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April 1997

John Callaway, a familiar face on Channel 11, will be the featured speaker at the SMA annual awards dinner on Tuesday, May 20. His topic will be Reflections on How Not to Become a Grouchy Old Book Man. The dinner will be held starting at 6 p.m. in the Cliff Dwellers Club in the Borg-Warner Building at 200 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Callaway began his journalistic career with the City News Bureau in 1956. He started at CBS a year later. Also an author (The Thing of It Is) and a member of SMA, he has hosted Chicago Tonight on WTTW for the past 13 years, winning Peabody and Emmy awards. William F. Buckley once called him the best interviewer in America. Tickets $40.

The judges have announced the following SMA literary awards for books published in 1996. The winners will be given cash awards and plaques at the annual dinner.

ADULT FICTION: James McManus, Going to the Sun, HarperCollins.
ADULT NON-FICTION: Bill Holm, The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere On Earth, Milkweed Editions.
BIOGRAPHY: James Park Sloan, Jerzy Kosinski, Dutton.
CHILDREN'S FICTION: Stella Pevsner, Would My Fortune Cookie Lie?, Clarion Books.
CHILDREN'S NON-FICTION: Andrea Warren, Orphan Train Rider: One Boy's True Story, Houghton Mifflin.
POETRY: Jane 0. Wayne, A Strange Heart, Helicon Nine Editions.

During the judging the jurors found the following deserving of particular commendation:

ADULT FICTION: Jacquelyn Mitchard, The Deep End of the Ocean, Viking. David Haynes, Live at Five, Milkweed Editions. David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest, Little, Brown & Company. Scott Turow, The Laws of Our Fathers, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

ADULT NON-FICTION: Lisa Knopp, Field of Vision, University of Iowa Press. Joyce Dyer, In a Tangled Wood: An Alzheimer's Journey, Southern Methodist University Press. Irving Cutler, The Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb, University of Illinois Press. Maurice Meisner, The Deng Xiaoping Era, Hill and Wang/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

BIOGRAPHY: Willard Carl Kundler, Lewis Cass and the Politics of Moderation, Kent State University Press. Nathan A. Haverstock, Fifty Years at the Front, The Life of War Correspondent Frederick Palmer, Brassey's Inc. Francis Jennings, Benjamin Franklin, Politician, W.W. Norton.

CHILDREN'S NONFICTION: Laurie Lawler, Where Will This Shoe Take You?: A Walk Through the History of Footwear, Walker & Co. Karen Zeinert, Those Remarkable Women of the American Revolution, Millbrook. David K. Fremon, Japanese-American Internment in American History, Enslow Publishers, Inc.

POETRY: Diane Jarvenpa, Divining the Landscape, New Rivers Press. David Marlatt, A Hog Slaughtering Woman, Western Michigan. University Press. David Mason, The Country I Remember, Story Line Press. Beth Simon, Out of Nowhere, The Body's Shape, Pecan Grove Press.

ADULT FICTION: Al Gini is a Loyola University professor, editor, writer and a regular commentator on WBEZ, 91.5 FM.
Terry Sullivan, executive director of the Northern Illinois Business Association, writes regularly for GQ Magazine and is author of Sullivan's Travels in Chicago Magazine.
Tom O'Brien is a writer and poet and owner of The Booksmith, a bookstore in Oak Park Illinois.

ADULT NONFICTION: Charles F. Davis, photographer and author, is a retired teacher who lists among his credits, Harvest of a Quiet Eye, The Natural World of John Burroughs.
Martin E. Marty, University of Chicago professor of religious history, writes and reviews books (editor of Christian Century), and wins awards (National Book Award for Righteous Empire).
Reinder Van Til, a long-time book editor and writer, is co-author with Bill Brashler of five Duffy House mysteries and author of Lost Daughters, to be released this summer by Eerdmans.

BIOGRAPHY: Bonnie Larkin Nims is a writer and editor who has been a book critic for the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post and Booklist.
Steve Neal, political columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, is author of five books on American politics, including Dark Horse, a biography of Wendell Wilkie and one on the Eisenhowers.
Robert Remini, professor of history emeritus, University of Illinois, winner of National Book Award (1984) for his third volume of the biography of Andrew Jackson and the SMA Award for a biography of Henry Clay.

CHILDREN'S FICTION: Deborah Abbot, co-author of One Blasting and A Pig Outdoors, has worked as a school librarian, editor, writer and reviewer of children's books for 25 years.
Nancy Volkman, librarian for Chicago's Norwood Park School, is a former classroom teacher and ten-year director of a children's book club.
Betsy Gray taught children's and adolescent literature for 12 years at National-Lewis University and is presently North Shore Country Day School librarian and part-time reference librarian for Wilmette's Public Library.

