FOUNDING STARS SHINE ON ANNIVERSARY
SMA's 85th anniversary celebration May 9 at the Cliff Dwellers
Club kicked off with
actors from the New Millennium Theater Company appearing in the
roles of George Ade,
Vachel Lindsay and Carl Sandburg, reading from their works, just
as they might have done at
an early meeting of the Society.
Harry Mark Petrakis demonstrated his skill at story- telling,
a skill that many would say
makes him a great show all by himself.
This year's literary awards went to the following:
Adult Fiction--Plainsong by Kent Haruf. Alfred A. Knopf.
Adult Nonfiction--River Horse by William Least
Heat-Moon. Houghton Mifflin.
Biography--Lorca: A Dream of Life by Leslie Stainton. Farrar,
Straus & Giroux.
Children's Fiction--Trapped Between the Lash and the Gun: A
Boy's Journey by Arvella
Whitmore, Dial Books for Young Readers.
Black Hands, White Sails: The Story of African-American Whalers
by Patricia C.
McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack, Scholastic Press.
Algebra of Night: New and Selected Poems 1948-1998 by Willis
Barnstone. The Sheep
A "lifetime of literary achievement award" was presented
to Richard Frisbie in recognition
of "years of dedicated service" to SMA. Author of seven
books, he has served as president,
vice- president, treasurer and all of SMA's various kinds of secretaries.
Judges also cited the excellence of these finalists in the
Personal Injuries by Scott Turow, Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
The Society of Friends by Kelly Cherry, University of Missouri
Bad Jews and Other Storiesby Gerald Shapiro, Zoland Books.
Light in the Crossing by Kent Meyers, St. Martin's Press.
Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris, Riverhead
Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier, Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
Into the West: The Story of Its People by Walter Nugent, Alfred
Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film by Jacquelyn Kilpatrick,
Kerner: The Conflict of Intangible Rights by Bill Barnhart
& Gene Schlickman, University
of Illinois Press.
Identity's Architect: Erik H. Erikson, by Lawrence J. Friedman,
Simon & Schuster.
The Rooms of Heaven: A Story of Love, Death, Grief and the
Afterlife, by Mary Allen,
Alfred A. Knopf.
Moonshine by Gary L. Blackwood, Marshall Cavendish
Slump by Dave Jarzyna, Delacorte Press.
Nobody Else Has to Know by Ingrid Tomey, Delacorte Press.
Don't Need Friends by Carolyn Crimi, Doubleday.
Dressed for the Occasion: What Americans Wore 1620-1970 by
Brandon Marie Miller,
Lerner Publishing Group.
Civil Rights Pioneer: A Story About Mary Church Terrell by
Gwenyth Swain, Lerner
A Dinosaur Named Sue: the Find of the Century by Fay Robinson,
Exactly What Happened by Joel Brouwer, Purdue University Press.
MOST SMA LEADERS CONTINUE IN POSTS
Last year's officers have agreed to continue in office for
2000-2001. They are:
President, Richard Lindberg.
Vice President, Carol Carlson.
Corresponding Secretary, Phyllis Ford Choyke.
Recording Secretary, Stella Pevsner.
Membership Secretary, Stuart Meck.
Treasurer, James C. Schwab.
Publications Editor, Richard Frisbie.
Webmaster, Ray Hanania.
New directors are George Bushnell, David Cowan, Robert Remer
and R. Craig Sautter.
Bushnell is a travel writer and historian of Wilmette, Ill.
Cowan is the co-author (with John Kuenster) of the 1996 non-fiction
book, To Sleep With
the Angels: The Story of a Fire(Ivan R. Dee). He's also a full-time
He reports an unusual background, with degrees in both journalism
and fire protection.
"After college I spent five years as a reporter working
in the Quad-Cities before leaving
journalism to join the fire department in 1995.
"My work has appeared in major magazines and news- papers,
including the New York
Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and U.S. Catholic.
"Presently, I am working on a story collection and a history
of significant Chicago fires,
the latter to be published next spring by Lake Claremont Press.
"I'm married to Ursula Bielski, a historian and folklorist
who is author of three books:
Chicago Haunts (Volumes I and II) and Graveyards of Chicago.
Remer, former publisher of a Chicago book review journal, is
chief financial officer of the
Ambulatory and Community Health Network of Cook County. He is
also on the adjunct
faculty at Roosevelt University.
