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April 2001

Because fire damage at the Cliff Dwellers Club will take longer to repair than originally thought, all SMA programs for the rest of the current season, including the annual awards dinner on May 8, will be held instead at the Chicago Athletic Assn.
     The C.A.A., at 12 S. Michigan Ave., is a venerable Chicago institution dating from the end of the 19th century. In the early days it fielded teams in various sports that competed with other cities. It also sponsored a number of Olympic athletes. In recent years, it has helped business people keep in shape and provided fine dining and meeting facilities for their businesses.

Time is running out to sign up to sell your own books at the Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago June 2 and 3.
      For $25, members can use a table booked by SMA to offer their books to the 70,000 booklovers who flock each year to the fair. The fair will occupy South Dearborn Street between Congress and Polk streets from 10 am to six pm on both Saturday and Sunday.
     SMA will try to accommodate all members who wish to participate. You must choose which day. 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, a literary game show, authors in period costumes, talks on writing opportunities or other features. Volunteers with ideas are welcome.

For more information, contact Mary Edsey. E-mail:

Jim Schwab

Despite being moved hastily to an improvised location at the Chicago Athletic Assn., the Feb.13 SMA program was well attended and successful. The speaker was Al Gini, author of  My Job, My Self : Work and Creation of the Modern Individual. Al is a veteran SMA member and frequent fiction-awards judge who teaches at Loyola University in Chicago. His book examines the ethos and spirituality of work, looking at both what we do and how we feel about what we do. Using a series of overheads that were alternately amusing and insightful, Gini prodded the audience to laugh and think about people's careers, retirement, and the simple fact that we spend more time working than in any other activity with the possible exception of sleeping.

As noted elsewhere, the February program was displaced from the Cliff Dwellers Club, like all coming programs this season including the awards banquet, because of a kitchen fire in late January that has required extensive repairs that will keep the club closed for months.


Literary Event
Northwestern University/TriQuarterly press is bringing out a posthumous work by Leon Forrest, a former president of SMA. Meteor in the Madhouse is a set of five interconnected novellas in which all of the characters, now living in the North,  have roots in the same county in Mississippi.
     "This novel is a literary event," says Publishers Weekly. "
     Seminal African-American writer Leon Forrest (1937-1997) is not as well known as Ralph Ellison but during his lifetime he elicited high praise."

Award Winner on Tour
Gloria Whelan, who received the National Book Award in November in New York for her young adult novel, Homeless Bird, will be in Chicago in June.
     The National Book Foundation, which gives the awards, will be sending her to Chicago from her home in Mancelona, Mich.
     She will speak June 2 at 11:30 a.m. in the Chicago Public Library. Adults are encouraged to bring their pre-teens. The presentation will be followed by a book signing and reception. She'll also sign books at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville.

New Books on Tape
Two mystery novels by Susan Sussman with Sarajane Avidon, Audition for Murder and Cruising for Murder, will be produced as audio tapes by Books in Motion.
     Also, Audition for Murder has sold in Russia to Phantom Press.
     Sussman's EMMY award-winning film, There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein has received awards from both the Film Advisory Board and the Dove Foundation.

Officially Famous
Edward Baumann will be among those inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame on March 30 by the International Press Club of Chicago.
     He has been a reporter and editor for the Chicago American and the Chicago Tribune as well as an author.

Surviving Hitler: A Boy in the Nazi Death Camps (HarperCollins) is the newest book from Andrea Warren of Prairie Village, Kan.
     "Powerful...there's a radiant innocence here," says Booklist.
     Her previous books include Orphan Train Rider and Pioneer Girl.
Surviving Hitler tells the true story of Jack Mandelbaum, torn from his family in Poland at age 12. Despite intolerable conditions, Jack resolves not to hate his captors, and vows to see his family again. He forges friendships with other prisoners and together they make it one more hour, one more day--until it's finally over."

Who Dunnit How-To
Three SMA members will serve on the faculty of a mystery and true crime workshop on June 9 at the Holiday Inn in Rolling Meadows, Ill., a Chicago suburb. They are Barbara D'Amato, Harriette Gillem Robinet and David J. Walker.
     Of Dark and Stormy Nights is billed as the nation's oldest established workshop for writers of mystery and true crime.
     It's sponsored by the Midwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

"Compelling Fun"
David J. Walker's latest, The End of Emerald Wood, is a "wonderful mix of fun" with a "compelling plot," says Publishers Weekly.
     Edgar nominee Walker is up to his usual good-humored form in this third Wild Onion mystery."
     Booklist adds: "Plenty of suspense, but the best parts...are the sparkling dialog and the sexual tension between Kirsten and Dugan... There have been numerous attempts to create modern versions of Nick and Nora Charles, but Kirsten and Dugan are themost fun."

Coming Attraction
A biography by Glennette Tilley Turner has been optioned for a film. The biography is of African American draftsman/elec-trical engineer/inventor Lewis Howard Latimer who played a key role in early telephone and electrical technologies.
     Latimer rendered the patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell's telephone invention. He invented the long lasting filament which made Edison's incandescent light more practical and was instrumental in installing electric lights In Philadelphia, Montreal and London.
     He was expert patent witness in the Edison legal department and wrote "the book"on how to install the Edison lighting system.


Deborah Woodworth
     With a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Minnesota, she worked as a sociologist before shifting to writing.
     Killing Gifts, the fifth book in her mystery series set in a fictional Shaker village in Depression-era Kentucky, just came out from Avon Books.
     Other titles include Death of a Winter Shaker, A Deadly Shaker Spring, Sins of a Shaker Summer and A Simple Shaker Murder.
     She's also written two biographies for children, Compassion: the Story of Clara Barton and Determination: the Story of Jackie Robinson (Child's World).

Patrick T. Murphy
     The Cook County guardian, frequently in court fighting for the rights of children, is also the author of several books about juvenile justice and a recent novel, Drowning in Hot Water.

Barbara Elleman
     Now Distinguished Scholar of Children's Books at Marquette University, Milwaukee, she formerly worked for the American Library Assn. as editor of Book Links and children's book editor of Book List.
     Her books include Tomie de Paoli, His Art and His Stories (Putnam) and Holiday House: the First 65 Years (Holiday House).
     Current project, due from Houghton next year: a biography of Virginia Lee Burton, famed children's book author and illustrator.


Where: Chicago Athletic Assn., 12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago
When:Tuesday, April 10, 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p. m.   program

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.".

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


May 8--Annual Awards Dinner, with Clifton Truman Daniel as featured speaker. He'll talk about growing up in a family where everyone was 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, the late Clifton Daniel, was retired managing editor of the New York Times, and author or editor of a number of books, including a memoir.

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