CHILDREN'S NONFICTION: Charlotte Herman, author of 18 children's books, was the winner of the 1977 SMA Award for children's fiction and the 1990 Carl Sandberg Award.
Grace O'Connor has worked for the Chicago Library System since 1967 and is a member of the ALA, ILA, ALSC and the Children's Reading Roundtable.
Rose Joseph is a children's bookseller and for the past 13 years has been co-owner of the Magic Tree bookstore in Oak Park, Illinois.

POETRY: Alice Hayes is a poet and short story writer and founder of the Ragdale Foundation.
Richard Jones is a poet and author of Country of Air, At Last We Enter Paradise and A Perfect Time, Copper Canyon Press.
Mark Perlberg is a poet and author of two collections, The Burning Field and The Feel of the Sun, as well as poems and translations in numerous anthologies. He is a founding member of The Poetry Center of Chicago.

The board of directors has proposed the following enlargement (in italics) of the SMA by-laws, Article V: Duties of the Board of Directors. Standing committees of the Board, consisting of one or more members, shall be Awards, Electronic Communi- cations, Programs, Publications, and Public Relations. The chairs of these committees may vote on matters that come before the Board during their terms of service.

When Rosellen Brown's novel, Before and After, attracted the attention of Meryl Streep, good things began to happen. It was bought for the movies. Liam Neeson signed on to co-star. Brown described them at the March SMA meeting at the Cliff Dwellers Club. The book was sold in 23 countries. The large print edition paid for her daughter's wedding. But then the Hollywood system began to take over. Focus groups didn't like the original ending. When it was changed, the emotional thrust of the plot was undermined. Brown said that once the movie appeared, it seemed to kill any additional sales of her book.

By Jim Schwab
Authors seek publishers rather than publishing their own books at least in part because they expect a major publisher to provide promotional services, Robert Remer told the audience at the February SMA program, the first to be held in the new location at the Cliff Dwellers Club. Remer is the publisher and co-founder, with Connie Goddard, of Chicago Books in Review, a year-old quarterly review of books by Chicago authors and/or about the Chicago area. But today the reasons for not self-publishing are breaking down. Authors find they have to promote their own wares even when they have a publisher, according to Remer. On the other hand, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Remer read a quote from We Called Each Other Comrade, a book about Kerr Publishing, a radical publishing firm with roots in the 1880s in Chicago's

Publishers Row
The quote bemoaned the very same tendencies toward commercialization and conglomeration in the publishing industry that are the bane of many writers today. Remer was one of three panelists on the program. Joining him were Michael Miner, author of the Hot Type column in The Reader, and Bridget Kinsella, Midwest correspondent for Publishers Weekly. Kinsella noted that PW was now celebrating its 125th anniversary: a magazine founded by people wanting to get information on the book trade out to the book trade. She described 1996 as a tough year for that trade, with more books being published through fewer channels and most books appearing on the best-seller list written either by people previously on that list or by lucky first-- time novelists. Mid-list authors, she insisted, are getting less attention, even as 40 percent of books are being returned by booksellers, a rate devastating to small publishers. Independent booksellers are suffering as well, she noted, with just 1,500 left and the remainder dropping like flies. Meanwhile, the four major chains are growing, with 1,800 superstores nationwide, a number she expects to double, even as these chains abandon smaller stores in shopping malls. Amplifying the bad news for authors, Michael Miner criticized the Chicago Tribune, whose every segment, he said, is viewed as a profit center, resulting in a weak book section while the Sun-Times does even less. As for the Reader, which does not view book reviews as a central part of its mission, reviews largely come in over the transom. Miner outlined two ways to get attention in the Reader:

1. Write a book so bad it comes to the attention of Ed Gold, who lampoons books that are beyond belief.

2. Get your book excerpted, especially if its subject is local.

Other possibilities mentioned include self-promotion on the Internet. Chat rooms on such on-line services as America On Line, allow authors to appear with Internet users and answer questions and discuss their works. Services such as Bookwire can also provide exposure. Even Barnes & Noble is teaming up with AOL, noted Remer. Self-publishing is also gaining renewed attention and respectability as authors discover that they can sometimes do a better job of promoting their own work than publishers are willing to do for mid-list books.

Washington Mystery Guide
Alzina Stone Dale reports that she is frantically finishing a new mystery guide to Washington, D.C. But she found time last month to participate, along with SMA member August Aleksy, in a panel discussion of Exploring Location in Mysteries.

Chronicles Newbery Award
American Libraries called on Zena Sutherland to write a cover story on the 75th anniversary of the Newbery Award. A professor emerita at the University of Chicago, she edited the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books from 1958 to 1985.

Guest Editor
Anne Brashler is helping guest edit Story Quarterly #33, due out in fall.

Torch Passes
Margery and Richard Frisbie are pleased that their son, Thomas Frisbie, is following the family tradition of writing books. He has a contract from Avon to write Prosecution Complex, an account of the Nicarico murder case as an example of how in high profile cases the criminal justice system grinds on even when the defendants are innocent.

