow
Nov 12, 2010 | 2160 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woni Lawrence has always wanted to own a bookstore. In fact, anytime she was asked what her dream job was, be it a job application or social networking profile, the answer was the same.

“A writer and bookstore owner,” she replied with sincere honesty.

When Lawrence was considering where to open her own store, she felt like Sumiton was the perfect place for one.

“I thought this would be great because the only place in town for textbooks is Bevill State’s bookstore, and I thought kids needed an alternative,” she said.

But another reason Lawrence was set on a bookstore in Sumiton was the advantage of some place for people to hang out besides bars.

“There is nowhere for anybody to go unless you like sports. I wanted somewhere to just hang out,” she said.

When Lawrence opened her bookstore, it stood alone as a simple place to buy or rent books. Tuesday night, however, Woni’s Bookshelf opened their doors to a hang out spot unlike any other in east Walker County.

A ribbon cutting and guest appearances by author Edie Hand and musicians Rick and Jilda Watson, and the Bookshelf became more than a store.

Lawrence’s goals are to hold creative workshops and introduce a place for everyday folks to create and learn.

The first step in helping the community to learn and create begins Saturday when local author Dale Short begins his six-week workshop in narrative writing.

Lawrence is very excited about the opportunity to have a local author help local writers.

The workshop will begin Saturday at noon at Woni’s Bookshelf, and will be available for writers of any age.

“This workshop is for anybody who wants to tell a story,” Short said. “We will work on people writing stories instead of a how-to.”

Short said he was fortunate to be able to make a living by writing, but found he also enjoyed teaching.

Lawrence was enthused to find out Short enjoyed teaching.

“Dale is an amazing teacher,” she said. “The small group setting will be something to help everyone involved. We will learn from each other.”

Short added the same sentiments. “The beauty of a workshop like this is we realize we’re all doing the same thing. We all look at the same blank page when we start.

“You can’t learn narrative writing. You just kind of catch on. That is what we want to help people do—catch on,” he added.

Short has worked across the country teaching workshops, but this will be his first in Walker County.

Short is a graduate of West Jefferson High School, and grew up in Shanghi, near Dora. He is an accomplished writer and columnist who has won numerous awards over his career.

The workshop will cost $60 for the entire six weeks or $12 per session if paid each week.

“This will be something we hope will spark a regular workshop in the future,” Lawrence said.