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SMA AWARDS DINNER FEATURES NEW CHIEF OF NEWBERRY LIBRARY
tradition dating back half a century, SMA will honor the best
Midland books published during the preceding year. Awards will
be given at the annual banquet on May 9 in the Chicago Athletic
(Cash bar 6
pm, dinner and program 7 pm.)
speaker will be a distinguished historian and author, David
Spadafora, new president of the Newberry Library and former
president of Lake Forest College.
He is the author
of The Idea of Progress in 18th Century Britain, which has been
honored as "outstanding" by the Association of College
and Research Libraries.
tell how and why they write. Their stories are sometimes touching,
If you wish
to stay overnight after the dinner, the CAA will have rooms
available for $155, including tax. For reservations, call the
CAA directly at 312-236-7500 and mention SMA.
The reason there's
a line on the dinner reservation card asking for a contribution
is that SMA must work to raise the funds each year to pay for
Your dues cover
only the printing, mailing and other ordinary expenses of the
Data Needed on Past Awards SELL YOUR OWN BOOKS AT PRINTERS ROW BOOK FAIR
Please click for printable
to complete our Web site listing of past winners of our annual
book competition, which began on a regular basis in 1957. We
have a complete set of awards for most years, but have incomplete
records for some years, including 1983, 1981, 1976-77 and 1972-73,
and are missing finalists for some other years.
If you have
old dinner programs or other documents that would help us, please
e-mail the info to SMA President Thomas Frisbie at email@example.com
or send a copy to our P.O. Box at Society of Midland Authors,
P.O. Box 10419, Chicago, IL 60610.
will once again participate in the Chicago Tribune Printers
Row Book Fair, billed as the largest free literary event in
the Midwest. This year it's scheduled for Saturday, June
3, and Sunday, June 4, 2006. SMA authors will be able to showcase
and sell their books.
can reserve space for $25 to help defray the costs. The exact
times and location will be forthcoming. But reservations are
being accepted for space on a first-come, first-served basis.
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. Please fill
out and mail the accompanying
form with a $25 check payable to the Society of Midland
Authors to Society of Midland Authors, P.O. Box 10419,Chicago,
Please click for printable
NEW SMA OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS NAMED FOR COMING YEAR
committee has selected the following officers and directors
to serve for 2006-2007:
Frisbie; Vice President, James L. Merriner;
Corresponding Secretary, Phyllis Choyke; Recording Secretary,
Marlene Targ Brill; Treasurer, Robert Remer.
2009: David Hernandez, Robert Loerzel and Rosina Neginsky.
Cheryl L. Reed, James C. Schwab.
Arnie Bernstein, Carol Jean Carlson, Richard C. Lindberg.
the bylaws, any 15 members can nominate an alternate slate (although
this has never happened in living memory) and ballots will be
RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES AREN'T NECESSARILY FUNDAMENTALISTS
BY RICHARD FRISBIE
When the University
of Chicago Press decided to do a scholarly, multi-volume study
of fundamentalism, they turned to the Rev. Martin E. Marty as
the ideal editor to take charge and get it done. Marty, University
of Chicago emeritus professor and holder of more than 70 honorary
degrees, is considered "one of the nation's most prominent
interpreters of religion
At the March
15 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association, he described
how as a result he had spent "six years among the fundamentalists."
Offsetting his black clerical garb with a disarming bow tie,
he brought visual aids that included the whole five-volume stack
of books on fundamentalism and a miniature football and coffee
mug bearing the logo of the not-exactly liberal Bob Jones University.
do Power Point," he said.
To help with
such an ambitious publishing program, he recruited a distinguished
historian, R. Scott Appleby, his one-time student. With the
aid of more than 100 other scholars they assembled their knee-high
tower of books exploring every aspect of the subject.
For as much
objectivity as possible, they relied on scholars from each of
the ethnic or national groups where fundamentalism is an issue.
He quoted the philosopher Spinoza on the project's approach:
"With regard to human affairs, not to laugh, not to cry,
not to be come indignant, but to understand." The word
"terrorism" does not appear in any of the books.
should not be confused with fundamentalists, he said. "We
shouldn't think that anyone to our right on religion is
a fundamentalist...There are no machine guns at the Moody Bible
Institute." Marty has been a Lutheran pastor as well as
are people whose personal and social identities are "threatened
to the core." In desperation, they fight back against the
scientific worldview and other aspects of modernism that undermine
their understanding of who they are.
sexuality is a particularly motivating concern. Also, fundamentalists
can't deal with ambiguity and paradox. They find reasons
to exclude the "Other." Most, but not all, aspire
to a religious establishment that would run the state.
Marty said the
U.S. government didn't foresee the force of the revolution
in Iran that deposed the Shah because no one was paying much
attention to the influence of religion. You can be sure the
State Department "has got religion now."
SMA member, Marty has written more than 50 books. His long list
of honors includes a National Book Award.
