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MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR FALL SMA PROGRAM
are scheduled for the second Tuesday of the month, Oct.-Nov.
and Jan.-Apr, with the annual awards banquet in May.
a preview of what's coming:
Gordon discusses writing about what the coming shortage of workers
means to the economy.
Cieselka, book PR specialist, leads panel of editors talking
about how to get your book reviewed.
Weller, winner of the SMA biography award for The Bradbury
Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury, tells more about his
Souter describes how he researches his biographies of famous
April programs are being arranged by Jim Schwab, program chairman.
AUTHORS MEET READERS, SELL WORK AT BOOK
BY CHERYL L. REED
Row Book Fair this year was graced with sunny skies and mild
temperatures. Although some Midland authors (myself included)
thought this year's position near the corner of Clark and
Polk didn't offer the high of visibility and traffic that
last year's position did at the corner of Congress and
Dearborn, it provided a comfortable spot in the shade to discuss
books with a seemingly earnest crowd.
watcher and Society past president Rich Lindberg said he believes
participation in the book fair garners the Society more exposure
each year and attracts new members. The Society first became
an exhibitor at the fair in 1999, he said.
thing about the fair is getting to speak informally with other
writers and authors, and the great conversations you have with
all the folk who stop by the SMA tent to browse, buy or talk,"
said Craig Sautter, also a past president and faithful fairgoer.
afternoon, Billy McCarthy, author of the novel, The Devil
of Shakespeare, and Marlene Targ Brill, a prolific children's
book writer, shared a table at the Society's booth and
sold at a steady stream.
reconnected with old friends they happened to see walking, including
the Society's contest czarina Carol Jean Carlson, who pursued
an old friend through the crowds until she caught up with him
and inquired whether he had been elected a judge. (He had.)
On Sunday, Libby
Fischer Hellman was selling her four mysteries when a woman
stopped by carrying a copy in her purse of a book she bought
from Libby at last year's book fair.
While the swarms
were thinner along Polk, there was barely space to walk on Dearborn.
Among the more interesting tables was the one at Columbia College
that featured its own authors, including Joe Meno and Sam Weller,
who both just won the Society's book contest in fiction
and biography. The big names at the book fair that drew crowds
were Augusten Burroughs, author of Possible Side Effects
and more famously Running With Scissors, and John Updike,
who was promoting his new novel, Terrorist.
HALF CENTURY OF AWARDS HIGHLIGHTS SMA ROLE
IN LITERARY HISTORY
(Please click to view the winners
poster listing all of the authors who have earned awards from
the Society of Midland Authors since 1956 was the main decoration
at the Society's annual dinner on May 9 in the Chicago
As noted by
the speaker of the evening, David Spadafora, president of
the Newberry Library, the poster served as an appropriate
symbol of how the Society has influenced literary history
As usual, the
audience acquired interesting facts and refreshing insights
from the award winners. Sally Walker said that in researching
the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley she learned that underwater
archaeologists fear jellyfish, not sharks. Divers wear pantyhose
over their heads to protect their faces from painful stings.
Sam Weller quoted
his subject, Ray Bradbury on writing: "Don't think...Jump
off a cliff and build wings on the way down." What if the
wings don't open?-- a question posed by Mrs. Bradbury.
Then "shut up and drink your gin."
reported that his book about criminal justice has already been
optioned by HBO for a possible miniseries on cable TV.
Illinois poet laureate as well as award winner, Kevin Stein
argued that reading poetry is good for you, providing a "soulful
lollygag" and respite from daily pressures. You can't
speed-read poetry. "Poetry rewards patience." He read
one of his own short poems, a meditation on a cantaloupe.
a longtime professor at Northeastern Illinois University as
well as an author whose biography of Eugene V. Debs won an SMA
award in 1979, mentioned that one of the "great rewards
of teaching" was seeing students produce books of their
own. He saw one of those students in the room, Richard Lindberg,
whose 12th book is about to be published.
NEW SUN-TIMES BOOK EDITOR ONE OF US
Reed, an SMA board member, has been appointed book editor of
the Chicago Sun-Times, replacing Henry Kisor, who has
retired to write more novels, fly his airplane and spoil his
worked as an investigative reporter. On June 23, the International
Press Club of Chicago will present her with its Arnie Metanky
Memorial Award for Veteran and Military Affairs Reporting.
At the same
ceremony, Maurice Possley of the Chicago Tribune will
be inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame.
