Open PDF Version
AWARDS DEADLINE FEB. 15
during 2005 may be entered in the annual SMA awards contest
until Feb. 15, 2006.
be shipped directly to the judges in each category.
Because of last-minute
changes, the complete list of judges was not yet available at
The list of judges
and complete instructions will be posted on this web site.
available also from Carol Jean Carlson, awards chairman: 1420
W. Farragut Ave., Chicago, IL 60640. (D)773/561-3999 (N) 773/506-7578.
NEW YORKER INSPIRED TO WRITE BY MOVING TO
Once upon a
time (well, Nov. 9, to be exact), everybody in the audience
felt like wide-eyed 10-year-olds again, anxiously waiting to
find out what happened to the bunny that a born storyteller
rescued from her cats.
BY RICHARD FRISBIE
Katherine Hannigan, managed to piggyback an appearance at the
SMA meeting in the Chicago Athletic Association on a speaking
tour associated with her prize-winning book, Ida B...and Her
Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the
that she had been inspired to write her book by moving to a
small town in the country, Fayette, Iowa, home of Upper Iowa
University, after growing up in Lockport, NY.
She wove her
spell with simple materials, beginning with slides
showing the surroundings. Fayette, set among fields and forests
near the Volga River, has one café, one street and no
traffic lights. There's a country road where, on her morning
run along the shoulder, she sees deer, eagles, owls, wild turkeys
and other wildlife. Sometimes, she finds an injured animal or
bird and nurses it with the advice of a wildlife rehabilitation
to tell myself a story about this place," she said. For
months, she wrote two to four hours a night in a spiral notebook
after teaching at the university while her imagination focused
on a little girl she decided to name Ida B. "As soon as
I knew her name, I knew the child." Sensitive to the environment,
Ida B. comforted herself during hard times by talking to trees.
At first, Hannigan
had no thought of publication. "I was writing for myself.
It was the best time I ever had."
were 42 drafts), she showed the manuscript to Kate Dicamillo (author
of the book that inspired the movie, Because of Winn Dixie),
who encouraged her and steered her toward an agent
that dealing with publishers was like the story of the Three
Bears. The first publisher said she should take out the part
about conversations with trees. The second publisher had no suggestions
at all. Too easy, Hannigan thought. The third publisher (Greenwillow)
was just right, with a few helpful suggestions. Greenwillow also
agreed to publish the book on recycled paper, appropriately for
a book with an environmental theme.
and a long-list of prestigious awards, including last year's
SMA award for children's fiction, plus a spot on the New
York Times best-seller list, she found that when she spoke
to audiences of children they said the conversations with trees
was one of the parts they liked best.
What about the
bunny? When she rescued the rabbit from her cats, it seemed
too traumatized to survive. Although people are advised to handle
wildlife as little as possible, she decided in this case there
was nothing to lose.
a day she would pick it up, stroke it and talk to it. "You're
a marvelous bunny, you can make it," she would say over
When the rabbit
seemed better, she freed it in her yard. Instead of running
away, it came back for more stroking. But the next time she
put it down, it hopped away into the bushes and went on with
Nobody in the
audience actually blurted out, "Whew!," but that's
what they were thinking.
happy ending: Hannigan's cousin, Joseph Hannigan of Long
Grove, Ill., a Chicago suburb, saw a notice of the meeting in
the paper. He brought his wife, Mary Anne, to the program and
was reunited with Cousin Katherine for the first time since childhood.
THIS COULD BE YOUR LAST ISSUE OF LITERARY LICENSE
If your mailing label says "(Exp 2005)," that means you haven't paid your dues for the fiscal year that began last July 1. We'll be sorry to lose you, but to prevent your name from being removed from the SMA mailing list, the web site and the forthcoming membership directory, you must act promptly.
Send your $35
dues to the Society of Midland Authors, P.O. Box 10419, Chicago,
IL 60610. (click for printable
BY CAROL JEAN CARLSON
Dymmoch's fifth John Thinnes mystery, White Tiger
(St. Martin's Minotaur), deftly recalls the horrors of
the Vietnam War. The Chicago police detective is called in to
investigate the murder of a Vietnamese woman, Tien Lee, an old
acquaintance whose half-Asian son Thinnes fears he may have
When he is taken off the murder case, Thinnes turns to his friend Dr. Jack Caleb, a noted psychotherapist and former medic in Vietnam who now specializes in treating vets, for help in solving the case and dealing with memories of the war. As Thinnes and Caleb, who also struggles with wartime memories, search for the reason Tien Le was killed, Thinnes comes to believe that a murderous criminal from Saigon, known as White Tiger, may now be at work in Chicago.
