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March 2001


      The February program featuring Al Gini and his new book, My Job, My Self: Work and the Creation of the Modern Individual, had to be relocated at the last minute to the Chicago Athletic Assn. because of a fire at the Cliff Dwellers Club.
      The fire started in the kitchen and resulted in major damage that will take many weeks to repair. The club hopes the dining room can be re-opened in time for the SMA annual awards banquet on May 8.
      Meanwhile, SMA programs in March and April will be held at the CAA, 12 S. Michigan Ave., just a few blocks north of the Cliff Dwellers.


Ursula Bielski, author of Chicago Haunts, will discuss spooky places and writing about the supernatural.

     Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
     (Gym Knights Room on third floor)

      When : 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p. m.  program, Tuesday, March 13

Reservations NOT needed. Public invited. Hors d'oeuvres, wine and soft drinks,   reception and presentation:
               $10 for members, $15 for non-members.
For information, call Matt Smolek at C.A.A., 312/236-7500, Ext. 2113

      March 17, 3 p.m. (Barnes & Noble/SMA series at Barnes & Noble Webster Place store)--Pat Monaghan, a member of the interdisciplinary faculty of DePaul University and the author of two books of poetry and several nonfiction books on mythology, will read from her forthcoming book: The Red-Haired Girl on the Bog: A Celtic Spiritual Geography (New World Library). The book poetically evokes the myth-saturated Irish landscape and the author's experiences there. She will read from the title chapter, which describes the haunted bogs of Connemara and the leanan sidhe, the fairy lover, who lives there.     April 10 (SMA program at C.A.A.)--Dick Simpson, political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and former Chicago alderman, will review Chicago political history as described in his new book, Rogues, Rebels and Rubber Stamps: The Politics of the Chicago City Council from 1863 to the Present (Westview Press). Chicago Sun-Times political editor Steve Neal has called it "the best and most authoritative book that has ever been written on the subject." Simpson, he added, "has done a public service in writing it."
      May 8--Annual Awards  Dinner, with Clifton Truman Daniel as  featured speaker. He'll talk about growing up in a family where everyone is an author. His own book is Growing Up with My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S Truman, with a foreword by his parents. His mother, Margaret Truman, is still writing mystery novels. His father, Clifton Daniel, is retired managing editor of the New York Times, and author or editor of a number of books, including a memoir.

      Deadline for submissions to the SMA literary awards covering books published during 2000 is March 1.
      Books must be sent directly to each judge by category.

     Encouraged by good response last year, SMA has signed up again for a table at the Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago June 2 and 3.      For $25, to help defray the cost of the table, members can use the table to sell their own books to the thousands of book-lovers who flock each year to the fair.
     SMA will try to accommodate all members who wish to participate. You must choose either Saturday or Sunday. Hours will be assigned according to how many authors sign up.
     Other rules:  You must bring at least 10 books and be prepared to make change. You must remain at the booth throughout your assigned time.
    Plans are afoot to make this year's fair more festive with perhaps a literary quiz in the program, aliterary game show, authors in period costumes, talks on writing opportunities or other features.
      Volunteers with ideas are welcome.
     For more information, contact Mary Edsey, 2153 W. Cullom, Chicago, IL 60618.
Phone: 773/404-9402. E-mail:
     Or visit the SMA website:

    Arthur Dahl, writer and photographer, has joined the SMA board of directors.
    A former teacher in Chicago public schools and the City College system, he is the author of Making Peace: Photographs and Interviews with Peacemakers in the United States with foreword by Daniel Berrigan.
    Dahl says his current project is building a new darkroom.

    Please write in the following corrections to the  membership roster in the issue of the  SMA
Yearbook you recently received:
    Edward W. Baumann, phone 262/654-1261; E-mail,
    Mary Edsey, E-mail,
    Carol Felsenthal,
    George McDaniel, E-mail,
    Gerry and Janet Souter, phone (D & N) 847/398-3074. Fax, 847/398-3075.


                         THE SCHAAF  REPORT
                          By Barbara Schaaf
Skoal, Skilnik
    Bob Skilnik, whose History of Beer and Brewing in Chicago Part II will be published this summer,
does not need any research assistants -- alas -- but he would appreciate the help of the SMA
membership in locating the following:
    Angelo Geocaris, former Schlitz distributor in Chicago.
    Keith and Steve Dinehart, former owners of Chicago Brewing Co.
    Ken Pavichevich, former owner of Pavichevich (Baderbrau)  Brewery in Elmhurst.
    Bob's History of Beer and Brewing in Chicago Part I won the Quill and Tankard Gold Medal Award
from the North American Guild of Beer Writers for the best beer book of 2000.

DNA Will Out
    In The Rule of Justice:  The People of Chicago versus Zephyr Davis (Ohio State University Press),
Elizabeth Dale, daughter of SMA member Alzina Stone Dale, examines an 1888 Chicago case in which
an African American was accused of murdering his Irish-American co-worker. 
    Elizabeth Dale is an assistant professor of U. S. legal history at the University of Florida.

