Award-winning author shares advice with new writers

WASHINGTON, DC – After winning the first Grateful American Book Prize in 2015 for her Civil War novel, Like a River, Kathy Cannon Wiechman wrote another called Empty Places, based on the Great Depression. She has now turned her attention to helping new writers reach young readers through works of historical fiction and nonfiction.

“I believe that the real winners of the Grateful American Book Prize are young learners who are bored in history class, but whose interest in the events and personalities that shaped our nation can be encouraged by a good read. And, that is one of the aims of the Prize: to inspire new writers to produce such works.”

Wiechman is completing her next opus, Not On Fifth Street, to be published in the fall. It is about the record-breaking Ohio River flood of 1937.

In the meantime, she says, she always has time for extra-curricular activities such as mingling with her readers at school visits, and participating in writers’ workshops, including an upcoming stint as a lecturer on historical fiction for the Highlights Foundation in May.

“Before I wrote my first novel, Like a River, I attended a number of workshops offered by the Highlights Foundation. These workshops taught me about creating believable characters, doing research, and even how to load and fire a muzzleloader as part of my research.”

Wiechman is always eager to share what she has learned with other writers, and the Highlights Foundation’s Whole Novel Workshop is a particularly ideal way of doing it.

“The workshop is for writers who have written a complete novel and want to get professional feedback, and help to make it publishable. It offers an opportunity to work with new writers one-on-one.”

Authors interested in attending the workshop should visit Highlights Foundation to learn more/expedite an application. The deadline is February 5th.

“The cost of the workshop includes all meals, accommodations, transportation from the airport, if necessary, and lots of personal attention from the faculty. Scholarships are available. I have benefited from these workshops and highly recommend them to anyone writing for young readers.”

As for the 2017 Grateful American Book Prize: judges began accepting entries on January 1st for appropriate books published between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017.

 

February 2017 Book Recommendations

Barbara Pym’s, QUARTET IN AUTUMN; a story of how four older people—connected only casually— manage their isolation.

Ernest Hemingway’s, A MOVEABLE FEAST; a gaggle of literati moves to 1920s Paris.

Fran Lebowitz’s, THE FRAN LEBOWITZ READER; acerbic humor from the 1970s and 1980s by the author of Social Studies and Metropolitan Life.

Harper Lee’s, GO SET A WATCHMAN; Scout comes of age, and so do her prejudices.

 

February 2017 Book Recommendations

Americans still prefer to read printed books versus e-books and audio books

WASHINGTON, DC – Good news!  Americans are avid readers according to a new Gallup Poll.  The better news is that the great majority prefer printed books over e-books and audio books.  And, nearly three quarters of respondents in the study said they favored printed books to e-books and audio books.

That is also the opinion of David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American book Prize-an award that seeks to encourage authors and publishers to produce more printed works of fiction and non-fiction for kids-that focus on American history.

“There’s nothing like the comfort of curling up with a good book, and turning paper pages at your own pace so that you can truly appreciate the content.  It’s particularly important for young learners because it allows them to ‘experience’ the moment, so when they read about the people, places and events that shaped our nation they can achieve an understanding of history that they can’t get by merely memorizing names and dates.  It’s the reason Dr. Bruce Cole, the former Chair of the National Foundation for the Humanities, and I decided to make the investment in creating the Prize,” says Smith who is an author and publisher.

The Gallup survey found that 53% of young adults read between one and 10 books in the past year.  The Gallup report concluded, “with the advent of e-readers and tablets in the past decade, some futurists predicted the imminent extinction of printed books.  It was said that the ability to download, read and store thousands of digital books on these devices would quickly reduce demand for the paper versions.  However, this prophecy appears to be far from true — so far.”

The Prize was established in 2015 and almost instantly became a much-coveted award, says Smith.  “We got 140 entries in less than six months.  In 2016, more than a hundred submissions were received and reviewed by our distinguished panel of Judges.”

The judges for the 2017 Prize include Smith and Dr. Cole as well as Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society, Dr. Peter Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies & Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, Dr. Douglas Bradburn, author, historian and Founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, John Danielson, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Education Management Corporation and Neme Alperstein, a teacher of Gifted and Talented Students in the New York City Public School system since 1987.

The award comes with a cash Prize of $13,000 to commemorate the original 13 Colonies and a medallion created by noted American artist, Clarice Smith.  In addition, every year two authors receive Honorable Mention citations and, as of 2017, they will also receive cash prizes of $500 each.

“We started accepting eligible books published between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 for the 2017 Prize on January 1st,” says Smith.

Jewish Lit Live Presents a Reading by Ariel Sabar

The George Washington University Department of English and Jewish Lit Live (JLL) proudly present a reading by Ariel Sabar on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 7:00PM in The GW Marvin Center Amphitheater.

Ariel Sabar won the National Book Critics Circle Award for his debut book, My Father’s Paradise: A Son’s Search for his Jewish Past in Kurdish Iraq (2008). His second book, Heart of the City (2011), was called a “beguiling romp” (New York Times) and an “engaging, moving and lively read” (Toronto Star). His Kindle Single, The Outsider: The Life and Times of Roger Barker (2014), was a best-selling nonfiction short.

Ariel is also an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Mother Jones, and This American Life, among many other places. He is a contributing editor at Smithsonian Magazine and Washingtonian Magazine, and a former staff writer for the Providence Journal, Baltimore Sun, and Christian Science Monitor, where he covered the 2008 presidential campaigns. He has reported from Africa, Europe, Scandinavia, and the Middle East.