COPYRIGHT VS. FAIR USE: STILL A CASE BY CASE PROBLEM FOR
BY RICHARD FRISBIE
At the April
11 SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association, the audience
went to law school with William T. McGrath, intellectual property
specialist at the Davis McGrath law firm and associate director
of the Center for Intellectual Property Law at the John Marshall
fair use as the "most troublesome issue in all of copyright
Since as far
back as 1841, courts have been struggling case by case with
making "evanescent distinctions" between copyright
infringement and fair use, he said. There still are no sharp-edged
rules, only judgments as to what's fair and reasonable.
When a dispute
arises, the courts look to four factors:
1. The purpose
of the use. News reporting, criticism and comment, educational
programs and such enjoy more latitude, especially if noncommercial.
2. The nature
of the copyrighted work. For instance a manuscript enjoys more
protection before it's published.
3. The amount
of copying in relation to the original work. The Nation was
slapped down for running an unauthorized excerpt of only a few
hundred words from Gerald Ford's memoirs just before the
book came out. On the other hand, the movie industry couldn't
prevent VCR owners from videotaping entire shows because the
use was mainly noncommercial.
4. Effect on
the market. At first glance, the Napster case might seem to
resemble the VCR case because individuals, not Napster itself,
were doing the music downloading and file sharing. But the court
said the file sharing was "exploitive," with a harmful
effect on the sales of copyrighted music.
question about quoting a couple of lines of song lyrics in a
book, McGrath said that would probably be a fair use, but as
a practical matter your publisher probably won't let you
do it. The music industry is known for vigorously asserting
rights they may not actually possess.
Parody, he said,
is an example of fair use if it's really parody. A book
about the O. J. Simpson case titled The Cat Not in the Hat,
with language and illustrations similar to the work of Dr. Seuss
was ruled copyright infringement. On the other hand, The
Wind Done Gone didn't infringe on Gone with the
Wind because it was "transformative," adding a
quite different viewpoint on slavery. Also, the court couldn't
see that it competed commercially with the original story.
BY CAROL JEAN CARLSON
Americans and Redemption
In his book,
The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By (2005,
Oxford University Press), Dan P. McAdams, professor of psychology
and of education and social policy at Northwestern University,
suggests that who we are as Americans lies in the stories we
live by, and that the most powerful stories of Americans are
about redemption. As regards both our society in general and
our personal lives, Americans want to change pain and suffering
into something positive.
For over 10
years, McAdams looked at "the life stories of especially
caring and productive American adults." By embracing the
negative things that happen to them and transforming these experiences
into good, these people have been able to move forward and leave
positive things behind.
There are two
dark sides to this predilection for redemption, however. People
who are unable to make redemptive tales of their lives tend
to have stories tainted by cruel plots and harmful cycles. In
addition, the redemptive tales reveal a peculiar brand of arrogance
and self-righteousness that Americans show to the rest of the
An "L" of a Book
Dymmoch was a finalist for her book, White Tiger (2005,
St. Martin's Minotaur), in the Mystery category for the
18th Annual Lambda Literary Awards.
The Lambda Literary
Awards, or "Lammys," are awarded each year by the
Lambda Literary Foundation for excellence in gay and lesbian
writing and publishing in the U.S. for the previous year.
A list of the
winners can be found at www.lambdaliterary.org.
Cruising Down the River
On May 20, Lake
Claremont Press hosted The Chicago Paperback Writers Cocktail
Cruise on a Wendella Boats sunset cruise on the Chicago River.
Participants in the event had the opportunity to meet a number
of Lake Claremont authors, who were on hand to sell and sign
the festivities were SMA authors Arnie Bernstein (Hollywood
on Lake Michigan and The Hoofs and Guns of the Storm)
and Chuck Billington (Wrigley Field's Last World Series).
Celebrating 11 Years
More news from
Lake Claremont Press: the press has recently issued their first
catalog in their 11-year history. According to publisher Sharon
Woodhouse, the staff and authors of the press are "actively
involved in promoting and sharing our love and knowledge of
Chicago with our community and the world beyond" through
books and events and by serving as a resource for the media
and the public.
educator and social historian, has three new children's
books appearing this year:
Stone (Dutton Books for Young Readers), a novel of the Civil
Fling (Cricket Books), a novel about a young documentary
filmmaker interested in North Carolina's Cross Creek Highland
the Hills: A Josefina Mystery (American Girl Mysteries),
a mystery set in New Mexico in the 1820s.
earlier book, Danger at the Zoo (American Girl Mysteries),
set in the Depression and replete with facts about the Cincinnati
Zoo, was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Children's/Young
Adult Mystery, 2006.
