Stuff in the ‘Roy Hoffman’ Category

4 November, 2018


The complex friendship between a black housekeeper and her Jewish employer is at the heart of Hoffman’s prize-winning novel about life in the civil rights era South–now in a 35th Anniversary Edition!

Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award and Alabama Library Association Award for fiction

Nebraska Waters is black. Vivian Gold is Jewish. In an Alabama kitchen where, for nearly thirty years, they share cups of coffee, fret over their children, and watch the civil rights movement unfold out their window, and into their homes, they are like family—almost.

As Nebraska makes her way, day in and out, to Vivian’s house to cook and help tend the Gold children, the “almost” threatens to widen into a great divide. The two women’s husbands affect their relationship, as do their children, Viv Waters and Benjamin Gold, born the same year and coming of age in a changing South. The bond between the women both strengthens and frays.

Roy Hoffman’s Almost Family (University of Alabama Press) explores the relationship that begins when one person goes to work for another, and their friendship—across lines of race, income, and religion—develops degrees of understanding yet growing misunderstanding. This edition (2018) commemorates the 35th anniversary of the book’s publication and features a foreword by the author and includes a discussion guide for readers and book clubs.


“Hoffman never lets facts flatten characters; he has made them too human—too strong or too stubborn—for that.”
New Yorker

“Everything in this book rings true—the dialogue, the cadences, the deft-touch observations, the best and worst of human nature.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Hoffman has got it all exactly right: the interlocking of individual lives and great public events that made every Southerner feel as though he or she were living on the very edge of history.”—Washington Post

Roy Hoffman is the author of the novels Come Landfall and Chicken Dreaming Corn and the nonfiction books Back Home: Journeys through Mobile and Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, and he was a long-time staff writer for the Mobile Press-Register. He received the Clarence Cason Award in nonfiction from The University of Alabama and is on the faculty of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program.

20 March, 2014


The new novel from prize-winning author, Roy Hoffman, COME LANDFALL (University of Alabama Press)

“It will seize your heart and not let go.” -Sena Jeter Naslund

Set along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the stories of three women and the men they love come together in this novel of war and hJkt_Hoffmanurricanes, loss and renewal.

The worlds of three women and the men they love come together in this novel of war and hurricanes, loss and renewal. Christiane, or Nana, reliving the past in her eighties, her granddaughter Angela, working at a Biloxi casino in her twenties, and their teenage friend Cam, the daughter of a Vietnamese shrimper, form a deep connection. As they face heartbreak, their bonds nurture and sustain them. Ordinary people impacted by the shifts of history—Come Landfall is a southern story with a global sensibility.

The Gulf Coast serves as more than just a setting—it is a character unto itself. With casinos lining one side of the highway, antebellum homes along the other, and a Vietnamese neighborhood up the road, here the old South collides with the new. From households along this stretch of US 90, lineages and emotional connections stretch all over the world.

Inspired by true events, Roy Hoffman’s novel has its seeds in the saga of his uncle, Maj. Roy Robinton, US Marine Corps, a WWII prisoner of war in the Philippines who disappeared as captive on a Japanese “hellship.” His young bride, back home, was ground down, waiting.

Christiane returns in her mind to the man she married at twenty-one—Rosey, a flyer with the Army Air Corps who was in the Philippines at the outbreak of WWII. Angela meets Frank, an airman at Keesler Air Force base who is proudly patriotic, deeply religious, and a student of weather. Cam falls in love with Joe, a Biloxi cop, and her own tumultuous story begins to interweave with that of Angela’s and Nana’s. What’s taken from Nana, Angela, and Cam (and so many others when storms make their landfall), what’s given back, and what’s kept forever sit at the heart of this intimate yet expansive novel.

is author of the novels Almost Family, winner of the Lillian Smith Award, and Chicken Dreaming Corn, endorsed by Harper Lee. He is the author of two essay collections, Back Home: Journeys Through Mobile and Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Fortune, Southern Living, and the Mobile Press-Register, where he was a long-time staff writer. A graduate of Tulane, he received the 2008 Clarence Cason Award from the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences. He teaches for Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program.

9 May, 2012

A guest post from Toni Orans, actress and audiobook narrator

I’m delighted to share with you a guest post from Toni Orans, who helped to bring one of our agency client’s books, the novel CHICKEN DREAMING CORN, alive for the first time in audio through Audible’s ACX site.  It was a learning experience for Toni, author Roy Hoffman and me, but the result is terrific, and we are thrilled.  The audio version of the novel can be purchased on Amazon, on i-Tunes and on the ACX site. And now, over to Toni:

One summer night and one short exchange with a colleague changed my life for the next several months, and possibly forever!  That night that I got turned on to a relatively new site,,  a site I would describe as a matchmaker site for authors/literary agents and narrators… As I was about to go out that evening, and didn’t have much time to do a ‘proper’ profile with all my necessary bits and pieces, I did just the basic stuff and then had time enough to upload just one demo.

Well, wouldn’t you know, it just happened to be my demo of a reading I did of an excerpt of a Barbara Kingsolver short story ~ with a Southern accent. I didn’t really think too much of it at the time, till next morning while still in my pjs and checking out my e-mails before doing my morning routine, I came across a message from someone who’d seen my profile and heard my demo that I’d put up only the evening before–Joelle Delbourgo, a literary agent with her own agency representing a ‘mere’ 100(!) or more authors, and she was interested in having me audition for an audio-book for one of her authors. The book was “Chicken Dreaming Corn” by Roy Hoffman, a novelist and journalist.

As they say, the rest is history… after deciding to audition and then accepting an offer to do the recording for a book that would require many, many hours of research, I’m pleased to report that “Chicken Dreaming Corn” (the audio-version) is a dream that’s come true for both Roy and myself! As previously mentioned, it took hours of researching as the book has numerous accents for the various characters, both male and female, who are from no less than 9 different cultures, a few of those international, as well as words and some expressions in Yiddish and Spanish and a few geographical names from Romania (in fact, Romania is where the title originates from!) And, there’s more, as the story starts out in Mobile Alabama in 1916 and continues (with a few side trips to NY and Romania, where the main character has originally come from), thru the next few decades till 1945, following the lives of the main characters and their families.

It was an all-encompassing challenge and I did what was necessary to meet it as well as I could. After hours and hours of recording and editing and mastering (I worked with a terrific Pro-Tools engineer who helped me with the mastering process), I waited to get the corrections from Roy and corrections there were! Suffice to say, they also took quite some time and then the mastering process had to be done all over again. With my numerous years of doing voice work (commercials, documentary narration etc. etc.), and even having read classic literature live on the air on public radio for 7 years, this was all a very different kind of challenge. Thanks to Joelle for sending this great opportunity my way and to Roy for trusting my voice to be the many voices in his novel! Also, thanks to Lowell for his technical assistance, and my dear friends and colleagues who worked with me on this endeavor, sharing their expertise with certain pronunciations and accents.

I’m so pleased that it’s now out there and I’m hoping that the resulting audio is enjoyed by the many who listen to it!

Blog Excerpt

Thanks for plunging in so fully and completely to my novel and making it come alive through your voice. The reading is brilliant — you are especially good with dramatic exchanges. And you finessed the many cultures, accents, and linguistic nuances beautifully.  It’s been a challenge, I know, especially with so many characters and accents.  Your voice is enchanting and you’ve got a great talent for dramatizing scenes.
–Roy Hoffman, NY Times journalist and award-winning author, CHICKEN DREAMING CORN