Maybe We Should Exercise
James McManus, author of the SMA award-winning Positively Fifth Street, has written a new book chronicling his experience with the $8,000 executive physical at the Mayo Clinic. Physical: An American Checkup (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) is a sometimes funny, often terrifying, tale of one man's confrontation with the American medical system and ultimately his mortality.
Murder in Michigan's UP
book editor and literary columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times,
has written another book featuring Deputy Steve Martinez, who
first appeared in 2003's Season's Revenge.
into Murder (Forge) begins with the body of an organized-crime
assassin washing up on the shores of Lake Superior in Porcupine
City in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
When a second
body is discovered--this one over 100 years old--Martinez comes
to believes there is a connection between the two corpses. Add
a Chicago entrepreneur who has transformed an abandoned copper
mine into an underground greenhouse and Martinez's unraveling
personal relationship and you have all the ingredients for a
well-crafted page turner.
Shifting Political Forces
Claude Walker recently resigned as communications director and senior policy advisor for Illinois Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn. He assisted in planning and publicizing Quinn's many events promoting heritage-based and environmental tourism, particularly on the Illinois river system.
severe burnout as the reason for his leaving. Walker made literary
history with his book Currents of Power: A Modern Political
Novel (2001, Writers Club Press), the first novel about
state politics ever e-published.
Carla K. Johnson, writing for the Associated Press, recently profiled seniors who have shifted from shuffleboard to web logs or blogs. Our own Jim Bowman, 73, of Oak Park was among those senior bloggers included in the article.
four regular blogs--one on happenings in Oak Park, one for his
many opinions, one on religion and one that gives feedback to
Chicago newspapers. And he claims to be retired!
"I Shuddered in My Shell"
embellishes the true story of a 1930s attempt to go over Niagara
Falls in a barrel in Sunny Boy! The Life and Times of a Tortoise
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Kroupa).
Originally slated for turtle soup, Sonny Boy was saved by a horticulturalist who has since passed. He goes on to live with a stamp collector, a Latin scholar, and then Biff the Brave, "a daredevil extraordinaire," who wants Sunny Boy to accompany him on his perilous adventure.
The real daredevil
was George Stathakis and the real Sunny Boy was over 100 years
old. While this book has a happy ending, in truth only the tortoise
survived. The book is illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf.
Erin McKean recently assumed the editorship of Verbatim,
a quarterly journal on language, written for a general audience.
Originally from North Carolina but now living in Chicago, McKean
is also editor-in-chief of U.S. dictionaries for Oxford University
Press. She manages both jobs from the basement of her home.
is celebrating its 30th volume.
Pull Plug on Erotic Fantasies?
That is the
question Bill Lederer's new absurdist play Prudence of the
Deep Blue Wild, which opened to wide acclaim in November
at the Prop Thtr, asks. Poet Ron Offen produced the play.
Go, White Sox!
With the whole
city agog over the White Sox winning of the World Series, Richard
Lindberg has been asked to update his White Sox Encyclopedia
(Temple University Press) so it will be available for sale before
even the Lyric Opera pays tribute to the Sox victory in their
current production of The Magic Flute.
On Dec. 18,
Wes Adamczyk and Janice Nowak narrated "A Tale of Two
Christmases" at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N.
Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.
consisted of recollections of a young boy deported from Poland
to Siberia. A joyous Christmas Eve in Poland in 1938 was contrasted
with the sadness of the Christmas in exile in 1941.
Polish carols by the Polonia Ensemble and classical chamber music by the Calumet Chamber Musicians led by John Wachala punctuated the presentation.
OTHER MEMBER NEWS
writes: "Thanks for putting my (news) in Literary License
(Oct., 2005). One complaint - I don't know how I got turned
into a he' in your article, with my name being Michelle."