BY CAROL JEAN CARLSON
With an Elephant Thrown In
In his fourth
novel, Philosophy Made Simple (Little, Brown), Robert
Hellenga brings back characters from his first book, The
Sixteen Pleasures (which won an SMA fiction award). One
needn't have read the first book, however, to enjoy this
an avocado wholesaler in his sixties and a widower with three
grown daughters, suddenly decides to leave Chicago and relocate
to an avocado farm in south Texas. He hopes that by changing
from wholesaler to producer, he can recapture some of the vitality
that has been beaten out of him by life's ups and downs,
particularly the death of his wife.
He travels south
with a book called Philosophy Made Simple, written by the uncle
of a daughter's Indian boyfriend. The adventure that follows
has an appealing cast of characters, including Rudy's workers,
his neighbors, his daughters, their friends, a priest, a guru
or two and an elephant. As Rudy goes along he learns a lot about
raising avocados, visits a Mexican brothel, plans a wedding
with a role for the elephant, develops heart trouble and falls
in love, all the while studying philosophy.
All in all,
Philosophy Made Simple is a sometime humorous and always insightful
story of love and death, marriage and family. Hellenga is an
emeritus professor of English at Knox College in Galesburg,
Conversations About God
religion reporter (and wife of SMA member Maurice Possley),
Cathleen Falsani, has interviewed both the "literati and
the glitterati," or public people as she calls them, to
get their views on faith, ethics, spirituality and the hereafter.
These interviews are collected in her book, The God Factor:
Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People (Farrar, Straus
The book is
a diverse compilation)some of the interviewees practice traditional
faiths, some are spiritual but not religious, and some are agnostic.
Falsani handles all sensitively and respectfully. Falsani, a
graduate of Wheaton College with master's degrees in journalism
and theology, reports having had an interest in religion since
she was a small child.
Raised a Catholic,
she later became an evangelical Protestant. As her book makes
clear, although the United States is often described as a nation
of believers, we do not all subscribe to the same belief system.
Contemporary faith seems to be highly individualized.
the book are interviews with a wide range of subjects: Bono,
Dusty Baker, Seamus Heaney, Hugh Hefner, John Mahoney, Mancow
Muller, Senator Barack Obama, Harold Ramis, Anne Rice, Tom Robbins,
the Rev. Al Sharpton, Studs Terkel and Elie Wiesel, to mention
a few of the better known.
or Online Magazine?
The Tower of the Antilles, a short three-person script,
appeared in the Jan. 13, 2006, issue of Otium, an online
prose magazine produced by students at the University of Chicago.
publication, it includes fiction, essays, scripts, memoirs,
hyptertext, interviews called "conversations," photography
and graphic art. The Latin word otium means thinking or dignified
leisure or ease. It was chosen by the magazine to denote its
mission to connect play with work, and pleasure with critical
The first issue
of the magazine appeared in March 2005 with founder Sarah Adair
Frank acting as coordinator. Lecturer Achy Obejas was advisor.
One of the initial
reasons for the magazine was to provide writers at the University
of Chicago with an outlet for prose that other campus publications
had dismissed as too long. By using the Internet, the magazine
has no need to impose word or space limits on submitted material.
at the University of Chicago, the magazine accepts unsolicited
submissions from writers and artists both within and without
the University community, and is particularly interested in
projects that combine visual images with text. The magazine
does not currently accept poetry.
And where does
the iguana come in? The iguana is the magazine's mascot
for no particular reason, although an iguana sunning on a rock
may be the epitome of "dignified leisure."
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
"Sweet and Solid" Results
new book, Cage of Stars, published May 1, tells the story
of a young Mormon girl "torn between retribution and forgiveness"
after she witnesses the murder of her two sisters.
Weekly said the story leads to an unexpected climax as the
protagonist "progresses from a stock girl-next-door type
to a young woman with considerable emotional depth...The results
are sweet and solid."
New Book Contract
Just as Literary
License goes to press comes a note from Charlotte Herman:
signed a contract with Simon & Schuster for my children's novel,
My Chocolate Year. Hurray!
forward to seeing you at the banquet."
On March 28,
Thomas Frisbie talked to a graduate-level class on wrongful
convictions at the University of Illinois-Springfield. The class
uses as one of its texts Victims of Justice Revisited,
co-authored by Frisbie and Randy Garrett.
Children Pick Favorite
book, Thanksgiving Day Crafts, which she wrote with her
husband, Herb Erlbach, has received a Children's Choice Award
are selected each year by 10,000 school children (2,000 in each
of five different geographic locations) who pick their favorite
are announced and displayed at the IRA National Convention each
May. The annotated list will appear in the October issue of
the IRA journal, The Reading Teacher.
Two New Novels
has two new children's novels in print. Highland Fling (Cricket
Books) focuses on a Wisconsin teen as she explores the choices
people make about celebrating their ethnicity, and the possibility
of ancestral memory.
