SMA ANNUAL AWARDS DEADLINE MARCH 1
Deadline for submission of books in the annual SMA literary competition will be March 1, 2001. It's open to any author residing in the 12 Midland states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or
Wisconsin). Books published during 2000 may be entered by the publisher or by the author. There's no entry fee, but a copy of the book must be sent to each of three judges in the
appropriate category: adult fiction, adult nonfiction, biography, children's fiction,
children's nonfiction or poetry.
Entry forms may be downloaded from the SMA website: www.midlandauthors.com
Names and addresses of the judges will also be posted as soon as the list of judges is complete. DO NOT send books to anyone but the judges.BOOKS CHANGE BUT THE KIDS DON'T
Although the grown-up buyers of children's books take note of changing times, the
interests of the children remain much the same from year to year.
So said Kathleen Tucker, editor-in-chief of Albert Whitman & Company, publishers of
children's books, at the Nov. 14 meeting of the Society in the Cliff Dwellers Club. She joined a panel including Candace Fleming, author, and Eric Rohmann, illustrator, both prize winners in their respective fields.
What interests kids? Adjusting to a new sibling, learning about the world, going to
losing a friend who moves away, coping with the death of the family dog and the other ordinary events of a child's life.
Any new book has a hard time getting published. Tucker gets 3,500 submissions a
her company publishes only 30. Typical printings run from 6,000 to 10,000 copies. A bestseller might go to 60,000.
The publishing industry produces about 40,000 new kids' books a year, all competing forreviewers' attention and for shelf space. To get a book published "there has to be a
new spinon the old themes," Tucker said.
Fleming told of writing one book that started out with an idea for a character, a girl who
could do bird calls. As she worked on it, she realized she had to find out exactly what
birds make. That led to more and more research. In the end, reviewers praised it as an "eco-adventure."
Another Fleming book of 950 words ran to 47 drafts. This impresses kids mightily when sheVIEW OF THE MAN ATOP THE CHICAGO PYRAMID
visits a classroom and shows them the actual stack of paper.
She said, "I think in picture books. Once I have the idea, I see pictures attached to
stories," although, she laughed, in the end "the illustrator never gives me back
what I saw."
Rohmann starts by "discovering" an image, then expanding it. "Ideas come
from other ideas."
He noted that C. S. Lewis said his Narnia books came to him as mental movies, then he
wrote down what he saw.
"Books add a fourth dimension--time," Rohmann said. That's what makes them
TV and other media. The author/illustrator and the reader control the time, allowing the
reader the "moment when your mind fills everything in." All the panelists agreed that despite the practical assumptions of the market, there is
a demand for the originality that springs from artistic vision.
American Pharaoh was a good title for a biography of Richard J. Daley because he was both
a powerful autocrat and a builder, said Elizabeth Taylor, co-author of that biography, at
Oct. 10 SMA meeting in the Cliff Dwellers Club.
Taylor, now book editor for the Chicago Tribune as well as editor of the Chicago Tribune
Magazine, came to Chicago as bureau chief for Time magazine and " found everything
ledback to Richard J. Daley."His pyramids included the Sears Tower, the Dan Ryan Expressway, O'Hare International
Airport--"the list goes on." Allied with business leaders, he helped bring in
with an infrastructure of parking and new highways. He helped attract the University of
Illinois/Chicago to the near South Side, "a great thing." He kept Chicago from
Gary or Philadelphia.
At the same time, although the Black vote originally elected Daley, the Black population,
like the Jews in ancient Egypt, came to regard this modern pharaoh as an oppressor.
One example was the history of the Chicago Housing Authority, set up to replace a warren
of crumbling tenements mostly housing poor Black families. Elizabeth Wood, the highly
respected director, envisioned scattered site low-rise public housing, set amid trees,
easily accessible playgrounds.
This vision conflicted with the desire of Chicago politicians to keep Chicago segregated
under the control of the Daley machine. Wood was forced out, and the Black ghetto was
replicated in sterile new highrises.
Co-author of American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley: His Battle for Chicago and the
Nation is Adam Cohen of New York, a senior writer for the Nation section of Time.
THE SCHAAF REPORT
By Barbara Schaaf
In celebrating the dawn of the real millennium, thanks must be given to SMA's energetic,
peripatetic and perspicacious membership, without whom this report would be kept to 25 words or much, much less.
What better way to start a new millennium than with SMA's man for all millennia, Martin
Marty, who recently was feted at the 19th annual Amicus Certus dinner dance sponsored byLutheran Social Services of Illinois.
Marty was named as Lutheran Services' "true friend" for his dedication to
and for his natural skill in delineating the role of the church in modern media.
Marty is serving as interim president of St. Olaf's College while continuing as
editor of The Christian Century and editor of Context, and as professor emeritus of the
University of Chicago Divinity School.
"Surveys show that one-half of American adults volunteer for something,"
Marty. "The biggest unwritten story in American religion is the positive story."
the subject of another book which would be his 51st.
A Bump in the Night
Candlewick Press has brought out a new edition of Florence Parry Heide's Some Things Are
Scary, illustrated by Jules Feiffer and first published in l969. Publishers Weekly praises
reissue, saying , "With perceptive examples and over-the-top images of physical
Heide and Feiffer acknowledge, and perhaps demystify, some shared fears." Heide's
survives one anxiety-producing situation after another. For ages five to nine.
Another Web to Spin
Congratulations to the Chicago Press Veterans Association on adding Ray Hanania to the
board and on securing his services as webmaster. SMA is also fortunate to have Hanania
serve in both capacities.
