February 22, 2013 |
When she was 8 or 9, in the 1960s, Jen Bryant learned to type by copying obituary material on the desk of her father, a Flemington, N.J., undertaker. In 2004, having already published more than a dozen books, she happened on a painting at the Brandywine River Museum by Horace Pippin, the late African American artist from West Chester. Bookend events. From her first childhood taste of writing to her latest children's book, A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, published by Alfred A. Knopf in January.
February 21, 2013 |
Tiaira Rodgers has a sweet sparrow of a voice but knows how to make herself heard in print. "I feel like some adults think, 'Oh . . . they're just kids, they don't know anything,' but that's not true," she wrote. "I'm a Philadelphian, I know what goes on here. I understand that if one person suffers, we all can suffer. If one person succeeds we all can succeed. " Mighty Writers, a grand name, is a rec center for the mind. The passage is from her "Letter to Philadelphia," a testament of hope.
February 16, 2013
Richard Collins, 98, a blacklisted screenwriter who later named names to Communist hunters during the McCarthy era, died Thursday, Feb. 14, of pneumonia in Ventura, Calif., his son, Michael, said. Mr. Collins was one of 19 writers and directors called by the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947 in a probe of supposed Communist subversion in Hollywood. He wasn't asked to testify, but 10 who refused to answer questions about their beliefs were jailed in what has widely been called a witch hunt.
January 15, 2013 |
BOSTON - For more than two decades, crime writer Patricia Cornwell has famously dramatized the life of a fictional medical examiner in her best-selling books. Now, she has her own personal drama unfolding in federal court. Cornwell, a wildly successful author through her novels about Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is suing her former financial management firm and business manager for negligence and breach of contract, claiming they cost her and her company millions in investment losses and unaccounted for revenues during their 41/2-year relationship.
January 11, 2013 |
The only living member who will be honored in July by the Baseball Hall of Fame is a writer - former Daily News scribe Paul Hagen. That is somehow appropriate, considering that the writers are at the forefront of a debate that extends beyond the walls of the Cooperstown, N.Y., museum. "This is the most star-studded ballot in 75 years, and we didn't elect anybody on it," ESPN.com's Jayson Stark said. "It just shows you what a mess Hall of Fame voting has become. " For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers' Association of America did not elect anyone Wednesday.
January 11, 2013 |
FOR MOST of the 77 years that the Baseball Writers Association of America has provided the electorate responsible for selecting the players for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, those journalists could rationalize their participation without enduring too much cognitive dissonance. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is independent from major league baseball, on which most Hall voters are responsible for reporting, ostensibly objectively. The writers technically do not vote at the behest of MLB, its teams or its players.
December 24, 2012 |
The mother of all Hall of Fame ballots arrived in the mail earlier this month and I immediately set aside the manila envelope and continued to ponder how to handle the polarizing players who showed up on the ballot for the first time this year. You know the names. Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Sammy Sosa. Superstars who stained the game by using performance-enhancing steroids. After this year's ballot arrived, I started reading columns from some of my fellow members in the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
December 22, 2012 |
Somewhere in this newspaper this week, you'll find reviews of concerts and recordings by "indie" rock bands. Critics, fans, and musicians seem comfortable with the designation, the belief implicit that indie bands and record labels offer something better than, or at least different from, what bigger labels do. The same is true of independent, "little" movies. But what about crime fiction? Why do too many readers not know that some of the world's best crime writing is published by Stark House Press, Serpent's Tail, Seventh Street Books, Counterpoint, Hard Case Crime, ECW Press, Liberties Press, Hersilia Press, and other smaller houses in the United States and abroad?
December 21, 2012 |
When it comes to winning races and winning awards, Chapter Seven has broken the bank. The 4-year-old male trotter, who won eight of 10 starts and equaled the world record of 1 minute, 50.1 seconds on a mile racetrack, was named horse of the year Thursday in Dan Patch Awards voting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Chapter Seven's 10 starts were the fewest for a horse of the year winner in harness racing history. On Tuesday, Chapter Seven was named trotter of the year, defeating stablemate Market Share by 39 votes for the honor.
December 17, 2012 |
'I'm in a one-day-at-a-time mode for most things right now. " Ayana Mathis might well be. Recently the Philly-born, Brooklyn-based Mathis, 39, learned that The Twelve Tribes of Hattie (Alfred A. Knopf, $24.95), her first novel, the first piece of substantial fiction she'd ever published, had been chosen by Oprah Winfrey, goddess of all media, for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Mathis will read at the Free Library of Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24. It's free. On vacation in Paris, "I picked up the phone," says Mathis, "and there she was at the other end of the line.