Secrets in the
Hills (American Girl) is a Josefina mystery set in New Mexico.
Kathleen's previous American Girl mystery, Danger at the Zoo,
was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Children's/YA mystery
from Malice Domestic.
And an earlier
historical mystery, Betrayal at Cross Creek, was honored with
the Flora MacDonald Award, given "for making an outstanding
contribution to the human community," from the Scottish
Heritage Center at St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg,
Author Himself Drove Race Cars
David Bull Publishing
is launching Michael Argetsinger's new book, Walt Hansgen:
His Life and the History of Post-War American Road Racing,
with a series of well-placed book events.
famed race car driver, was killed at Le Mans in 1966.)
has been a race car driver himself, beginning in 1965. He raced
in Europe for ten years and has competed at 53 race circuits
in nine countries.
In March, book
signings were held in Florida at the Amelia Island Concourse
as well as in Sebring during the International 12-Hour Race.
On April l, Argetsinger gave a talk about his book at the International
Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y., followed
by a talk April 5 at the 100-MPH Club in Milwaukee.
On May 6, the
Motorsport Collector Bookstore in Downers Grove, Ill., will
host a book signing.
he edited five books on motor racing.
To expand on
his abbreviated introduction as a new member in last month's
newsletter: Argetsinger has more than 35 years experience in
public and government affairs. As principal of the Chicago public
relations firm bearing his name since 1981, Argetsinger provides
consulting services to businesses, associations, academic institutions
and private individuals.
he was director of corporate communications and government affairs
for Marshall International Trading Company and its subsidiaries.
worked in Europe for more than ten years where he was managing
director of an American export firm in Amsterdam while providing
public relations services on specialized projects for multi-national
firms based in Europe.
Poet Hosts Internet Radio Show
(Ill.) poet Michelle True was recently asked to host a show
on poetry for Internet Voices Radio, a worldwide public internet
live talk radio station along the lines of National Public Radio.
Her show, Practical
Poetry, launched in April on the first Tuesday of each month
at 7 p.m. CST.
True plans to
touch on topics of interest to poets such as finding poetry
markets, tracking submissions, how to self-publish, how to start
and run a poetry writers' group, how to start and host
a poetry open mike, getting published and self-publishing. Conducting
interviews of well-known poets is something she also plans to
her "How to Get Your Poetry Published" workshop for
the "Inside Writing & Publishing" Series in March
and April, at the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Niles and Skokie
libraries. These free seminars, presented in affiliation with
the North Suburban Library System, offer people an opportunity
to meet with authors to learn how to sharpen their writing skills
and get their work published. Now she is offering her workshop
to other libraries throughout Chicago and its suburbs.
True also hosted
the first Annual WriterFest at the Indian Trails library in
Wheeling, Ill., on April 8. Twelve local authors representing
10 genres discussed how to write a book, how to find an agent
and how to get published, among many other related topics. They
also answered audience questions, and signed and sold their
books. A free raffle was held and winners received a gift basket
containing several of the participating authors' books.
True is busy
finishing her first non-fiction book, The Poet's Manual: How
to Go from Aspiring Writer to Published Author and Beyond, which
will be released in the fall.
True has had
three books of her own poetry published.
RECENT NEW MEMBERS
BY THOMAS FRISBIE
a contributing editor at Shore magazine, is co-author
of The Radio Producers Handbook and is working on two
other books: The Bald Handbook (as co-author with Dave
Stern) and Severance, a novel.
He was executive
producer of the John Landecker show on WJMK from 1993 to 2003
and previously was the producer of the Steve Dahl & Garry Meier
show on WLUP from 1987 to 1991.
While he was
executive producer, the John Landecker show won the 1997 Achievement
in Radio Award as best morning show in Chicago and the 2001
and 2001 best oldies morning show in America award.
Rick has written
and hosted national radio specials and his own comedy radio
program. In 2000, he co-founded A.M.I.S.H. Chicago Advertising,
where he is senior creative vice president.
has published one novel and one work of poetry. Her short stories,
poems and articles have appeared in more than 50 literary journals.
She has taught
English and writing at North Central College and the University
of Illinois at Chicago. Her novel Destroying Angels was
published by Five-Star Publishing, in 2006.
She was born
in Cleveland and was a dancer with the Cleveland Civic Ballet
Company. She has worked as a choreographer and a freelance writer.
described her book of poems, Landscape Toward a Proper Silence
(Eye of the Comet, 1992), as a "splendid collection."
Literary journals in which she has been published include The
Georgia Review, Carolina Quarterly and Mississippi Valley Review.
In 2002 she
was awarded an Illinois Arts Council award for her work. She
received her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois
at Chicago, where she taught writing and literature
She lives in
Libertyville, Ill.,with her husband and their Shetland sheepdog.
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