Ethnic Chicago
The second edition of Richard Lindberg's 1992 book, Passport's Guide to Ethnic Chicago, was recently published by NTC/Contemporary Books. The Ethnic Guide is similar yet different from Mel Holli's volume. This book blends neighborhood attractions and festivals with individual sections on neighborhood settlement and im- migrant history. The revised second edition features new chapters on the Middle Eastern peoples (Palestinians, Syrians, Assyrians), a new chapter on the Serbs, Croats, and Hungarians, plus many new festivals and restaurant listings.

Hymn and Hers Work
Gary Paulsen's newest book is Worksong is a gentle rhyming hymn to the dignity of work, says Publishers Weekly. Illustrations by Ruth Wright Paulsen. (Harcourt).

Heartland Society Explained
Jacquelyn Mitchard was the featured speaker in February for the Heartland Literary Society. She talked about her best-selling book, The Deep End of the Ocean. The Heartland Literary Society, which pays authors well to appear but also prices its dues and luncheons beyond what many authors are used to paying for literary programs, was explained in the March 6 issue of the Wall Street Journal. Similar groups are sponsored in San Francisco and Florida by Northern Trust. It's a high-quality soft-sell promotion for banking services.

Home to Crete
For the Chicago Tribune Magazine, Harry Mark Petrakis wrote a moving account of his visit, with his wife, to Crete, where he met relatives he had never seen before. His parents had come to America in 1916, when his father was assigned as the Greek Orthodox priest for a parish of Cretan miners in Utah.

New Book
Berniece Rabe, now living in Denton, Tex., writes that her new young adult novel, Hiding Mr. McNulty, will be published in fall, 1997, by Harcourt Brace. One of her previous books, The Orphans, was an SMA award winner in the children's fiction category.

Feels Like Dancing
Carol Spelius, emerging from a long spell of health problems, writes, So good to be alive, I felt like dancing and did with Bill over the holidays. She joined other SMA members on the faculty of the Off-Campus Writers' Workshop 50th anniversary writers' conference. Her topic: poetry. Others included Jane Howard, script writing; Carol Adorjan, adult fiction, and Stella Pevsner, juvenile writing.

Exuberant Storytelling
Nothing could improve (Tim) Unsworth's exuberant storytelling, said Publishers Weekly in reviewing his new book, I Am Your Brother Joseph: Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago (Crossroad). Unsworth was a personal friend of the late cardinal.

Granny to the Rescue
Beverly Van Hook will be meeting her fans May 6-7 at McGuffey Elementary School, Newark, Ohio, and the Cabell County Public Library, May 8. She recently spoke at the Illinois Reading Council annual conference in Springfield and the Virginia Festival of the Book at Charlottesville. Her topic there was particularly intriguing: Grannies to the Rescue: a Celebration of Older Women in Children's Literature.

Darrow Tribute
A Chicago Tribune photographer snapped Lila Weinberg throwing a wreath from the Clarence Darrow bridge in the lagoon behind the Museum of Science and Industry. It was part of a ceremony held annually since Darrow died. Weinberg and her late husband, Arthur, were Darrow's biographers.

A Jewel
A jewel of a book, said Family Life Magazine about Valiska Gregory's new children's book, When Stories Fell Like Shooting Stars (Simon and Schuster). Her tenth book received equally favorable notice in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She's currently writer in residence at Butler University.

Birds of a Feather
Lynn Lawson continues to publish CanaryNews, a newsletter to rally readers with concerns about toxic environmental chemicals.

Mary Elizabeth Anderson Grand Island, Neb. Author of Link Across America: A Story of the Historic Lincoln Highway, Rayve Productions, 1997. It tells the whole story from concept and financing to the cars and travelers and efforts to preserve what's left.

Bruce Hatton Boyer Evanston. Co-author (with Connie Goddard) of The Great Chicago Trivia and Fact Book, Cumberland House, 1996.

Anne Calgano Chicago. Author of Pray for Yourself, Northwestern University Press, 1993.

Emilio DeGrazia Winona, Minn. Author of Seventeen Grams of Soul, Lone Oak Press, 1994. Winner of 1995 Minnesota Book Award for fiction. A new novel, A Canticle for Bread and Stones, will be out soon from the same publisher. De Grazia, professor of English at Winona State University, has written several other books and won a number of literary awards.

Sheila Kelly Welch Forreston, Ill. Author of Don't Call Me Marda, Our Child Press, 1990; A Horse for All Seasons, Boyds Mills Press, 1994, Hardcover Edition; Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1996, Yearling Paperback Edition; Land of Another Sun, ShadowPlay Press, 1995; Horses of the Air, Scott Foresman's Celebration Press, 1996.

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