Her book, Betrayal
at Cross Creek (American Girl History Mysteries), about
Scottish immigrants to North Carolina and the American Revolution,
was nominated for the same award the previous year and also
garnered Ernst the Flora MacDonald Award, 2006, from the Scottish
Heritage Center at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, Laurinburg,
The Flora MacDonald
Award is given "to a woman of Scottish descent who has
made an outstanding contribution to the human community."
Little Known World War II Horror
of Chicago Press has just released a paperback edition of Wesley
Adamczyk's book, When God Looked the Other Way.
Adamczyk's book received a "rave" review in The
Sarmatian Review from Marek Jan Chodakiewicz, academic dean
and professor of history at the Institute of World Politics,
is an expert on Communism, Eastern Europe and international
In May 1940,
25,000 Polish army officers were led into the Katyn Forest in
eastern Poland by the Red Army and executed. Adamczyk's
father was one of them. Adamczyk tells his family's story
and that of the forced exile of thousands of Poles by the Soviet
government in the early days of World War II. Adamczyk's
upper-middle-class family sans father was forced to endure a
3,000-mile journey to Kazakhstan. The family eventually escaped
to then British-occupied Iran.
The Great Grey Prairie
The Children's Blizzard (2004, HarperCollins) by
David Laskin, a gripping tale of the blizzard of January 12,
1888, the blizzard that claimed the lives of so many children,
I came upon this interesting paragraph in a discussion of L.
Frank Baum's stint in Brown County, S. D., including his
bankrupting a variety store called Baum's Bazaar in Aberdeen.
writer of standing should have turned up in Brown County in
the 1880s is curious. That two literary lions should have stalked
this sweep of prairie in the same decade seems downright bizarre,
yet there was the young Hamlin Garland just a few years earlier,
toiling away on his father's claim not a dozen miles north
of where Baum set up shop. Or perhaps not so bizarre since this
was the decade of the Dakota Boom, what Garland call the mighty
spreading and shifting' that heaved hundreds of thousands
of immigrants from all over the country and the world into the
Dakota prairie, the Garlands, the Baums
was a founder of the Society of Midland Authors.
Kudos to Our Webmaster
Hersh, the volunteer who has so painstakingly designed and maintained
the SMA Web site over the past several years, was honored June
21 by the Illinois Academy of Criminology at their annual Presidents'
Night Dinner, an event paying tribute to the Academy's
past presidents. Mary Claire received the Executive Director's
Award for her work on the Academy's Web site.
A Treasure Among Treasures
Row Book Fair is a treasure trove for collectors of books and
ephemera alike. While searching through old magazines, Rich
Lindberg came across the Spring 1965 issue of Chicago Magazine,
which contained an article by Fanny Butcher entitled "The
Long Tradition of Midland Authors." The occasion was the
Society's 50th anniversary on April 24 of that year and
the presentation of four annual awards "coveted by every
author born, living or having lived north of the Ohio
River from the Alleghenies to the Rockies.'"
The latter geographical
designation was that of Hobart Chatfield-Taylor, SMA's
first president. Butcher went on to talk about many of the Society's
illustrious early members. According to Butcher, in 1965, only
three of the 52 charter members were still alive)Edna Ferber,
Mary Hastings Bradley and Alice Gerstenberg.
In 1965, there
were 230 members and the new president was Jack McPhaul of the
Chicago Sun-Times editorial staff. (Our current president, Tom
Frisbie, is also a member of the Sun-Times editorial staff.)
Butcher concluded the article paraphrasing of Sandburg's
Chicago, "Come and show me another authors' group
with lifted head singing so proud to be alive."
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
Kids Pick Favorite
Brill recently heard that her historical fiction, Bronco
Charlie and the Pony Express, was nominated for the 2007
Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award. The award encourages
children in elementary grades, particularly second and third,
to read and vote for their favorite book.
One of the Best in 25 Years
novel, Housekeeping, was one of 17 titles receiving multiple
votes in the New York Times Book Review May 21 voting for the
best work of American fiction in the last 25 years. Robinson
and SMA member Studs Terkel were among the judges. Last year,
Robinson won the SMA's 2005 Adult Fiction Award.
was a recent guest on Milt Rosenberg's Extension 720 (WGN Radio)
program, along with Dr. Jeffrey Adler of the University of Florida,
discussing patterns of homicide in Chicago, 1875-1920.
A crime of more
recent vintage, the Schuessler-Peterson slayings is the focus
of Rich's next book, Shattered Sense of Innocence: The 1955
Murders of Three Chicago Children, to be published in mid-October,
2006, by Southern Illinois University Press.
years of investigative research and writing with co-author Gloria
Sykes, the book identifies two possible new suspects to America's
oldest solved homicide.