Sautter is the author or co- author of eight books, including
DUES RAISED TO $35 FOR
2000-2001 FISCAL YEAR
Following a financial report showing that the Society's costs
outstripped income by $2,506.16 in 1999-2000, the board of directors voted to raise
dues from $25 to $35 for the
fiscal year beginning July 1.
The costs are attributable mainly to the banquet, including
awards to winners, plaques and free dinners for award winners and their guests.
But additional expenses have been incurred through the creation
of new services for authors, including a presence at the Printers' Row Bookfair and
the SMA website.
It makes your schedule of book signings and appearances available
world-wide. It also
posts authors' resumes and links to personal websites. And the website serves as an on-line "speakers' bureau,"
publicizing authors' areas of expertise, so they can be contacted by news media and program
MEMBERS HAWK OWN
BOOKS AT BOOK FAIR
Ten SMA members took advantage of the SMA table at the Printers'
Row Book Fair June 3 and 4 in Chicago to sell their own books to passers by.
Authors and their titles:
June Brindel, Ariadne.
Barbara Croft, Necessary Fictions and Primary Colors.
Mildred Johnson, Poems for Children of All Ages and If a Bird
Stella Pevsner, Is Everyone Moonburned But Me?
Robert Pruter, Doowop: The Chicago Scene.
R. Craig Sautter, Inside the Wigwam and Philadelphia Presidential
Carol Spelius, How We Got Here From There.
Christine Swanberg, Tenderness of Memory.
David Walker, Ticket to Die For and Beer at a Bawdy House.
Mark Zubro, Drop Dead.
FALL PROGRAMS TO START LATER WITH NO FREEBIES
In a new approach to cope with the traffic problems that have
been hurting attendance, the
SMA board voted to start the programs at the Cliff Dwellers Club
an hour later than
The social hour will run from 6 to 7 pm, with the program scheduled
for 7 to 8:30.
Costs for the program, including hors d'oeuvres and wine, will
be $10 for members and
$15 for non-members. (As always, the programs are open to the
Programs will begin on Oct. 10 and continue on the second Tuesday
of each month,
Next year's banquet will be held on May 8.
BARNES & NOBLE SERIES
CONTINUES JULY 12
William Barnhart and Eugene Schlickman, co-authors of Kerner,
the finalist in the
biography category, have been booked for an appearance in our
SMA series at the Barnes &
Noble Webster Place store, for the evening of Wednesday, July
12, at 7:30 p.m.
Jane Smith, an SMA member from Evanston, appeared there June
14 as part of the series
to read from her new comic novel, Fool's Gold.
We're still working on the Aug. 9 date.
The Barnes & Noble connection recently paid off for SMA
in a tangible way. On May 10,
the night after our annual awards dinner, the poetry winner, Willis
Barnstone, read from his
winning book, Algebra of Night: New and Selected Poems 1948-1998.
To promote the event, Barnes & Noble provided coupons that
split the proceeds from
books sold to SMA members and friends with the Society.
SMA members bought nearly $475 worth of books that night, and
SMA has now received
a check for our 15 percent commission.
DOYLE KNEW REAL "SHERLOCK HOLMES" AND "DR. WATSON"
By Richard Frisbie
There really was a Sherlock Holmes, and Eli Liebow has pictures
to prove it.
He showed them at the April 11 SMA meeting in the Cliff Dwellers
Liebow, a professor at Northeastern Illinois University, explained
that Arthur Conan Doyle
was powerfully impressed by one of his teachers while studying
medicine in Edinburgh.
Dr. Joseph Bell possessed amazing powers of close observation
and deduction, which he
used to diagnose patients.
He usually knew their occupations and recent history without
having to ask.
There really was a Dr. Watson, too, a skillful surgeon who
was able to amputate a
diseased arm in eight minutes.
Liebow thinks Doyle also used a teacher he didn't like as the
model for the infamous
Liebow learned all this in the course of researching his book,Doctor
Joe Bell: Model for
Sherlock Holmes. He also collected portraits of many of the real
people who surrounded
Doyle during his student days and later figured one way or another
in his Sherlock Holmes
Liebow said Doyle was a romantic who, in the fast- changing
1880s, recreated the "happy
glow" of an earlier era when gentlemen were gentlemen and
people's problems could be
That may be why in England today "Sherlock Holmes"
still gets more mail than anyone
but Santa Claus.