(Ed. note: Sorry. It was late at night. Possibly something made us think of Michelle Angelo painting his Sixteenth Chapel.)
reports a new book, In Katrina's Wake: An Anthology of Inspirational
Poetry, just out. All profits will be donated to the American
She is also
publishing a non-fiction book, The Poet's Manual: How to
Go From Aspiring Writer to Published Author And Beyond,
to be released in February,
On WFMT radio in Chicago recently, Barth Landor was announced as the winner of the morning quiz for correctly identifying St. Cecilia as the patron saint of music.
promoting the revised edition of the book he co-authored with
Randy Garrett, Victims of Justice Revisited, enjoyed
a busy media day on Nov. 30.
In the morning he was interviewed on WBEZ, Chicago public radio. That night he appeared on WTTW-Channel 11.
he wrote an update for the Chicago Sun-Times on the latest
developments in the notorious Nicarico murder case, which were
the reason for all the media interest.
Coincidentally, later the same evening he went to Chicago's celebrity-chair charity auction, for which he had made a chair bearing the signature and computer-generated portrait of movie director Spike Lee.
Edits New Magazine
has a new day job as editor and associate publisher of the new
Shore magazine, aimed at upscale readers on the southeast
shores of Lake Michigan, from Chicago around to southwest Michigan.
The controlled circulation includes luxury goods dealers, restaurants and service providers.
former writer for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago
Reader, is the author of two books. She has also held management
positions with Copley Newspapers and other publishing
companies in the area.
Review Profiles Author
A glowing review
in the Chicago Sun-Times of Eleanor Taylor Bland's
new mystery, A Dark and Deadly Reception, turned into
a profile of the author herself.
She began to write after a career as a cost accountant. St. Martin's Press liked the characters and the writing in her first mss. so much that they were glad to encourage her to continue. That's now 13 books ago.
Publishers Weekly called the book "well-crafted...deft use of flashbacks not only builds suspense but adds complexity to her characters."
Wins Douglass Prize
of the Michigan State University history department has won
the Frederick Douglass Prize for his book, A Colony of Citizens:
Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804.
The $25,000 annual award for the year's best non-fiction book on slavery, resistance and/or abolition is the most generous history prize in the field, and the most respected and coveted of the major awards for the study of the black experience.
The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), the onetime slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers and orators of the 19th century.
POD Not as Easy as ABC
author of 11 previous books, reports a new book that's
also a new experience. Of Clubbable Nature: Chicago's Tavern
Club at 75 was sponsored by the members of the prestigious
club and produced with print-on-demand (POD) technology.
He wrote, "It is a merry romp through Chicago's history from the long night of Prohibition' to yesterday, revealing much about the city and its movers and shakers, many of them Tav' insiders."
been the club's historian and librarian since the 1970s
and the library bears his name. He found POD a "mixed blessing...the
established procedure of dealing by phone with staff author's
representatives' who spoke fluent English in heavily Philippine-Spanish
accents were a major trial for a pretty deaf author."
Regime Changes: Keeping Score
next book is coming out in April, titled, Overthrow: America's
Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq.
The former New
York Times bureau chief in Istanbul, he has written previous
books on U.S. meddling in Central America and the Middle East,
including All the Shah's Men: The Hidden Story of the
CIA's Coup in Iran.
Land of the Second Chance
In his "sweeping
and provocative" new book, The Redemptive Self: Stories
Americans Live By, Dan P. McAdams argues that in fact a
redemption narrative is central to how the most successful Americans
view their life stories. "Since the first Europeans arrived
on our shores, Americans have been reinventing themselves in
astonishing ways and producing second, third and even fourth
McAdams, author of a dozen other books, is Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University, where he holds joint appointments in the psychology and human development and social policy departments.
Piling Up Awards
of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine (Clarion) has
won several awards for co-authors Dennis and Judy Fradin in
Last August, the Fradins traveled to Los Angeles to receive the Golden Kite Honor Award from the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators.
In November, it was the Carter Woodson Honor Award at the National Council of Social Studies convention in Kansas City, Mo.
Dennis and Judy
are currently completing two other young adult books. Five
Thousand Miles to Freedom (National Geographic Children's
Books) retells the ingenious slave-escape story of Ellen and
William Craft. This couple fled from Macon, Ga., disguised as
a white man (Ellen) and her slave (William).
are also finishing a young adult bio of Chicago's own Jane Addams,
tentatively titled Miss Kindheart.
RECENT NEW MEMBERS
BY THOMAS FRISBIE
of Charlestown, Ind., is one of the leading Mary Todd Lincoln
presenters in the nation. She is chair of the Mary Todd Lincoln
committee for the Association of Lincoln Presenters. She has
performed at schools, universities and festivals. She is author
of Lincoln's Table (Guild Press).
