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February 2006

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 The Society of Midland Authors Literary Competition for books published in 2005 is now underway. Each year since its inception in 1915, the Society has presented awards for excellence to authors and poets.

 Currently the Society presents awards of cash and recognition plaques to winners in the categories of adult fiction and nonfiction, biography, poetry, and children's fiction and nonfiction published in the previous year. The juried competition is open to authors and poets who reside in, were born in, or have strong ties to the Midwestern Heartland.

 Beginning in 2002, the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism is also presented under our aegis. In addition, at the discretion of the Society's officers and board of directors, lifetime achievement awards are presented to individuals who have donated their time and energies to assist the Society over a period of years and authors recognized for their contributions to Midwestern letters.

 States covered include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.




 Mark Eleveld, 305 Brooks Ave., Joliet, IL 60435 (815-723-3184)

Cheryl Reed, 1128 46th St., Chicago, IL 60653 (312-321-2031)

Donna Seaman, 4159 N. Lawndale, Chicago, IL 60618



Carol Jean Carlson, 1420 West Farragut, Chicago, IL 60640 (773-506-7578)

Bill Cleveland, 1560 N.

Sandburg Terrace, Apt. 3209, Chicago, IL 60610 (312-943-7124)

Richard Prince, 1406 East 55th St., Chicago, IL 60615 (773-324-2643 or 815-836-5287)



Richard Lindberg, 5915 N. Navarre Ave., Chicago, IL 60631 (773-631-3023)

Bob Remer, 5840 N. Kenmore, Chicago, IL 60640 (773-561-6280)

Jim Schwab, 1755 N. Campbell, Chicago, IL 60647 (312-786-6364)



Marilyn Daleo, 195 N. Harbor Dr., #3605, Chicago, IL 60601 (312-946-0150)

Marlene Targ Brill, 314 Lawndale, Wilmette, IL 60091 (847-251-4448)

Mary Jane Miller, 6616 Blackstone Dr., Downers Grove, IL 60516 (630-966-2911)



Betsy Gray, 3625 Thayer, Evanston, IL 60201 (847-869-0545)

Charlotte Herman, 6623 N. Monticello, Lincolnwood, IL 60712 (847-673-5597)

Nancy Volkman, 3240 N. Lake Shore Dr., #9D, Chicago, IL 60657 (773-534-1196 or 773-327-1475)



Mark Arendt, 8641 Beech St., Munster, IN 46321 (219-923-8712 or 708-259-5810)

Anthony Burton, University of Chicago Press, 1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637 (773-702-9768 or 773-645-9973)

Richard Jones, 913 Lois Lane, Glenview, IL 60025 (847-657-9525)





Forbidden Pleasures

 Frank González-Crussi's new book, On Seeing: Things Seen, Unseen, and Obscene (Overlook), is a compelling set of philosophical meditations on the relationship between the viewer and the viewed. González-Crussi contends that through seeing, the two are forever joined and effect one another in profound ways and that this has led to a strong desire on the part of humans to see what is forbidden.

 In support of this theory, González-Crussi recounts historical and cultural examples of voyeurism. González-Crussi, who is a professor emeritus of pathology at Northwestern University Medical School, mixes in his personal reflections on this phenomenon drawn from medicine.


Classic American Storyteller

 An early and active member of the Society of Midland Authors, Zona Gale (1874-1938) first published the novella, Miss Lulu Bett, in 1920 to both critical and popular acclaim. It was followed by Gale's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name.

 A new edition, Miss Lulu Bett and Selected Stories (paperback, Anchor), edited by Barbara Solomon and Eileen Panetta, has a new introduction and adds four of Gale's short stories.

 Lulu Bett is 34 years old, unwed, and lives with her sister and mean-spirited brother-in-law. She is "the family beast of burden," an uncompensated menial.

 Things seem about to change with the arrival of Ninian, the high-spirited and sophisticated brother of her brother-in-law. What follows is a story of independence and marriage.

 The other stories in the book are "Dream" (1919), "The Biography of Blade" (1927), "The Need" (1930) and "Bridal Pond" (1930). All of these speak of marriage, societal strictures and the imbalance of power.


And Still Counting

 On the New Year's Eve edition of Those Were the Days, Chuck Schaden reached a milestone never attained by any of the radio classics showcased on his program. Schaden has been on the air for 35 years and eight months. The longest running classic radio show was Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, which broadcast from the Allerton Hotel and aired for 35 years and six months.

 To celebrate the occasion, Schaden ran the final broadcast of the Breakfast Club, which signed off on Dec. 27, 1968.

 Those Were the Days airs from 1 pm to 5 pm Saturdays on the College of DuPage's WDCB-FM (90.9) and streams online at




 Alex Kotlowitz, of Oak Park, Ill., is author of the 1998 book, The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death and America's Dilemma, and the 1987 best-selling There Are No Children Here, which received the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, the Carl Sandburg Award and a Christopher Award.