THE SCHAAF REPORT
By Barbara Schaaf
Augie Aleksy has a trio of riveting programs for detective
devotees at Centuries and
Sleuths Bookstore, 743 Garfield, Oak Park. On June 17, at 2 pm
there will be a discussion of
The Criminalist by the late Eugene Izzi.
On June 18 at 2 pm, the "Opinionated Critics" will
tackle Carl Hiaasen's Lucky You! and
Donald Westlake's Baby, Would I Lie?
On July l at 12, Jeanne Dams will sign Red, White and Blue
Murder, her second Hilda
Johansson mystery set in fin de siecle South Bend.
Throwing Chairs and Raising Hell: Politics in the Bulen Era
is an eyewitness account of the
conservative renaissance in Republican politics in Indiana from
the late 1960s to the early
Author Gordon Durnil knows whereof he speaks; he is the past
chairman of the Indiana
Republican Party, and was one of the organizers of the conservative
Can't "Say It Ain't So"
SMA President Rich Lindberg put a spoke in the wheel of the
juggernaut aimed at clearing
the name of Shoeless Joe Jackson, who helped turn the Sox from
White to Black in 1919.
Lindberg, author of the White Sox Encyclopedia, was quoted
in the Chicago Sun-Times on
May 24, saying, "He took the money, bottom line."
Despite powerful supporters, including members of Congress
and Hollywood types, it
appears that the commissioner of baseball will be unable to grant
the popular demand to
pardon Jackson because, as Lindberg pointed out, "This thing
has just been, like many things
today, based on sentiment rather than hard facts and analysis
of the case."
Double-Header for Author
The Field Museum sponsored back-to-back programs by Kathleen
Norris. Fans could
attend readings from her short essays one evening, and come back
the next morning to "Greet
the Day," and enjoy a morning of meditation on the lake shore.
Norris's books include The Cloister Walk and Dakota: A Spiritual
Geography (an SMA award winner when published).
Author-Parent Rocks On
We all know writers must sacrifice for their art, but in Kathy
Stevenson's case, it seems
like cruel and inhuman punishment.
In "A Parent's Primer on Rock Concerts" (Chicago
Tribune on April 9), she revealed that
she actually attends rock concerts with her teenage children.
Perhaps that is why she titled her collection of essays Second
Reviews the "Vision Thing"
Robert V. Remini, UIC history professor whose biography of
Andrew Jackson set a
standard, was a consultant on the much-praised PBS series "The
As quoted in the April 9 Chicago Sun-Times, Remini believes
that regardless of their
political allegiance or philosophy, the best presidents all share
shared the same trait: a strong
vision of America.
Glennette Tilley Turner was "Booked for Lunch," the
Illinois State Library's seriesfeaturing Illinois writers. Tilley Turner is an expert on the
rich history of the Underground
Railroad, in which Illinois sites feature prominently.
Does He Still Have a Day Job?
Scott Turow participated in "Mangled at the Movies,"
an Authors Guild panel discussion
on the pain and pleasure of dealing with Hollywood. Turow asserted that while he did not feel mangled, there were
disappointments -- details in the Winter 2000 issue of the Authors Guild Bulletin.
He also narrated "Through Their Eyes," a program
about juvenile justice as part of WTTW's "Chicago Matters" series.
And for something completely different, see the June Vanity
Fair for "Embraceable You,"
Turow's article about the trends in male hugging.
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
Gwendolyn Brooks, Pulitzer- prize winner and Illinois poet
laureate, delivered the commencement address at the Chicago Academy for the Arts in the
Two SMA members are among a small elite group who have belonged
to the national Authors Guild for more than half a century.
They are Jane Mayer and Phyllis A. Whitney.
Mayer joined the Guild in 1943 on the strength of her first
novel, Instruct My Sorrows.
Whitney, a Guild member since 1947, is the author of more than
Finds Time for Jazz
Now president of the Tribune Publishing Company, Jack Fuller
wrote jazz reviews as a
"labor of love" in his previous job as editor and publisher
of the Chicago Tribune.