When Do We Eat?
At a Press Vets dinner honoring Bob Wiedrich as Press Veteran of 2000, SMA board
member Phyllis Choyke won a $100 gift certificate from Lettuce Entertain You.
"Bad Coffee" But Good Work
SMA member Reginald Gibbons has joined the board of the Guild Complex as vice president and secretary, which entitles him to attend Sunday morning meetings featuring
coffee and sweet rolls.
The Guild Complex is an independent not-for-profit cultural center and forum for literary
cross-cultural expression, discussion and education.
He says he doesn't mind the sacrifice. He sees the Guild Complex as "the place where
full range of our American literary culture can be present and active."
For the past 16 years, Gibbons has been executive and artistic director at Northwestern's
TriQuarterly, as well as teaching creative writing and in the MFA program.
He has to his credit one novel, six volumes of poetry, and 20 other books, with Longshot
O'Leary the most recent (1999 from Holy Cowl Press).
Great Books, Big Deal
Bruce Gans continues to attract ink most recently on page one of the Chicago Tribune
for his success in proving that students at Chicago City Colleges can learn to love the Great
Gans caught flak for not devoting his class time to supposedly more relevant works,
instead focusing what he calls "the best that's been thought and said."
In November, Gans described his experiences at a national conference sponsored by the
Johnson Foundation. Gans's success at Wright College 28 sections of more than 960
has inspired teachers in other disciplines. And City Colleges President Wayne Watson is
urging other campuses to establish similar programs.
Dale on Sayers on Holmes
Alzina Stone Dale has written the introduction to Sayers on Holmes (Mythopoeic Press), a collection of Dorothy Sayers's essays on the great detective. Included for the first time
print is Sayers's centenary birthday tribute to Holmes, aired on the BBC in l954.
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
Honored by City and State
Glennette Tilley Turner has received the Studs Terkel Humanities Award given by the
Illinois Humanities Council. Following a reception in her honor at City Hall in Chicago on
Nov. 20, the award was presented at a meeting of the City Council.
Her newest book, The Underground Railroad in Illinois, which represents 30 years of
research and writing, rolled off the press the same week.
As Many Lives as a Cat
Two of Carol Adorjan's children's books: The Cat Sitter Mystery and The Copy Cat
Mystery, have been re-issued as Authors Guild Backinprint.com Editions.
Cat Sitter has enjoyed many reincarnations, here and abroad. This reprint brings the total
eight. She says, "Since there are five cats in the book, I figure it has many
more lives to
Wins Faulkner Medal
Barbara Croft, of Oak Park, Ill., has won first place in the novella category of this
Pirate's Alley Faulkner Society literary competition for her story, Columbia, set during
1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
The organization awards a cash prize and gold medal each year to writers in six
The awards are presented in New Orleans at the Faulkner Society's annual Words and Music
She is also the author of Necessary Fictions, a novel that won the 1999 SMA fiction award.
Dominic A. Pacyga has been named curator for the Chicago Architectural Foundation's
Chicago bungalow exhibit. The exhibit will open in September, 2001.
Pacyga is co-editing the first scholarly book on Chicago bungalows and is working on a
book-length manuscript on Chicago in the 1950s.
He was interviewed on WBEZ's 848 program in August concerning the anniversary of the
closing of the Chicago stockyards and in October concerning the bungalow exhibit.
A long article by James McManus about the 2000 World Series of Poker was featured on the
cover of the December Harper's magazine. The film rights have been optioned by a group
representing director John Turtletaub (Phenomenon, Instinct, The Kid).
His booklength narrative in progress, titled Positively Fifth Street, is being auctioned
publishers. He also covered the Poker Million tournament on the Isle of Man for Playboy.
His second novel, Chin Music, will be reissued in paperback by Foxrock in the spring of
2001. His fourth novel, Going to the Sun (1997 SMA fiction award), is in its fourth
Reads Poems in Moscow
Chicago poet Georg Nikolic was an honorary guest of the Russian PEN Centre at the
International PEN Congress held in Moscow in May. He read from his work at the main
literary event of the Congress, which featured poets and writers from all over the world,
including Gunter Grass, Andrei Voznesensky, Robert Bly, Bella Ahmadulina, Ana Blandiana
From Other Writers' Groups
Many SMA members belong also to other writers' organizations such as the Authors Guild
and the Midwest Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. From the Mystery Writers'
newsletter come the following items:
Scott Turow, as author of Personal Injuries was one of five nominees for the
Prize, according to the North American Branch of the International Association of Crime
Writers. It's named for the legendary writer Dashiell Hammett.
David Walker was given a certificate of appreciation for four years of service as the
Writers' treasurer. He reports that the third mystery in his Wild Onion series, The Death
Emerald Woods, is slated for December publication by St. Martin's.
From the Authors Guild Bulletin:
Jim Lehrer, novelist as well as PBS news anchor, told The Washington Post, "I'm not
other writers. I don't have to wait until the wind blows just right through the window.
(Writing) is like having a low-grade fever all the time."
Publishers' Cup of Teanewsletter index
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Marietta Marshall Marcin tells us an expanded third edition of her book on
herbal teas has been published by Storey Communications (Garden Way). Now called Herbal
Tea Gardens, the book which has been in print for 18 years gives growing, brewing and
health information for 100 herbs, as well as 20-plus garden plans.
Marietta also wrote an article on the subject for the premier issue of
"Perennials," a new
Better Homes and Gardens publication.