 It also was the subject of a 1993 television film for ABC starring Oprah Winfrey. The New York Public Library included it on a list of the 150 most important books of the 20th century. His most recent book is Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago (2004).

 His first reporting job was in Lansing, Mich., for the Lansing Star. He then worked for the Wall Street Journal for nine years. He speaks on college campuses and has been writer-in-residence at Northwestern University and a Distinguished Visitor at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

 Taylor H.A. Bell, author of Sweet Charlie, Dike, Cazzie, and Bobby Joe: High School Basketball in Illinois, joined the sports staff of the Champaign- Urbana Courier after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He moved to the St. Louis Globe- Democrat, and then to the Chicago Daily News.

 When that paper folded in 1978 he joined the Chicago Sun- Times. He has covered professional sports as well, but found his niche in traveling the state to write about high school sports.

 Before retiring in 2001, he wrote a column on high school basketball and covered the sport extensively throughout the state.

 Pamela Riney-Kehrberg is associate professor of history and director of the program in agricultural history and rural studies at Iowa State University. She is author of Childhood on the Farm: Work, Play and Coming of Age in the Midwest (University of Kansas Press, 2005) and Rooted in the Dust: Surviving Drought and Depression in Southwestern Kansas and editor of Waiting on the Bounty: The Dust Bowl Diary of Mary Knackstedt Dyck (University of Iowa Press).

 Larry Lane is a young Chicago area writer and poet. He is author of The Wonder Years: A College Story (2004).




Athletes of Yesteryear

 Taylor Bell writes, " I am about to send the manuscript of my second book, Where Have You Gone?, to the publisher, Sports Publishing, in Champaign, Ill.

 "My book focuses on 50 former Illinois high school basketball players from the 1950s to the early 1990s, 1,000-word personality profiles documenting their careers from childhood, high school, college and professional sports and/or careers to retirement. 

 "Some of the players that even casual sports fans might remember: Cazzie Russell, Sweet Charlie Brown, Tommy Hawkins, Bobby Joe Mason, Quinn Buckner, Jack Sikma, Jay Shidler, Deon Thomas, Tom Kleinschmidt, Kiwane Garris, Rashard Griffith.

"It was so enjoyable to research these books, renewing relationships with old players and coaches whom I had covered as a journalist for 40 years.

 "Now I'm hoping to find a publisher who might want to publish a book on a history of high school football in Illinois.

 "Does anybody remember Red Grange, Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke?"


One Sale Leads to Another...

 Alan Neff writes, " I recently sold to F&W Publications a "Success Story" about how I marketed and sold my novel, Blauser's Building, without an agent. F&W publishes, among other things, Novel and Short Story Writer's Market, the annual novelist's marketing reference and directory.

 "My success story will appear in the 2007 edition to be released in August, 2006.

 "Here's a footnote that you might find amusing: I also wrote a humorous piece called 'Novelista'" about writing and selling this piece about selling my novel. I performed it at the Green Mill poetry slam one night, and I won the slam on the strength of it.

 "The moral: Little fleas have smaller fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, and smaller fleas have smaller fleas, and on ad infinitum."


Writes Obit of Co-author

 Steve Huntley had the sad duty of writing an obit in the Chicago Sun-Times for his co-author, Truman K. Gibson, Jr., who died Dec. 23 at 93. They collaborated on Knocking Down Barriers (Northwestern University Press, 2005).

 Gibson, a Chicago attorney, was the last surviving member of the World War II-era "Black Cabinet" of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S Truman.

 "As an advocate for African- American soldiers in the War Department from 1940 through 1945, Mr. Gibson fought tirelessly to break down the segregation that ruled the U.S. Army, to persuade the military leadership to commit black servicemen to combat instead of relegating them to service and support duty, and to protect the rights" and even the lives of African-American soldiers trained at camps mostly in the Jim Crow South, where white violence was a constant threat.

 As a young graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, Mr. Gibson was a member of the legal team that challenged a restrictive racial covenant prohibiting African- Americans from living in the Washington Park area of the South Side. This case involved black real-estate developer Carl Hansberry, whose daughter Lorraine would use the experience as inspiration for her 1959 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, A Raisin in the Sun.

 Abner Mikva, the former Illinois congressman, federal appellate judge and White House counsel, praised Gibson's role in helping persuade President Truman to integrate the armed forces, and called Truman's order "the most important thing the government had done since the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution."

 Huntley wrote, "(Gibson's) was a life that touched on many of the critical issues of race in America in the 20th century."

Signs 65th Book Contract

Marlene Targ Brill has seen just-off-the-press copies of her latest book, Barack Obama: Working to Make a Difference by Millbrook Press. As far as she knows, this is the only children's biography about Illinois's latest star politician--at least until Obama's own comes out in the future.

Brill, who is about to sign her 65th book contract, received news that her Alzheimer's Disease from Marshall Cavendish made the list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for K-12 for 2006. Selections result from a cooperative project by the National Science Teacher's Association and Children Book Council.

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