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February 1997

SMA's monthly programs on second Tuesdays (Feb. 11 and March 11) will now be held at the new Cliff Dwellers' Club in the Borg-Warner building across from the Art Institute. (See February program details below.) As previously announced, this will also be the site of our annual awards dinner in May.

    Historical note: In 1913, after much debate, wrote Hamlin Garland (winner of a 1922 Pulitzer Prize), the National Institute of Arts and Letters agreed to trek west to hold its annual meeting in Chicago. Some considered Chicago the sparsely settled Border of Esthetic Culture. When Garland was appointed arrangements chairman, his first thought was to make the Cliff Dwellers' Club, of which he was president, host for the occasion. Instead, in order to involve as much as possible of the city's literary and artistic community, he invited 17 organizations to help him form a reception committee. At the first meeting, the members elected Hobart Chatfield-Taylor chairman. It's not far-fetched to assume that this event may have triggered the birth of the Society of Midland Authors. Four years later, Chatfield-Taylor, Garland and others, including many members of the Cliff Dwellers' Club, founded SMA with Chatfield-Taylor as first president.

By Jim Schwab
The SMA Website Develop- ment Committee is ready for you. Every SMA member can contribute to the new World Wide Web site on the Internet by preparing a brief biographical sketch. An example appears in this issue of Literary License, prepared by member Richard Lindberg.

Narrate your biography succinctly, noting any highlights, awards, and key publications. Separately from this text, also indicate any literary categories under which you would prefer to have people find you, such as juvenile fiction, mystery, history, or poetry. Try to use common categories that are easily searchable.

The format of the Website involves a home page that allows viewers to link into other pages using a mouse, as do most Websites. The links will include our brochure (Poems for Bread), recent issues of Literary License, an explanation of our annual book awards competition including entry forms and rules, listings of upcoming programs, and a current listing of our members. Each member's name will provide a link to any biographical sketch provided, and, if the member has a personal Web page at another site, a link to that personal site. One benefit for our members, we hope, is that publishers seeking qualified writers will discover some of our members through browsing the site, thus bringing work proposals and contracts to SMA members.

We would like to receive these contributions, if possible, on an IBM-formatted floppy disk or by e-mail. The Society's new e-mail address is:

As soon as the Website is ready, we will announce its URL (Web equivalent of a phone number) in a coming issue of this newsletter. If it is not possible to submit the sketch in either of the recommended formats, then it MUST be a clean paper copy that we can scan into the computer. All other formats, especially anything handwritten, will be deemed unacceptable because of the work they pose for the Website developers.

Sample biography:
Richard Lindberg, a member of the Society of Midland Authors executive board, is the author of eight books dealing with aspects of Chicago history, politics, sports, and neighborhood ethnicity including: To Serve & Collect - Chicago Politics and Police Corruption (1991); Passport's Guide to Ethnic Chicago (1992); Chicago By Gaslight - A History of the Chicago Netherworld (1996); Quotable Chicago (1996); Stealing First in a Two-Team Town: The White Sox From Comiskey to Reinsdorf (1994); and the forthcoming White Sox Encyclopedia, to be published by Temple University Press in the Spring of 1997. He is also a member of the Chicago Crime Commission, the Chicago Press Veterans, while presently serving as the editor of the Illinois Police & Sheriffs News, a quarterly investigative and news opinion journal dealing with law enforcement collective bargaining issues, Midwestern organized crime, and Cook County politics. He can be reached through E-mail at:

Birthday Tribute
Leon Forrest, a past president of SMA, will be honored for his distinguished literary career at a program Jan. 21 at the Art Institute. The ceremonies will include readings from his works and a medley of his favorite jazz and blues music. Professor of African-American Studies and English at Northwestern University, Forrest is acclaimed for such works as Divine Days, his latest novel, and The Furious Voice of Freedom, a new book of essays.

Marks OCWW's 50th
Rita Turow was featured in a Chicago Sun-Times interview marking the 50th anniversary of the Off Campus Writers' Workshop. She's a past president of OCWW as well as a former board member of SMA. Many members have enjoyed an association with OCWW either as writers or lecturers or both.

Time to Write
In a Publishers Weekly interview, Jim Lehrer observed that TV newscasting is a good job for a novelist. When the show signs off, your work is done and there's nothing more to do until some more news happens. His newest novel is White Widow, from Random House.

Book Honored
Dempsey J. Travis' Views from the Back of the Bus During World War II and Beyond has been named an Outstanding Book on Human Rights. The citation was issued on Dec. 10, Human Rights Day, by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. Travis was also in the news recently as consultant to the city on the establishment of a new police headquarters at 35th and State streets.

Remembers Cardinal
Tim Unsworth's most recent book, I Am Your Brother Joseph: Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago, was released Jan. 15 by Crossroad, New York. Unsworth and his wife, Jean, knew the late cardinal well.

Signs for Three Books Kenosha, Wis., author Michael Craft, whose first novel, Rehearsing, was honored as a finalist for the SMA's 1994 Adult Fiction Award, has signed a three-book contract with Kensington Publishing, New York. The hardcover mystery series will chronicle the exploits of Mark Manning, a gay investigative reporter who works for a large Chicago daily. The author absorbed background for the series during his 10 years as an editorial art director at the Chicago Tribune. The first title, Flight Dreams, is scheduled for a June release during Gay Literature Month.

Like Shooting Stars
Valiska Gregory's new children's book, When Troubles Fell Like Shooting Stars, won praise from Publishers Weekly for poetic imagery and great emotional resonance.

