OPRAH WINFREY GUEST SCHEDULED FOR JAN. 9
Fresh from her recent appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show, Elizabeth Berg will be the
of the Jan. 9 program at the Cliff Dwellers Club.
Her current novel, Open House, was a selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club.
The New York Times Book Review called it "agile and freshly observed."
Author of a number of other novels, she had previously won the New England Booksellers
As usual there will be no program in December.
THE SCHAAF REPORT
By Barbara Schaaf
Fit to Print
On Sept. 25, Sara Paretsky contributed her thoughts to the New York Times Writers on
series. Slugged "A Storyteller Stands Where Justice Confronts Basic Human
Needs," Paretsky argues
that "mysteries, like life, have to be political."The story line of her latest novel, Hard Times, involves the hardships of women in prison.
Robert Hellenga, winner of the 1995 SMA fiction award for The Sixteen Pleasures, recently
returned from Bologna where he celebrated the publication of the Italian translation of
novel, The Fall of a Sparrow. He also participated in the 20th anniversary of the bombing
Bologna train station, the subject of the novel, whose Italian title translates as Bologna
Hellenga's international shelf is getting crowded; the Dutch and Spanish translations were
brought out last year, and he is awaiting a copy of the German version, which is available
bookstores in Europe.
It's also available as an audio book from Dove.
Just out is Taking Cerebral Palsy to School, Mary Elizabeth Anderson's contribution to
Books' Special Kids in School series. Anderson, of Grand Island, Neb., dedicated her book
young friend with CP. The idea is to help classmates of such kids to better understand the
and even includes an experiment enabling children to experience what it might feel like.
More for Kids
Under the auspices of the Barrington Area Arts Council, Diane Johnson conducted a
six-hour seminar for children aged 8 to 15 last summer. Johnson worked with the kids to
screenplay or children's book, or both.
Also participating were puppet dolls inspired by Johnson's book, Princesa and Friskie
from Barnes & Noble of Crystal Lake, barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com). The puppet
performance utilized a set painted by Randy Johnson, Diane's son, a professional muralist
For those who loved Irving Cutler's Jews of Chicago: From Shtetl to Suburb (and there were
you), good news: Arcadia Publishing has just brought out Jewish Chicago: A Pictorial
professor emeritus of geography at Chicago State University, uses 230 photographs and maps
the reader on a visual journey of the evolution of Chicago Jews from immigrant beginnings
Larry Lockridge writes from New York University that he won the Mid-America Award (1998)
his biography, Shade of the Raintree: The Life and Death of Ross Lockridge, Jr. It was
Viking Penguin in 1994 and by Penguin in 1995 to critical praise.
In her new book, Turning 50, Olivia Wu reflects on what it means to hit that milestone,
results of interviews with 50 men and women who made it and survived to tell the tale. Wu
a distinguished career in Chicago journalism (Chicago Sun-Times and Daily Herald) and now
Wu's volume is not a how-to book, but a study of how turning 50 empowered her subjects. It
published in March by Andrews McMeel.
FDR, Winnie, Uncle Joe...and East Texas, Too
Augie Aleksy, proprietor of Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore (check new location at 7419 W.
Madison, Forest Park) has planned an intriguing November schedule.
On Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. the C&SB History Discussion Group presents a meeting
minds program featuring Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston S. Churchill and Josef Stalin.
limited; call 708-771-7243 for more information.
On Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. the Mystery Discussion group will meet to go over Joe R.
Landsdale's East Texas mystery, Mucho Mojo.
(And if some of you get this issue before Nov. 4, remember that to celebrate the store's
anniversary and the new digs, there's a party from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with refreshments,
appearances by Chicago writers.)
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
Jerome Brooks, a member of the Society of Midland Authors since the mid-'70s, reports that
of his six novels have been issued as reprints by the Authors Guild-iUniverse.com.
The three novels will have newly designed covers. Make Me a Hero was a serious contender
Newbery in 1980. Naked in Winter was published by the prestigious French house, L'ecole de
in both hardback and paperback, the latter for a national French book club. The third
title is The
Testing of Charlie Hammelman.