Rich's two-year term as president of the Illinois Academy of
Criminology ends this month, and an updated version of his 1997
White Sox Encyclopedia will be re-issued as Total
White Sox in September by Triumph Books here in Chicago.
The book tops out at over 600 pages and goes through the 2005
New Play Premiered
was part of a scholars' panel in Manzanar, Calif., June
11-12 at the opening of "The Enemy Alien Files, Hidden
Stories of World War II," a powerful photo-exhibit depicting
the U.S. government WW II policies that led to the arrest and
internment of thousands of innocent German, Italian and Japanese
residents of the U. S. and Latin America.
His book, Enemies:
World War II Alien Internment, was the first book published
on the subject. His novel Spoon won the 1978 SMA fiction
will continue throughout the summer of 2006. The Manzanar ceremonies
also featured the premiere of Christgau's Zip, a one-act
play based on the true story of a 17-year-old German-American
boy's experiences as an enemy alien.
U.S. Meddling "Damaging"
By Stephen Kinzer's
count, says The New York Times, "the United States
has toppled foreign governments 14 times in the 110 years between
the 1893 coup in Hawaii and the occupation of Iraq, making regime
change by force as American as apple pie. But Mr. Kinzer says
the results are always damaging to the countries involved, and
to American security as well."
His new book,
Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii
to Iraq, follows his previous books on U.S. meddling in
Iran and Guatemala. "An admirably written page-turner,"
it blames the greed of "United Fruit, ITT, Aramco, Halliburton
and other corporations and plutocrats operating through like-minded
officials" to replace legitimate governments with "corrupt
brutes who turn out to cause more problems for foreign policy
than did the ousted leaders."
Kinzer was formerly
a foreign correspondent for The New York Times.
Nothing Funny About Advance
reports that his comedic coming-of-age novel, Planet of the
Dates, has just been
accepted for publication in late 2007 or early 2008 by The Permanent
Set in and around
Milwaukee during the summer of 1980, it contains, "far
and away, the funniest
writing I've done...This is my third published book, but my
first hardcover; it's also the first time I'm
receiving not just royalties, but an advance!"
Michael H. Ebner
recently published a brief on-line autobiographical essay entitled
"The Romance of E-mail: Ground Rules" in the History
News Network, a widely distributed publication by and for historians.
It is found at http://hnn.us/articles/23198.html.
He is the James
D. Vail III professor of American history at Lake Forest College.
His rules recognize
practical uses of E-mail like setting up meetings while decrying
cravenly substituting E-mail for messages that should be conveyed
face to face behind closed doors.
History, Romance and Religion
new book, The Priest's Madonna, was published in April
by Putnam. Based on a true story, it "interweaves the history
of France at the turn of the 20th century with scenes of ancient
Judea and the romantic and religious journey of a spirited and
intense heroine to spin a tale of the forbidden love between
a woman and a holy man and the moral and spiritual struggles
One Good Turn...
has signed a contract with Parkstone International publishers
to write a biography of the artist, Edward Hopper. The success
of his biography, Frida Kahlo - Beneath the Mirror, prompted
the London publishing house to make the offer.
Souter said, "Hopper led an angst-ridden life. The geometry
and solidity of his paintings and etchings belie his deeply
personal problems that often burst into rage and dropped him
into depression. And as with Frida, the writing style calls
for a page-turner approach rather than the traditional march
though his life and art."
He and his wife,
Janet, promptly left for the Whitney Museum in New York to study
the largest single repository of Hopper's art and writings.
Writing for Radio
In his latest
book, Jack D. Coombe chronicles his years in the Golden Age
of Radio as a scriptwriter and performer. When Radio Was
King (Louda Press) also contains scripts he wrote during
his long and prolific career as a writer of comedy material.
"The work also acts as a primer on comedy writing itself,
as well as containing advice on proper microphone techniques
and stage performing," the publisher says.
War II he wrote and performed for Armed Forces Radio and also,
occasionally on loan from the Navy, for CBS.
war, Coombe continued his prolific career as a writer and performer
for six radio stations and the CBS, ABC and MBS networks.
He also appeared
in and wrote for vaudeville, stage, film and television productions.
Was King also chronicles his working relationships with
many celebrities, including Danny Kaye, Clark Gable, Virginia
Grey, Ann Sothern, Bob Crane and musicians Count Basie, Gene
Krupa, Ella Fitzgerald and others.
He now has written
six books, including the first three-volume naval history of
the Civil War.
Poetry Road Show
is touring with her "How to Get Your Poetry Published"
workshop on the following dates:
19, the Naperville (Ill.)Writers Group at North Central College.
2, The Women's Center for the Creative Arts, 5514-A W. Lawrence
Ave., Chicago, Ill 60630, (773) 412-9257.
