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May 2002

Annual Awards Banquet

Author or co-author of 19 books, former U.S. senator and Illinois state legislator

Where: Cliff Dwellers Club, 22nd floor, Borg-Warner Building, 200 South Michigan Ave., Chicago

When: Tuesday, May 14. Cash bar 6 pm. Dinner 7 pm. Cost $50

Parking: Grant Park North underground garage is open despite construction that has closed south garage. Evening rate: $10

Awards - For outstanding accomplishment in the fields of biography, poetry, adults' and children's fiction and nonfiction, and literary criticism. Award winners who are able to receive their awards in person traditionally have shared heartfelt emotions with their fellow authors and told funny or poignant stories well worth hearing.

Don't wait - Space may be limited. Send in your reservations and check now to Society of Midland Authors, Box 10419, Chicago, IL 60610.

By Carol Carlson

        We are honored to have Paul Simon, prolific author and retired U. S. Senator from Illinois, as our banquet speaker this year.
        Currently, Paul Simon is a professor at Southern Illinois University, where he teaches classes in political science, history and journalism. He joined the SIU faculty in 1997, just weeks after retiring from the U. S. Senate. He teaches at SIU's Carbondale campus and occasionally at the SIU campus in Edwardsville. Simon resides in Makanda, Ill. (population 402).
        In addition, Simon is the founder and director of the Public Policy Institute on the Carbondale campus.
        Simon, who holds 54 honorary degrees, is the author of 19 books (four with co-authors), the most recent being Tapped Out: The Coming World Crisis in Water and What We Can Do About It (1998), P. S.: The Autobiography of Paul Simon (1998) and How to Get into Politics and Why (2000, with Michael Dukakis).
        Prior to leaving the U. S. Senate, Simon was Illinois' senior senator. In the 104th Congress, he served on the budget, labor and human resources, judiciary and Indian affairs committees. He had also served on the foreign relations committee.
        At the age of 19, Simon became the nation's youngest editor-publisher when he accepted a challenge to save the Troy Tribune in Troy, Ill. He went on to build a chain of 13 newspapers in southern and central Illinois, which he sold in 1966 to devote himself to public service and writing.
         During his 14 years in the Illinois House and Illinois Senate, he won the Independent Voters of Illinois' "Best Legislator Award" every session.
        Simon was elected lieutenant governor in 1968 and was the first in the state's history to be elected to that post with a governor of another party. In 1972, Simon narrowly lost the gubernatorial primary to Dan Walker.
        In 1974, Simon was elected to the House of Representatives and served Illinois' 22nd and 24th Congressional Districts for 10 years. In 1984, Simon upset three-term Charles Percy to win election to the U. S. Senate. In 1987-88, he made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for President. In 1990, he won re-election to the U. S. Senate, defeating Congresswoman Lynn Martin.

Dinner Returns to Cliff Dwellers Club

        Although SMA's monthly programs recently have been held at the Chicago Athletic Association, the awards banquet on May 14 will return to the Cliff Dwellers Club.
        Grant Park South, the underground parking garage immediately in front of the Cliff Dwellers, is closed for reconstruction, but the Grant Park North garage is open just a couple of blocks north on Michigan Ave. Evening rate: $10.

        Your annual dues cover the cost of mailings and other routine operations common to any organization.
        In setting ticket prices for the annual awards dinner, SMA tries to keep them low enough to attract maximum attendance while covering the cost of a number of guests.
        Not surprisingly, we don't ask award winners and their companions to pay for their dinners.
        The problem comes in funding the awards. Despite the income from a modest endowment and the generosity of the Siragusa Foundation and a few other regular donors, SMA does require additional contributions to take up the slack.

        The SMA Website was set up with the hope that it would become a valuable professional tool for authors.
        That this is becoming increasingly true was recently demonstrated most dramatically by an inquiry from a producer about movie rights to a member's book.
        Someone trying to contact an author who is an SMA member can enter the author's name into an Internet search engine, and the computer will bring up the SMA Website.
        Members are also getting fan mail from readers via the same route, along with other inquiries from students and researchers.
        It's a long way from an inquiry to a $50 million film production, but you can't make any deals if producers and editors can't find you.

        The number after your name on your newsletter mailing label should read "(2002"), showing that your dues are current.
        Payments received recently may not yet have caught up with the mailing process. Except for that, if your dues year is not 2002 and you think it should be, contact our treasurer, Robert Remer, 5840 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL 60660 (773/561-6280).

