Chicagoans to Receive National Medal of Arts Award

July 23, 2014

joan harrisThe 2013 National Medal of Arts, the government’s highest award for artists and art patrons, will be presented by President Obama to 12 honorees on July 28. Among the recipients are Chicago philanthropist and arts patron Joan Harris “for supporting creative expression in Chicago and across our country, and historian Darlene Clark Hine “for enriching our understanding of the African American experience”. Other medal winners include novelists Julia Alvarez, and Maxine Hong Kingston. For the complete list of awardees see this short article in the Chicago Sun-Times.


Film in "Blume"

June 7, 2013

blumeJudy Blume has been a best-selling author since her first novel Iggie’s House was published in 1970. Although she’s sold more than 80 million books none of them have been produced as a feature film until today. Her 1981 young adult novel Tiger Eyes will open in select theaters around the country – and has already won a jury prize at a film festival screening. Judy Blume’s son Lawrence directed the film and both mother and son wrote the script. It was “a real homemade movie,” according to Lawrence, who thought the book very cinematic when he first read it as an 18-year-old. The story of teenage girl Davey who has to adjust to life in New Mexico after her father is killed stars Willa Holland of “Gossip Girl.” Ms. Blume will be in Chicago this weekend to accept the 2013 ChicagoTribune Young Adult Literary Prize at the Printers Row Literary Festival. See the articles in today’s NYT and Chicago Sun-Times, and check out the library catalog for the many books by the acclaimed author.


Andrew Greeley, 1928-2013

May 31, 2013

Greeley-articleInlineControversial Chicago priest Andrew Greeley died Thursday at the age of 85. Although he was an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church, “his criticism was seen as offering the faithful a route back to the church, and helping the church find its way toward embracing them.” In addition to his duties as a priest, Rev. Greeley was a renowned sociologist, a longtime columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, and a best-selling author. His first novel The Cardinal Sins was on the NYT best seller list for eight months and sold three million copies. But above all,  “I always wanted to be a priest”, he wrote. “My core identity is priest. I will always be a priest.”You can read Neil Steinberg’s obituary in today’s Sun-Times or the more in-depth NYT obit. Also check out the library catalog for books by Andrew Greeley.


2013 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

April 16, 2013

adamjohnsonThe 2013 Pulitzer Prize winners for letters, drama, and music were announced Monday, April 15.   The  award for fiction went to Adam Johnson for his novel The Orphan Master’s Son, cited as an “exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.” Pakistani-American Ayad Akhtar’s play Disgraced about “a successful corporate lawyer whose deep-seated self-loathing is fully revealed at a dinner party” won the Pulitzer in the drama category. Mr. Akhtar has also written the novel American Dervish and is working on another novel and play. For history, Cornell professor Fredrik Logevall won for Embers of War which was noted as a “balanced, deeply researched history” into the Vietnam conflict.  Other Pulitzers were given to Tom Reiss for his biography The Black Count, Sharon Olds for her work of poetry Stag’s Leap , Gilbert King for his nonfiction book Devil in the Grove, and Caroline Shaw’s for her music Partita for 8 Voice. You can  see the complete list of winners and finalists in this NYT article. Also check out Hedy Weiss’s article in the Chicago Sun-Times on Mr. Akhtar’s play which had its world premiere  at Chicago’s American Theater Company in January 2012.


"The Balcony is Closed"- Roger Ebert, 1942-2013

April 5, 2013

rebertPopular and Pulitzer-Prize winning film reviewer Roger Ebert died Thursday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70. Film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times since 1967, Ebert was well known for his trademark thumbs-up/thumbs-down PBS television show he co-hosted first with the late Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and then with his Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper. He won a Pulitzer in 1975 for distinguished criticism (“the first, and one of only three, given to a film reviewer since the category was created in 1970.”) And in 2005, he  became the first critic to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Despite cancer surgeries which resulted in losing his ability to speak,   eat, and drink he resumed his writing and television work. Author of more than 20 books, Ebert also noted in his 2011 memoir Life Itself  that he considered himself “beneath everything else a fan.” Tributes have been pouring in from filmmakers such as Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese,  Ron Howard, and colleagues as well as Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel and President Obama. Director Steven Spielberg summed it up best: “Roger’s passing is virtually the end of an era and now the balcony is closed forever.” Read the complete article here which includes special memories, quotes, and some of his best-known reviews. And check the EPL catalog for books by him.


The Marilyn Monroe Mystique

August 6, 2012

On August 5, 1962 Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her Los Angeles home at the age of 36. And although she’s been dead for 50 years, her mystique grows stronger every year. New fiction and non-fiction books, including Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox and The Empty Glass, continue to be published, a Marilyn Monroe makeup collection is due in October, and  a seven-disc boxed set of her films have just been released on Blu-ray. 20th Century Fox cinematographer Leon Shamroy summed up the Monroe mystique best when he shot her first screen test in 1946: “I got a cold chill,” he said at the time. “This girl had something else — something I hadn’t seen since silent pictures. She didn’t need a soundtrack to tell her story.” And the mystery of her death just adds to the intrigue. Check out the article in the August 2nd Chicago Sun-Times.


Ray Bradbury, 1920-2012

June 6, 2012

Known as the master of science fiction, Ray Bradbury died Tuesday at the age of 91. More than eight million copies of his books were sold during his lifetime, including the short-story collections The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man and The Golden Apples of the Sun, and the novels Fahrenheit 451 and Something Wicked This Way Comes. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, he and his family moved to California when he was 13. “Waukegan had everything that was good about a small town,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times in a 1991 interview. “ There’s a park in Waukegan named in his honor. Mr. Bradbury was presented with the National Medal of  Arts in 2004 and received a special Pulitzer citation in 2007 “for his distinguished, prolific and deeply influential career as an unmatched author of science fiction and fantasy.” You can read the entire New York Times article here. For more of Mr. Bradbury’s works check the EPL catalog.

Richard Roeper’s column in today’s (June 7) Chicago Sun-Times is also worth reading.


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