This led to his latest book, The Best of Jackson Payne, a novel
centered on a fictional
tenor saxman. Publishers Weekly called it "unflinching and searing,"
adding, "Fuller depicts Payne's
demons and guardian angels, his desperation and inspiration, with
pathos, compassion and
seamy, reckless truths that will pull readers into this musical
Room for Humor
Stella Pevsner "offers another lighthearted look at the
problems of adolescence and modern
family life," saysBooklist.
Is Everyone Moonburned But Me? is her 18th book.
"Pevsner keeps her tone upbeat and her characters (especially
the adults) sensible, leaving
plenty of room for the humor she writes so well."
Meditates on Work
Al Gini, ever the cheerleader for other authors on WBEZ radio
and at the SMA banquets,
has a new book of his own: My Job My Self: Work and the Creation
of the Modern
It's an "entertaining and thoughtful meditation on the
nature of work in human life," says
Gini is a philosophy professor at Loyola University, Chicago.
He's also co-founder and
associate editor of the journal Business Ethics Quarterly.
Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize winning author of Working,says,
"Al Gini offers us a
thoughtful and provocative book on the daunting subject of work.
He has a salubrious style,
so it's funny, too."
Remembering Carl Sandburg
Because the old Chicago Daily News was famed as a "writers'
paper," it's not surprising
that a number of SMA members worked there at one time or another.
Daily News alumni have kept in touch with each other through
the years since the paper
ceased publication in the 1970s. The medium is a monthly newsletter
written and edited by
the retired city desk secretary, Margaret Whitesides.
Beloved by generations of reporters for her soothing presence
in the hectic newsroom ("an
angel among devils," some have said), she was the guest of
honor at a recent Daily
News alumni annual reunion in the Como Inn. It was her 90thbirthday.
Linking Daily News and SMA history, she recalled the day when,
as a young secretary,
her typewriter broke down.
She saw a man come in with a small black bag that looked as
if it might contain tools. She
was about to put the "typewriter repairman" to work
when her boss intervened by greeting
Carl Sandburg, both a Daily News writer and an SMA member.
Update from Poet
Paulette Roeske writes: "Anvil, Clock, and Last, my third
full-length collection of poems,
will be published by Louisiana State University Press next year.
This is my second collection
with LSU. The first was Divine Attention, which won the Carl Sandburg
Book Award for
Poetry and was a finalist for the SMA Poetry Award."
Her poems have appeared also in a number of current anthologies:
Illinois Voices: An Anthology of 20th Century Poetry from Illinois,
eds. Kevin Stein and
G. E. Murray, University of Illinois Press, "Preparing the
Dead" and "Trust."
The Yellow Shoe Poets: A Millennium Anthology, ed. George Garrett,
Louisiana State University Press, "The Body Can Ascend No Higher."\
Essential Love: Parent and Child, ed. Ginny Connors, Poetworks,
a division of Grayson
Books, "In Sympathy, My Daughter Sleeps Beside Me."
Knowing Stones: Poems of Exotic Places, ed. Maureen Flannery,
"The Body Can Ascend
She also has a poem, "Mary Wilson-Formerly-of-the- Supremes
Sings Ooh-Baby Songs at
the Nugget," in a special music issue of Crab Orchard Review,
and has recently given
readings at the University of Southern Indiana and the University
of New Orleans.
Thanks for Contributions
SMA member Steven Burgauer and his wife, Debra, wish to thank
the following authors
who donated autographed books to the Silent Auction at the Sixth
Annual Mid-America Book
and Paper Fair held in Peoria, Ill.:
Mary Elizabeth Anderson, Raymond Benson, Kathleen Long Bostrom,
Marlene Targ Brill,
Margery Frisbie, Valiska Gregory, Sue Harrison, Melvin G. Holli,
Jim Lehrer, the late
Martin Litvin, David R. McLaren, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Sara Paretsky,
Dorothy and Sidney Rosen, Susan Sussman, Scott Turow, Beverly
Van Hook, Phyllis
Whitney and Mary Frances Zambreno.
The auction was a benefit for the book endowment sponsored
by the Friends of
Cullom-Davis Library at Bradley University.
SMA members who think of Carol Spelius as the serene poet who
also runs a literary press
(Lake Shore Publishing), will be surprised by her new book, How
We Got Here From There.