By Barbara Schaaf

The Legendary Petrakis
        "I have learned much and I have forgotten much," Harry Mark Petrakis told an audience at the Public Policy Institute of Southern Illinois University in an appearance last fall. "I have learned that if there is anything truer than truth, it is legend," Petrakis continued.
"Not all are destined to chase Ahab's whale, but what a majestic epic each life is." The winter issue of the Institute's newsletter, Review and Preview, summarized Harry's presentation about his life as a storyteller.

New Book Creates Stir
        Frank Varela launched his new book, Bitter Coffee, at the Guild Complex last month. Varela's work has appeared in Revista Chicano-Riquena, Another Chicago Magazine, Centro Journal, Latino Stuff Review and other journals. His first book, Serpent Underfoot, was brought out by MARCH Abrazo Press. His children's stories have appeared in Tun-Ta-Ca-Tun and Kikiriki.
        His work has won awards and grants from the Illinois Arts Council. By day a librarian at the Elmwood Park Public Library, Varela was selected as Hispanic Librarian of the year (l997) by the Illinois Secretary of State.


"Voluminous and Renowned Work as Author and Editor"
Dorothy Haas will receive an award from Marquette University April 27 for "voluminous and renowned work as author and editor of children's books."
        The event will take place at a reception and brunch. She graduated from Marquette in 1955, and has enjoyed dual careers as editor and writer.
        Through the years, as an editor with three major publishers, working with 125 authors, she was responsible for publication of more than 600 books. As an author, writing in her spare time, she produced 50 books.
        She has also received awards from the Children's Reading Round Table and the Society of Midland Authors for distinguished service to children's literature.
        There's discussion going on about a possible movie of her novel, The Secret Life of Dilly McBean. Some of her other books are Mimi the Merry-Go-Round Cat, A Special Place for Jonny and Burton and the Giggle Machine.

Libertarians Nominate Burgauer for U.S. Senate
        Illinois Libertarians have picked Steven Burgauer to run against Democrat Dick Durbin for the U.S. Senate in the fall.
        Burgauer is a former stockbroker and mutual fund manager, now a professor of economics as well as the author of an investment guide and several science-fiction novels.
        His community service includes being the scoutmaster of one of Peoria's largest Boy Scout Troops, where he started a High-Adventure Program for older boys; and president of the Friends of the Peoria Public Library, where he spearheaded an initiative to raise nearly $200,000 in private funds to purchase a new bookmobile for the library.

Ivan Dee To Publish "Poetry" Magazine's Greatest Hits
        Harriet Monroe, one of the founders of SMA as well as of Poetry magazine, turned up as the cover girl on the March 29-April 11 issue of Citytalk.
        The news peg is the 90th anniversary of Poetry. Part of the observance will be the publication in the fall of an anthology of the most famous poems from Poetry.
        SMA member Ivan Dee will be the publisher.
        Harriet Monroe, the daughter of a lawyer, knew how to get things done. Commissioned to write a poem for the dedication of the World's Columbian Exposition, she negotiated a fee of $1,000--a lot of money for a poem even today, and mind-boggling in 1892.
        Of course, it was a big production. The verses were chanted by a 5,000-voice chorus, Citytalk said.
        When the New York World published the poem without permission, she sued and collected $5,000, "a precedent-setting judgment redefining authors' rights."
        The first issue of Poetry, the "oldest and arguably the most distinguished poetry journal in the country," went to press in October, 1912.
        Three years later she and her literary friends founded the Society of Midland Authors. Over the years, poems by a great number of SMA members, from Carl Sandburg to Gwendolyn Brooks, have appeared in its pages.
        Being published in Poetry is an impressive distinction. It now receives 90,000 submissions a year, although there's space to publish only 350.

at Printers Row Book Fair Chicago,
June 2 & 3, 2002

Hours: 10 am to 6 pm

Location: 500 - 700 S. Dearborn St. and Polk St. from Plymouth Court to Clark St.

Parking: Commercial lots on Clark St. and State St.
SMA has again reserved tables at the Printers Row Book Fair to allow members to sell their own books to more than 75,000 booklovers who will be filing through.

Authors will be responsible for bringing their own books, selling them, collecting the money and taking away any unsold copies afterwards. Participants must remain in the booth for the duration of their assigned times.

SMA will schedule times based on the number of responses received. If only a couple of authors sign up, you can have the whole weekend. If there are many participants, we will divide up the times as fairly as we can, first come, first served.

Please register me to sell my books at the Fair. I enclose my check for $25 to help defray the cost of the booth.


Address: __________________

Phone: ____________

E-mail: _________________

Title you wish to promote: ___________________

Preferred time slot on Sunday, June 3 _____________
Preferred time slot on Saturday, June 2 ____________

Mail $25 check with this form to Society of Midland Authors, P.O. Box 10419, Chicago, IL 60610.

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