Tribute to Poet
Barry Silesky published an appreciation of the poet Paul Carrol in the Chicago Tribune Magazine. Silesky is editor of Another Chicago Magazine.

Foils Murdoch
Zena Sutherland writes: After a long labor (without an editor, due to Rupert Murdoch's putting Harper Text division up for auction) have safely delivered ninth edition of my textbook. Was thrilled, on a November work trip in South Africa to find earlier editions well known.

Foreign Rights
Sue Harrison of Pickford, Mich., reports: My young adult novel, Sisu, will be released in April, 1997, by Thunder Bay Press. Song of the River, a novel of prehistoric Alaska and the first book in The Storyteller Trilogy, will be released by Avon Hardcover in November, 1997, and by Limes Verlag in Germany. I will be on tour in Japan in February for the Japanese publication of my novel, Brother Wind by Shobunsha, Ltd. of Tokyo.

Perfect Fit
Nesting Dolls, Joanne Koch's award-winning drama based on the true story of a woman's triumphant struggle to overcome childhood abuse, produced in November by the API Theatre of Kalamazoo, Mich., received rave reviews. The Kalamazoo Gazette said, There are moments when a play clicks; when the script, the acting, the directing all culminate in an emotion that the audience not only sees artfully expressed, but actually shares. Nesting Dolls clicked in just that way. Robert Walker, Producing Director of API, plans to bring this production to Chicago in May. Another play by Joanne Koch, A Leading Woman appears in a new anthology, Plays from the Women's Theatre Alliance.

Books and Honors
Martin E. Marty published Under God, Indivisible, Volume III of his Modern American Religion with University of Chicago Press this fall and will publish The One and the Many: America's Search for the Common Good with Harvard this spring. He says, It's evidently `honors' time (or recognition of aging process time), since between November and January he was given the Career Achievement Award by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion; at the American Academy of Religion, he was awarded the first of what will become an annual Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, and he was honored with a special session at the American Society of Church History recognizing his 35 years of editing the Society's Church History quarterly. He has also been asked by the Pew Charitable Trusts to invent and direct a new Public Religion Project, which will become his full-time post after university retirement in spring of 1998. His offices are at 919 N. Michigan Ave. closer to Society of Midland Authors operations than his study at the University of Chicago has been.

His Ship Comes In
Anne Barry writes, My husband, James P. Barry also a member of the Society of Midland Authors who was named Great Lakes Historian of the Year in 1995 by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, has recently (in 1996) had published a revised and enlarged edition of his 1973 Ships of the Great Lakes: 300 Years of Navigation. In addition to the regular edition of the new Ships there is a signed and numbered edition of 500 copies. The publisher is Thunder Bay Press, Lansing, Mich.

A Cone is a Cone
Environmental expert and author Jim Schwab achieved a different kind of distinction by making the best estimate of the number of poinsettia plants decorating the giant Christmas tree in the lobby of his office building. He guessed 158 to win a free dinner gift certificate. The correct number was 156. A mere matter of calculating the surface of a cone, he said smugly.

One Book Leads to Another
On the heels of one book acceptance, Kathy Bostrom of Wildwood, Ill., reports another. The World That God Made will be issued by the same publisher, Tyndale House, as her first book, Questions for Little Hearts.

Supergranny Abroad
Beverly Van Hook's latest Supergranny mystery for children has been published by Holderby & Bierce. In Supergranny 7: the Villainous Vicar, the author takes her gray-haired detective to England. Supergranny, who drives a Red Ferrari, has been called the James Bond of the grandmother set.

Remembers Grandpa
Stuart Dybek, now of Kalamazoo, Mich., wrote a reminiscence of his grandfather, who once was trapped in a coal mine, for the Chicago Tribune Magazine.

Makes History
Bruce L. Felknor reports publication of his The Highland Park Presbyterian Church: a History 1871-1996. And he's almost finished with The American Merchant Marine at War: 1775-1945.

Other New Books
By Martin Litvin, Wataga, Ill.; Bread and Salt: a Novel of the Civil War. Western Books. By Harold L. Klawas, Munster, Ind.: Why Michael Couldn't Hit, Freeman, 1996. By Alice Judson Hayes (Alice Ryerson: Water and Journal of the Lake, both poetry, both by Open Books, 1997.

Nancy Crist, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Until recently on the staff of the Arlington Heights public library. Author of three plays, Everything Relative (Dramatic Publishing), Soul Survivors (West End Theatre) and Jack the Chipper (Black 'n' Blue Productions).

Gordon K. Durnil, Indianapolis. Attorney, former Indiana Republican state chairman, former U.S. chairman of the International Joint Commission, author of The Making of a Conservative Environmentalist, already in second printing. A new book, Is America Beyond Reform? will be out this summer.

Fred L. Gardaphe, Lombard, Ill. Author of Italian Signs, American Streets.

William J. Helmer, Chicago. Author of Dillinger: the Untold Story.

Keith Krasemann, Glen Ellyn, Ill. Books include Workbook on Critical Thinking and Questions for the Soul: an Introduction to Philosophy.

Marjorie M. Kriz, Evanston, Ill. Co-author (as told to) of Soaring Above Setbacks: the Autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg, African-American Aviator, published by Smithsonian.

Philip Howard Lewis, Madison, Wis. Well-known professor of urban planning and author of Tomorrow by Design: a Regional Design for Sustainability.

Jacquelyn Mitchard, Madison, Wis. Author of The Deep End of the Ocean, which has been near the top of the Publishers Weekly best-selling fiction list for many weeks.

Yvonne Zipter, Chicago. Author of Ransacking the Closet.

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