Here's a description from one reviewer (Bill Brashler): "The
Spelius clan is really an
Olympic pentathlon team disguised as a family of six.. They jump
out of helicoptors into
snow drifts. They boat treacherous waters. They parachute from
jet fighters over North
"They raft and kayak, tend sheep, play classical piano
and write poetry. How We Got
Here From There is an adventure story that makes the Swiss family
Robinson look like
"I loved every page of this book and its whole avalanche
of articles, essays, poems and
One of the adventures was a 3400-mile voyage from Fort Benton,
Mont., to Cincinnati
aboard a 19-foot motorboat. She commanded a crew consisting of
her four children, ages two
Carol's husband, Bill, was able to join the ship only near
the end of the cruise, long after
the exciting part on the turb- ulent Missouri River was over.
When the children's pet snake escaped, it was replaced as ship's
mascot with a monkey.
The book was a finalist in this year's SMA competition.
Advice to the Young
Patrick T. Reardon, award-winning urban affairs and feature
writer for the Chicago
Tribune, has written a new book, Starting Out: Reflections for
Young People. (ACTA
Judges Audio Books
Carol Adorjan, herself a broadcast dramatist, and her son,
John Adorjan, both served as judges for the Audie Awards held in conjunction with BookExpo
in Chicago. John Adorjan is
an audio engineer and creator of a variety of audio products.
The Audie Awards, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association
of Manhattan Beach,
Calif., recognize excellence in 28 categories of audiobooks.
Dorothy Haas writes, "I received a nice phone call several
weeks ago. A man from North
Carolina was looking for the author of his wife's favorite childhood
book, Mimi the
Merry-Go-Round Cat. Did I have a copy he might purchase?
"Well, no. The book was published in 1958, three years
after I graduated from college.
There were a number of printings, but it was finally laid to rest.
But I made a photocopy of
it, signed it to `Lois,' and sent it off to her.
"Hearing from a reader who loved one's book 40 years after
its publication is a special
"Sense of Immediacy"
More nice words from Publishers Weekly, this time for Harriette
Gillem Robinet's new
book, Walking to the Bus-Rider Blues (Atheneum/Karl).
The book "lends a sense of immediacy" to the Montgomery
bus boycott of 1956. "The
novel is at its strongest when filling in historical details of
the time, such as the volunteer taxi service for bus boycotters, and may well inspire readers (Ages
8-12) to discover more about
this important chapter in civil rights history."
Susan Sussman has teamed up with Sarajane Avidon for another
mystery, Cruising for
Murder, just published by St.
Also, their previous joint venture, Audition for Murder, is
now out in paperback.
Jim Schwab is headed for Austin, Tex., June 21, to participate
in a panel discussion of
"Mitigation Planning: Making Sense of It All," at the
Texas Association of State Floodplain
Mitigation is the practice of finding ways to reduce exposure
to damages and loss of life
from natural hazards. A year ago, the American Planning Association
and the Federal
Emergency Management Agency co-published Jim's five-year research
project, Planning for
Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction, widely regarded by
disaster experts as a
breakthrough work in this field.
Returns to Scene of Success
Richard Lindberg has signed a contract with Cumberland House
for a sequel to one of his
Return Again to the Scene of the Crime: A Guide to Even More
Infamous Places in
Chicago will be published in 2001.
Its predecessor was number one among locally published books
for months on the
A noted lawyer who changed the face of justice in the U.S.,
Gertz died April 27 at the
age of 93. He wrote more than a dozen books, including a memoir,
To Life: The Story of a
Chicago Lawyer. He gained parole for Nathan Leopold, overturned Jack Ruby's
murder conviction, rescued
Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer from government censorship and
successfully suedthe John Birch Society.
Legal experts said his most important case was winning a U.S.
Supreme Court decision
prohibiting the exclusion of jurors who oppose the death penalty.
Martin J. Litvinnewsletter index
top of page
Author of eight biographies, six novels and five other books,
Litvin died Jan. 29 at 71.
While his health permitted, he often came up on the train from
his home at Wataga, Ill., near
Galesburg, to attend SMA meetings in Chicago.
He wrote a weekly column for the Galesburg Post for more than
half a century.
Many of his works involved notables of the Galesburg area,
including the young Carl
Jim Lehrer of PBS once called Litvin "one of the most
natural storytellers I have ever