30, StoryStudio Chicago, 3717 N. Ravenswood, #115, Chicago,
Ill 60613 (773) 728-8441.
4, Deerfield (Ill.) Park District.
also present her "Introduction to Poetry," workshop
at the Deerfield Park District on Saturday, Oct. 7.
Life After Death
writes from Madison, Wis., that she has a new book coming out
in early August. "The Penguin Press is publishing it in
the U.S., Random House in U.K., etc. and it's called Ghost
Hunters: William James and the Scientific Search for Life after
Broadcasts from C-Span2 Bus
finalist for the SMA's 2006 Children's Nonfiction Award for
Our Eleanor: A Scrapbook Look at Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarkable
Life, was interviewed June 2 by Anne Haller of C-SPAN2 for
a segment on its Book TV program, which runs every weekend.
took place on C-SPAN2's Book TV Bus, which contains a TV studio,
at the Indian Trails Public Library in Wheeling, Ill..
RECENT NEW MEMBERS
BY THOMAS FRISBIE
Paul M. Green
is the Arthur Rubloff Professor and the director of policy studies
at Roosevelt University. He is the author, co-author or editor
of several books about Chicago and Illinois politics, including
The Mayors: The Chicago Political Tradition.
former business editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, is author
of an upcoming book about the history of Chicago social clubs
that will be published this fall by Lake Claremont Press. She
also is author of The Essential Dictionary of Real Estate
(2003) and How to be a Value Investor (1999).
grew up in a small town on the Illinois-Wisconsin border and
graduated from the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has written for
such magazines as Cosmopolitan, Parents and Fitness.
novel, Icebergs, the May 21 issue of New York Times Book
Review said, "Anyone who takes on World War II, the 60s,
Vietnam and the disappearing rural landscape can't be faulted
for lack of ambition." The review said her "inviting"
novel" arrives at effectively muted moments of revelation."
is the author of The Tongues of Men and The Chicago
Conspiracy Trial. His other books include the short novel,
Custom (Grove Press, 1963, 1967) and No One Was Killed
(Big Table, 1969), about the 1968 Democratic Party Convention..
Ted Anton is
an associate professor in the DePaul University English department.
specializing in literary nonfiction. He teaches magazine writing
and literary journalism, focusing on science, investigative
reporting, urban issues and the history of ideas.
He also teaches
American literature and creative writing, as well as courses
in such topics as science literature and underground publishing.
His book, Bold
Science: Seven Scientists Who Are Changing Our World (W.H.
Freeman and Company, 2000, 2001) tells the stories of seven
creative researchers in astronomy, genetics, neuroscience and
ecology, and other fields fundamentally changing the millennium.
book, Eros, Magic and the Murder of Professor Culianu
(Northwestern University Press, 1996), won the Carl Sandburg
Award in Nonfiction from the Friends of the Chicago Library.
It is the true
story of the 1991 campus murder of a charismatic young specialist
in Renaissance magic at the University of Chicago.
is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author and an adjunct
professor of journalism at Columbia University and the University
Her most recent
book, Before Lewis and Clark: The Story of the Chouteaus,
the French Dynasty that Ruled America's Frontier, was published
in April 2004 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
She has been
a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, the Miami
Herald and the Associated Press.
She won her
Pulitzer for international reporting in 1981 for articles published
in the Miami Herald about the wars in Central America.
She was born
in a farmhouse in Missouri and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas.
She earned a bachelor's degree in language and literature from
Pittsburg (Kan.) State University in 1960 and a master's degree
in international journalism from Ohio State University in 1966.
She lives in
the Kansas City area.
is a filmmaker, critic and professor at Columbia College, Chicago,
who has a particular interest in sci-fi novels and movies that
critique corporate and military scientists whose utopian visions
of an ideal world perfected by their own fantastic inventions
have a nasty way of coming back to bite the seat of their lab
He is author
of Technophobia: Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology,
and his comedic short films include "Shock Asylum,"
starring Second City alum Stephen Colbert.
In the film,
Dinello's character is unwittingly submitted to a psychiatric
ward. It culminates in a scene where Colbert chases after Dinello,
attempting to drill a hole in Dinello's head.
Robert J. Adelsperger,
who served faithfully on the SMA board for many years, died
in May at 80.
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As curator of
special collections for the University of Illinois at Chicago,
he arranged for UIC to house the SMA's archives.
He was a force
also in other Chicago literary organizations, including the
Friends of Literature, the Chicago Foundation for Literature
and the Caxton Club.
He often scrutinized
membership nominations to ensure that they met SMA traditional