Judith Paterson

Judith Hillman Paterson is a writer and teacher of writing who grew up in Montgomery, Alabama.  She graduated high school there and has degrees from Hollins College and Auburn University.  She taught writing, literature, and journalism at Auburn University in Montgomery and the University of Maryland, College Park. For five years (2000-2005) she hosted, wrote, and produced an interview show featuring accomplished writers and their work on UMTV.

She has published numerous articles, columns, and book reviews in scholarly journals, magazines, anthologies, and newspapers.  She is the author of four books.  Her childhood memoir, Sweet Mystery: A Book of Remembering, was published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1996 and has been in paperback from the University of Alabama since 2001.  Her essay, “The Gift Twice Given” is collected in the anthology What My Mother Gave Me  from Algonquin Books (2013).

Her writing over the past twenty years is set in the context of her family’s involvement in the politics, culture, and lore of the South. “To Teach the Negro” (Alabama Heritage, Spring, 1996) tells the story of her immigrant great-grandparents who came to Alabama to start schools for the freed slaves and were instrumental in founding several schools including Alabama State University in Montgomery.  She and Jayne McCollough Rushin, recently completed a play dramatizing that story.

She has spent the last few years beside a lake in North Carolina working on a historical novel set in the Alabama Black Belt.  She recently moved back to Montgomery to complete the novel.