The Bottom Line
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Childress wins Harper Lee Award

Key West resident and award-winning novelist Mark Childress recently received the 2014 Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer of the Year, according to a press release from the Alabama Writers' Forum.

Childress is a native of Monroeville, Ala. and most of his novels take place in the American South with strong Southern characters.

"Mark Childress's career is both an inspiration for writers and a delight for readers," said Alabama Writers' Forum President Kirk Curnutt.

The Harper Lee Award is presented annually to a living, nationally recognized Alabama writer who has made a significant, lifelong contribution to Alabama letters. The award includes a Frank Fleming bronze of the Old Monroe County Courthouse, a setting for Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and a $5,000 honorarium.

"I am overwhelmed. I am basically the kind of writer who doesn't win awards, and I am really grateful. Harper Lee is my hero, and I am so happy to accept this award," Childress said.

Womankind welcomes physician

Womankind is pleased to welcome its first physician, Dr. David Forest, to its medical staff. Trained in surgical robotics and certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Forest is a graduate of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago. He completed an internship and residency at the Naval Medical Command in Oakland, Calif.

Dr. Forest will provide general gynecological care (no obstetrics), minimally invasive procedures (such as colonoscopies) and minor surgeries. He will also become Womankind's medical director.

Dr. Forest and his partner, Michael Kasperski, moved to Key West last November from Phoenix, Ariz.

Key West makes top 10

Vacation rental portal recently ranked Key West among the top 10 vacation rental destinations that are currently trending for 2014. Rankings are based on the website's traveler demand to date.

Key West ranked No. 8 on the 2013 list, and has now advanced to No. 5.

The full list of FlipKey's leading destinations for vacation rentals in 2014 is:

1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2. Miami Beach, Fla.

3. Orlando/Kissimmee, Fla.

4. Naples, Fla.

5. Key West, Fla.

6. Kihei, Hawaii

7. Panama City Beach, Fla.

8. Honolulu, Hawaii

9. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

10. Seminyak, Bali