Jewish Lit Live hosts rising and renowned Jewish American writers to speak with the GW and literary community. Guest speakers have included emerging leaders, National Humanities Award Recipients, international bestsellers, and UN-Award Winning Writers, e.g. Michael Chabon, E.L. Doctorow, Daniel Handler, Nicole Krauss, & Erica Jong.

2017 Jewish Lit Live Schedule

Jewish Lit Live Presents a Reading by Ariel Sabar

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule Announced

The George Washington University Department of English and Jewish Lit Live (JLL) proudly announce the 2017 schedule.

Ariel Sabar — The Outsider: The Life and Times of Roger Barker
Thursday, February 27:00 PM — Marvin Center Amphitheater

 

 

 

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule AnnouncedElizabeth Poliner — As Close to us as Breathing
Thursday, February 237:00 PM — Marvin Center Amphitheater

 

 

 

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule AnnouncedEtgar Keret — The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God
Thursday, March 9 – 7:00 PM — Marvin Center Room 308.

 

 

 

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule AnnouncedSam Lipsyte — The Fun Parts
Thursday, March 30 7:00 PM— Marvin Center Amphitheater

 

 

 

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule AnnouncedGeraldine Brooks — People of the Book
Thursday, April 137:00 PM — Marvin Center Room  308

 

 

 

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule AnnouncedFaye Moskowitz — And the Bridge is Love
Thursday, April 277:00 PM — Marvin Center Amphitheater

 

 

 

Jewish Lit Live hosts rising and renowned Jewish American writers to speak with the GW and literary community. Guest speakers have included emerging leaders, National Humanities Award Recipients, international bestsellers, and UN-Award Winning Writers, e.g. Michael Chabon, E.L. Doctorow, Daniel Handler, Nicole Krauss, & Erica Jong.

All events are FREE and OPEN to the public. First come, first serve seating at The Cloyd Heck Marvin Center (MC) 800 21st Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20052

Jewish Literature Live is made possible by the generous support of David Bruce Smith, BA ’79, a former member of GW’s Board of Trustees and an alumnus of the English Department.

 

Jewish Lit Live 2017 Schedule Announced

Americans still prefer to read printed books versus e-books and audio books

WASHINGTON, DC – Good news! Americans are avid readers according to a new Gallup Poll. The better news is that the great majority prefer printed books over e-books and audio books. And, nearly three quarters of respondents in the study said they favored printed books to e-books and audio books.

That is also the opinion of David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Grateful American Book Prize—an award that seeks to encourage authors and publishers to produce more printed works of fiction and non-fiction for kids—that focus on American history.

“There’s nothing like the comfort of curling up with a good book, and turning paper pages at your own pace so that you can truly appreciate the content. It’s particularly important for young learners because it allows them to ‘experience’ the moment, so when they read about the people, places and events that shaped our nation they can achieve an understanding of history that they can’t get by merely memorizing names and dates. It’s the reason Dr. Bruce Cole, the former Chair of the National Foundation for the Humanities, and I decided to make the investment in creating the Prize,” says Smith who is an author and publisher.

The Gallup survey found that 53% of young adults read between one and 10 books in the past year. The Gallup report concluded, “with the advent of e-readers and tablets in the past decade, some futurists predicted the imminent extinction of printed books. It was said that the ability to download, read and store thousands of digital books on these devices would quickly reduce demand for the paper versions. However, this prophecy appears to be far from true — so far.”

The Prize was established in 2015 and almost instantly became a much-coveted award, says Smith. “We got 140 entries in less than six months. In 2016, more than a hundred submissions were received and reviewed by our distinguished panel of Judges.”

The judges for the 2017 Prize include Smith and Dr. Cole as well as Dr. Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society, Dr. Peter Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies & Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, Dr. Douglas Bradburn, author, historian and Founding Director of the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon, John Danielson, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Education Management Corporation and Neme Alperstein, a teacher of Gifted and Talented Students in the New York City Public School system since 1987.

The award comes with a cash Prize of $13,000 to commemorate the original 13 Colonies and a medallion created by noted American artist, Clarice Smith. In addition, each year two authors receive Honorable Mention citations and, as of 2017, they will also receive cash prizes of $500 each.

“We started accepting eligible books published between July 1, 2016 and July 31, 2017 for the 2017 Prize on January 1st,” says Smith.

A New Direction for Kent County Arts Council

The Kent County Arts Council celebrates 2017 as a year of transition. Director Leslie Prince Raimond will welcome John Schratwieser (former Director of the Prince Theatre / Garfield Center for the Arts, and outgoing Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts) as a co-director in the summer of 2017. John and Leslie will work together to transition the arts council in several ways in the coming months. Leslie, after 35 years of service to the arts in Kent County, will retire at the end of the year, and John will take the reins of the Arts Council. In addition, Leslie and John are moving forward with the plan to purchase and renovate the Town Arts Building at 101 Spring Street in Chestertown, as an anchor/gateway building for Chestertown’s Arts & Entertainment District. The space will not only house the Kent County Arts Council, and a new gallery space, but also John’s other project. In November 2016, John assumed the directorship of AIR.C (Artist in Residence.Chestertown) which was created by Kelly and Alex Castro. Under John’s leadership AIR.C will morph into “Artikultur-MD; A space to create on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.” Part of the Town Arts Building will be dedicated to welcoming visiting artists who will be selected to engage arts based practices and solutions to social, civic and environmental issues. The partnership of the Kent County Arts Council and Artikultur-MD is designed to enhance and support the already strong arts ecosystem in Kent Council. Leslie and John will be excited to unveil this new endeavor to the people of Kent County over the coming weeks and months.

A New Direction for Kent County Arts Council

Town Arts Building Chestertown