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March 1997

CALLAWAY HEADLINES DINNER
John Callaway, Channel 11 newscaster, will be the featured speaker at SMA's annual awards dinner Tuesday, May 20, at the Cliff Dwellers' Club. He's a member of SMA and author of The Thing of It Is. Guests will hear also from the winners of awards for the book of the year in six categories.

SMA MOVES INTO CYBERSPACE
The SMA Web page is now on line. If you have Web access through your computer, you can dial in as follows:
http://www.enteract.com/~midauth The plain E-mail address is:
midauth@enteract.com

The announcement that this was in the works has brought mixed reaction from members. Some are happy to have their resumes on line. Others prefer to guard their privacy. So here's the policy: Your resume won't be included unless you send it in. If you change your mind, you can send a brief biography later. SMA can't process them all at once anyway. The membership list now on line consists only of names, no address, no phone numbers. The rationale for a membership list on the Web is the same as for the annual SMA yearbook. The purpose of SMA is to foster a sense of community among authors in the Midlands. We can't do this unless we know who the other members are.

MAXWELL SHTETL
Maxwell St. re-created an Old World village in the heart of Chicago. So said Irving Cutler when he took his audience on a tour of Chicago history, based on his book, The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb, at the SMA's January program. Using slides of photos from the book, he showed scenes of Maxwell St. in the old days. Between 1880 and about 1920 Jewish immigrants made Chicago the third largest Jewish city in the world, next after New York and Warsaw. Growing up in the area himself, he recalled that his mother was once arrested for selling chickens without a license. Everything could be bought and sold there. Nothing had a firm price. Differentiated by national origin, there were 40 synagogues within a square mile, some next door to each other. Despite the hardships common to immigrants, Chicago Jews produced many distinguished figures, including such authors as Edna Ferber and Saul Bellow as well as Benny Goodman, Mel Torme, Paul Muni, Julius Rosenwald, Studs Terkel, Ann Landers and Sydney J. Harris, to mention a few familiar names.

New Biography
Martin Litvin's new popularized version of the biography of Mary Allen West is now in distribution by Zephyr Publishing of Galesburg, Ill. Zephyr Publishing has been producing a weekly newspaper in Galesburg for the past seven years. The West biography first appeared in an abridged, serialized form in that newspaper. Litvin's study is the first book-length review of the 19th century Galesburg-born educator and temperance worker's life to appear in print since her death while on a WCTU speaking tour in Kanazawa, Japan 104 years ago. West was the first child born in the community that was to become Galesburg. She was elected, against her wishes, the first female county superintendent of schools in Illinois, instituting many educational reforms. She was a prolific writer, speaker, WCTU activist and editor of their national journal, the Union Signal.

Third Book Accepted Kathleen Long Bostrom writes, I just received word that my third book, Reading Between the Lines: Biographies of the Newbery Medal Winners, has been accepted for publication by Essmont Publishing in Brandon, Vt. ...Every acceptance is as exciting as the first. The book will not be out until 1998 or 1999, but considering that I still have a lot of writing to do, I'm not complaining!

Breathtaking Poems
Kevin Stein's new poetry collection, Bruised Paradise from the University of Illinois Press, earned notice from Missouri Review as a breathtakingly imaginative and vital book. In addition, Ohio University Press recently published Stein's Private Poets, Worldly Acts, essays on the interplay of public and private history, a book which poet William Matthews suggests will offer a central challenge for American poetry.

Blacks to Follow
Glennette Tilley Turner's most recent book, Follow in Their Footsteps (Cobblehill). This book is a collective biography featuring ten notable African Americans: Carter G. Woodson, Dorothy Height, Thurgood Marshall, Bessie Coleman, A. G. Gaston, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Alex Haley, Charlemae Rollins, Malcolm X, and Edmonia Lewis. Each biography is accompanied by a do-it-yourself skit. This book is the sequel to Take a Walk in Their Shoes. An essay based on the life of her maternal grandmother and the toy she patented is included in a collection of family memories by African-American authors and illustrators. The work entitled In Praise of Our Fathers and Mothers (Just Us Books) was also published in February.

Retells Indian Tale
Ann Tompert of Port Huron, Mich., reports:  My latest book, How the Rabbit Lost His Tail is due out from Houghton this spring. Jacqueline Chwast is the illustrator of this tale, which is based on a Seneca Indian folk tale.

Goes International
Babysitter on Horseback by Fern G. Brown is being translated into Swedish and Norwegian. Her latest book, American Indian Science: a New Look at an Old Culture is out this month from Henry Holt. Daisy and the Girl Scouts, her biography of Juliette Low, has been getting a lot of attention. With a woman dressed as Juliette Low, she has been giving school programs based on the book.

Continues Series
The third in a series of biographies by Andy Russell Bowen of St. Paul, Minn., is due out this month from Carolrhoda. The Back of Beyond is about Lewis and Clark. Previously published were A World of Knowing (Thomas Gallaudet) and A Head Full of Notions (Robert Fulton). Scheduled for early 1998: The Golden Lioness (Beryl Markham). Ms. Bowen remarks, I continue to learn a lot from the research, writing and editing process, and consider myself very lucky to be doing something that I enjoy so much.

Duh?
A fifth book from Charlene Ann Baumbich, The Book of Duh!, will be released in summer by Harold Shaw Publishers. The author comments, For better or worse, this is probably the book I was born to write. I continue to maintain a busy speaking agenda throughout the country.

Planner Quoted
Stuart Meck was quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal describing his work on a new publication of the American Planning Association. The 381-page Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook shows state, regional and local authorities how to update legislation to cope with growth. Many existing laws reflect concepts from the 1920s, he said.

New Poetry Collection
Susan Hahn's new book of poetry, Confession, was published in February by the University of Chicago Press.

Gail Giles, Chicago. Author of Breath of the Dragon, Clarion, a new book.


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