The new covers are in keeping with Brooks's decision to re-issue the books as adult
says they received superlative reviews at the time of their original publication, but
never sold very
well, for precisely the same reason YA critics gave them such fine reviews: they were fine
but not for the masses.
As Brooks used to tell students enrolled in the fiction-writing workshops he was invited
University of Chicago to develop and lead, as well as the throngs of people from around
who participated in his America Online Bulletin Board, Art, Integrity, and Fiction,
"a writer must not
write down to his reader, as a parent must not speak down to a child. In both instances,
that sort of
evolutionary debasement leads to the increase in the rise of the mediocrity we can now
around us." Brooks had to leave his teaching and, to some extent, his writing because of a rare form
peripheral neuropathy. Only three percent of the patients in the world experience his
profoundly. It has attacked all the nerves in his lower body and has now progressed to the
destruction of the myelin sheathing surrounding some of his cranial nerves.
He is virtually unable to walk or wash dishes, to say nothing, of course, of touch-typing.
Currently, he's trying to perfect his Naturally Mobile recording skills.
He says he would be thrilled to hear from former friends and colleagues. "I haven't
how to love and care and talk and speak."
Marilyn Chiat has signed a contract with Hidden Springs, a division of Paulist Press, to
Spiritual Traveler: Chicago and the Great Lakes Region.
The states to be included are: Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Spiritual
series is an expansion of her book, America's Religious Architecture: Sacred Places for
Community (Preservation Press/John Wiley & Sons, 1997) that surveyed places of worship
regions of the country.
The first book in the new series, on New York City, was written by Edward Bergmann and
available next spring.
Sites to be included in the books are places of worship, cemeteries, grottos, natural and
landscapes, Native American sites and other "spiritual spaces and peaceful
places." She says, "I welcome suggestions from readers for sites that should be considered for inclusion in my
More Honors for Poet Laureate
"Heart, Mind, Justice A Voice of Dignity" will be the theme for this year's
award as the Phi Beta Kappa Association of the Chicago Area honors Gwendolyn Brooks for
A reception with cash bar will start at 6:00 p.m. with dinner at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov.
the Casino Club, 195 E. Delaware Pl., Chicago.
The program is open to the public, cost $60 per person.
A lifelong Chicagoan and Poet Laureate of Illinois for over three decades, Brooks was the
Black poet to win the Pulitzer Prize, awarded for Annie Allen. She has also served as a
poetry to the Library of Congress.
She has won two Guggenheim fellowships, the Frost Medal, the Shelley Memorial Award and
honors from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
She will sign copies of her work, which will be available for purchase at the event.
For further information, contact the Phi Beta Kappa Association president, Greg Gocek, at
630-968-7845 or E-mail GGGMAN@att.net.newsletter index
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Thomas Lynch, winner of the SMA nonfiction award for his 1998 book, The Undertaking, has
become the man to quote on the subject of death and dying. He was quoted at length on
during Bill Moyers' recent four-part special on PBS, as well as in a Time magazine article
offbeat mortuary operation.
Chicago Tonight on Chicago's Channel 11 rounded up Tim Unsworth among other commentators
on Catholic affairs to discuss Cardinal Francis George's action in appointing an official
"Humorous and Heartwarming"
Stella Pevsner's new book, Is Everyone Moonburned But Me? (Clarion), continues to get good
"Starved for attention, middle child Hannah goes back and forth between living with
and her father and becomes determined to be an individual in a family that seems to barely
her...a humorous, heartwarming story," says Books and More for Growing Minds.
Good Word for Dissent
Faithful Dissenters: Stories of Men and Women Who Loved and Changed the Church is Robert
McClory's new book from Orbis.
A journalism professor at Northwestern University, "he writes mostly as a journalist,
to debate the merits of nonconformity, but to report each story and allow the facts to
themselves," says Publishers Weekly.
His "well-researched" examples range from Galileo and St. Thomas Aquinas to
figures, whose stories illustrate that even in the Roman Catholic church "history
often takes a kinder
view of those known in their day as dissidents."
Another Spare Time Job
The indefatigable Martin E. Marty has agreed to serve as interim president of St. Olaf
Caught between a president leaving and a new one coming aboard early next year, St. Olaf'
to Marty, who was already chairman of the board of regents.