Jeff Griggs, a friend and former student of the ImprovOlympic
and Second City's Del Close, is author of Guru: My Days with
Del Close (Ivan R. Dee, 2005). Publishers Weekly said: "Griggs,
a friend and former student of Close's who assisted the ailing
artist with his errands during the latter years of his life,
takes readers on a jarring and otherworldly journey through
the byways of Chicago."
Booklist said Griggs' writing is "energetic and heartfelt, honest and utterly riveting." Griggs was born in Quincy, Ill., and attended Illinois colleges before becoming a radio host and weekend TV weather forecaster. He quit the media to study improvisational theater at ImprovOlympic. He is now an actor, director and improviser in Chicago.
is staff writer for the Chicago Reader, where he writes
a column called "At the Track" featuring stories from
the racetrack. He wrote of Horseplayers: Life at the Track
(Chicago Review Press, 2005), a first-hand account of a year
McClelland spent " bankrolled by his publisher " trying
to make a profit betting on horses. His work also has appeared
in In These Times, Mother Jones and Salon.com.
collection of short fiction, The Logic of a Rose, Chicago
Stories," was the winner of the G.S. Sharat Chandra
Prize for Short Fiction. Lombardo directs the Community Service
Program and teaches fiction at The Latin School of Chicago.
He has had stories recently published, or forthcoming, in Story
Quarterly, Cicada and the Bryant Literary Review.
He is currently working on a baseball novel.
Ph.D., a professor at the College of Lake County, is author
of Arcadia, My Arcadia, the story of a poor boy in the
war-torn Arcadia of the 1950s trying to do what no one in his
village ever had done: complete high school. Much like the protagonist,
Kokonis is an Arcadian who came to America in 1962. He attended
Roosevelt University and the Illinois Institute of Technology
and for 15 years he was a regular columnist for the Greek Press.
Wilbert R. Hasbrouck,
author of The Chicago Architectural Club, has been a
practicing architect in Chicago, specializing in historic renovation,
for more than 40 years.
From 1968 through
1975, he was the executive director of both the Chicago Chapter
and the Illinois Council of the American Institute of Architects.
He and his wife Marilyn published The Prairie School Review
and continue to operate the Prairie Avenue Bookshop.
In 1986 he was named Preservationist of the Year by the Chicago Coordinating Council for Landmarks Preservation. Hasbrouck was given a distinguished service award by the American Institute of Architects, Chicago Chapter, in 1975. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1973.
Sloan St. James
of Orland Park, Ill., author of The Dark Plain, says
the book is "my first expedition into the surreal side
of my own imagination." Baycrest Books chose the book to
be the launch title for its new romance line, Sunset Rapids.
The Dark Plain was chosen as a finalist in the Prism,
Golden Quill and Booksellers' Best awards.
a 2001 graduate of Georgetown University, is author of Girls!
Girls! Girls! (stories and fictional humor pieces). Booklist
wrote: "Zulkey imagines a new kind of chick lit, one where
well-earned laughs and fierce satire dethrone cheesy dialogue
and lengthy laments about not having any shoes to match a particular
outfit." On the Web, she runs www.zulkey.com.
Arthur J. Bilek
was chief of the Cook County Sheriff's Police, a member of the
Chicago Crime Commission and a professor at Loyola University.
He lives in Evanston and is co-author of The St. Valentine's
How to Nominate New Members
is editorial page editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and
a former senior editor at U.S. News and World Report.
He is co-author with Truman Gibson of Knocking Down Barriers.
Janis F. Kearney
is chancellor's lecturer at Chicago City Colleges. She was former
President Bill Clinton's personal diarist from 1995-2001. She
is author of Cotton Field of Dreams: A Memoir.
writes about music for a number of publications, including the
Chicago Reader, Seattle Weekly and City Pages.
He has worked as a studio engineer and producer, and has toured
and recorded six albums with his band, Ashtray Boy. He is author
of R.E.M.'s Murmur.
the Society of Midland Authors is only by invitation from the
board of directors.
that authors reside in or be strongly identified with the 12
Midwestern states. Also, their books must be published by recognized
may nominate another author by sending the following information
to Society of Midland Authors at P.O. Box 10419, Chicago, IL
60610: name, address, title of book(s), publisher. (click for
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