Long Run on the Charts
    Congratulations to Kent Haruf, whose trade paperback Plainsong (Vintage)  remains on Publishers
Weekly's list of trade paperback bestsellers, number 11 in the latest issue at press time. It's been
moving up for 18 weeks.

    Lynn Lawson's Staying Well in a Toxic World: Understanding Environmental Illness, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, Chemical Injuries and Sick Building Syndrome has gone into its fourth printing.
    It was first published in 1994. She has updated the new edition for the new millennium to provide up-to-date resources on health and environment.
     It's published by Lynwood Press, P.O. Box 1732, Evanston, IL 60201.

Free Kids Workshop
    Joanne Koch, SMA past president, is coordinating a workshop on writing children's books for
National-Louis University on Wed., Feb. 28.
     She will be joined by SMA colleagues Laurie Lawlor, author of George on His Own and the Addie books, and Esther Herschenhorn, author of There Goes Lowell's Party! and regional advisor for the
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
    Although it's free, reservations are a must. Phone to save a space. Registration is at 6 p.m. and the workshop begins at 6:30 p.m. at NLU's downtown location, Room 5006, 122 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
    Other participants include Junko Yokota, author of a textbook on children's literature; Jan Spivey, who has written and illustrated 34 children's books; Judy O'Malley, editor of nonfiction magazines and books; W. Nikola-Lisa, author of young children's books; and Nathaniel Talking, who shared the Coretta Scott King Award for his work.
    The workshop is sponsored by NLU's M.S. in Written Communication Program.


Writers' Writer
    SMA members who know Scott Turow will not be surprised to learn that he will receive a Writers for Writers Award sponsored by Barnes & Noble.
    The award honors writers who have "made lasting contributions to the well-being of their fellow writers," according Poets & Writers Inc., a nonprofit organization that established the award in 1996.
    The award will be presented at a ceremony in New York on March 20.
    Turow has been in the news also for a column he wrote in the Chicago Tribune defending Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who has been under attack because of a bribery scandal in the Secretary of State's driver's license operation.
    Turow, as a former federal prosecutor and proven foe of corruption in government, pointed to the lack of any evidence of wrongdoing by Ryan.
    Although Turow is a lifelong Democrat, he praised the Republican governor for getting things done that benefit the people of the state, and in particular for ordering a death penalty moratorium in Illinois after it turned out that half the prisoners on Death Row were in fact innocent.
    Turow wrote: "Given the strong pro-death penalty majority in this state, the decision wasn't good politics (which is why it hasn't been repeated anywhere else). It was just plain decency. Gov. Ryan has been celebrated around the world for his courage. In Illinois, citizens barely seems to notice."

Connect With Kids
    Charlene Baumbich launched her sixth book, 365 Ways to Connect With Your Kids - No Matter What Their Age (or Yours) (Career Press), with a book signing at The Book Store in Glen Ellyn, Ill., on Feb. 10
    The book contains 365 mini stories of connectedness.  She writes, "I love this book, and believe it can truly impact the parent-child relationship, infusing it with layers deeper than activities and communication--which don't always equal connecting.
    "The parent-child relationship is a two-way street...   parents are not only the givers; they are much-blessed recipients as well."

"Lucid Theology"
    Robert McClory's latest book continues to pile up good reviews. Praise from Publishers Weekly for Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church (Orbis) was previously quoted in this space.
    Now comes Commonweal to say: "McClory, a frequent contributor to the Catholic press, teaches journalism at Northwestern University. One expects him to write clearly and persuasively; that expectation is met.
    "Though not a professional theologian, he is quite capable of writing about theology and does so lucidly. In the contemporary climate of theological debate it is good to remind ourselves of what Cardinal Newman wrote to a potential convert worrying about papal infallibility. Everything coming from Rome [said Newman] must be interpreted by the theologian and must be received by the church.
    "That process of reception, as this readable book makes clear, is not always immediate or gracious."

Big in Bengali
    Jim Schwab is making an international splash with an article in a United Nations publication, Industry and Environment. His topic is "Using Planning to Enhance the Urban Environment."
    He has been informed that his article has already been translated into Bengali.

Holli a Hit in Helsinki
     Literary License has received a photo from a Finnish news magazine informing readers that Melvin Holli is sitting on the steps of the National Cathedral in Helsinki while in town to speak about "USA:n presidentit."
    Holli, a history professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, was co-director of a widely publicized conference at UIC last fall that ranked U.S. presidents.
    So it's not surprising that scholars from all the Scandinavian countries wanted to hear about the "konferenssi perjantaina ja lauantaina Chicagossa."
    Also, Holli has been appointed to a committee of the Organization of American Historians that will award the Hawley Book Prize for the best book on political history published in 2001.
    If you want to know more, he'll be listed in the new editions of Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

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