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writers

Feb 22 2010

Literary Inspiration

by Jimmy L

I remember when I was a little boy I was so disappointed to find out that most adult books didn’t have pictures. What fun is a book without pictures? I was outraged. Today, still, I think pictures are a great way to enhance the reading experience. Luckily, I’ve found many others who agree with me. Some of them are visual artists who have been inspired by literature or literary figures. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight two blogs that show off a wide range of literary inspired art.

Picture Book Report

I love this blog. It’s a project where many different visual artists have agreed to re-illustrate the classics. Each artist chooses one book to work from, and each week we get new artwork illustrating key scenes from that book. Some of the books chosen so far have been Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, A Wrinkle in Time, Geek Love, and many others. The visual styles vary greatly from artist to artist. For me, it’s really illuminating to see someone else’s conception of a well loved classic.

Hey Oscar Wilde! It’s Clobberin’ Time!!!

Yes, it’s a silly name for a blog. I’m not sure what the story behind the name is, but it’s a fun website where different artists draw or paint portraits of their favorite literary authors or characters. There must be over a hundred artists participating, and they’ve drawn everyone from H.P. Lovecraft and Kurt Vonnegut to Willy Wonka and Ignatius J. Reilly.

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This month kicks off TrailFest ’09 on the Southern Literary Trail. The Trail is a loose association of 18 southern towns in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi that celebrate famous writers and playwrights from the twentieth century and the hometowns that inspired them. Georgia trail sites include Atlanta’s own Joel Chandler Harris and Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Connor, Lillian Smith, Erskine Caldwell, Carson McCullers and Alice Walker. In Mississippi, they’re celebrating the Eudora Welty Centennial this year, a very big deal indeed; although I’m disappointed that there’s no field trip to the post office. I once got to wait in a hallway at the Algonquin Hotel with Ms. Welty when our magnetic cardkeys wouldn’t work. It turned out a lot of things in that hotel room didn’t work, but it was all worth it because I got to chat with Eudora Welty.

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Jan 6 2009

So long, farewell

by Heather S

Many notable people, who left an incredible mark on our culture and society, passed on in 2008. This year we have said good-bye to the people listed below, whom I greatly admired and enjoyed their work.  I also picked my personal favorite or most memorable piece of theirs from the Library’s collection.

Let us remember their work fondly.  For a more complete list of people who died in 2008, you may want to try this article from Wikipedia.  Who will you miss?  What are your favorites from his or her work?

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Titlepage

Imagine this.  Three or four writers sit down in a room and talk about everything from their own books to politics and culture.  Now there is a show available exclusively on the web that does just that.  It’s called Titlepage, and it’s hosted by Daniel Menaker, the former fiction editor at The New Yorker who left his post as executive editor in chief of the Random House Publishing Group in June to host the show.

“We’re hoping to let people listen in on the kind of conversation they might like to have themselves if there were a group of three or four people in a room,” said Mr. Menaker.

The most recent episode features a conversation with Simon Winchester, Aleksandar Hemon, Rabih Alameddine and Nam Le—all born outside the U.S.—talking about the riveting, global stories in their latest books, the strengths and beauty of the English language, and whether any writer can (or even should) try to represent an entire culture.

Previous discussions include writers as far ranging as Richard Price, Susan Choi, Edward Hirsch, David Hajdu, Sloan Crosley, and Elizabeth Strout (just to name a few).

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to check out the monthly Georgia Center for the Book Author Talk events at your local DeKalb County Public Library branches!

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Mar 24 2008

Georgia Writer Flannery O’Connor

by Nolan R

Flannery O’Connor’s fiction often is labeled as “Southern Gothic” or “Southern Grotesque.” In response to this, O’Connor once said that “anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic.”

I grew up reading the stories of Flannery O’Connor, but I’m not sure that high school students these days ever study her work.   A friend of mine is currently taking a graduate class at Georgia College & State University on O’Connor’s work, and while I enjoy O’Connor’s dark sense of humor, I believe my friend is a braver woman than I am to attempt such a class!

O’Connor was born in Savannah, GA on March 25, 1925, and the family moved to Milledgeville, GA in 1938.  O’Connor attended Peabody High School, and later Georgia State College for Women (now GCSU) in Milledgeville.  In 1945 O’Connor received a scholarship in journalism from the State University of Iowa (now the University of Iowa).  After completing her M.F.A. in 1947, O’Connor won the Rinehart-Iowa Fiction Award and was accepted at Yaddo, an artists’ retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York. At Yaddo, she worked on her novel Wise Blood and became friends with the poet Robert Lowell.  After leaving Yaddo in 1949, O’Connor lived briefly in New York City and Connecticut.  In 1950, however, O’Connor was stricken with lupus and was forced to return to Milledgeville permanently. Remaining there from 1951 until 1964, O’Connor lived at Andalusia, the family farm, where she managed to continue to write despite her illness.  On August 3, 1964, however, after several days in a coma, she died from complications of lupus following surgery.  She is buried beside her father in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville.

In 1972, O’Connor was posthumously awarded the National Book Award for her collection The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor.

For more information on O’Connor:

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Nov 14 2007

Norman Mailer (1923 – 2007)

by Heather O

Mailer Controversial, abrasive, and prolific, Norman Mailer outlasted most of his generation of writers remaining an influential literary figure until his death this past weekend. Pioneering the creative non-fiction/biographical novel genre, Mailer contributed to journalism, activism, theater, and the screen in his prodigious body of work. From his seminal 1948 work Naked and the Dead, a semi-autobiography of his WWII experience to Hitler’s alternate childhood in The Castle in the Forest in 2007. Two-time Pultizer Prize winner with 1968 The Armies of the Night (also a National Book Award winner) and The Executioner’s Song 1979. His larger-than life persona and abrasive behavior belongs to an earlier era: the writer as celebrity, the Hemingway school of huge ego and even bigger lifestyle. Heavy drinker, womanizer, existentialist hipster, protester, politician, brawler- Mailer was as provocative in life as his writings. From his infamous feuds with Arthur Miller and Truman Capote to his brief imprisonment for stabbing one of his six wives, Mailer never shied away from the spotlight or backed away from conflict. While Mailer may never have written the ‘Great American Novel’ his body of literature truly represents America: from the 1968 Democratic convention, Marilyn Monroe, Lee Harvey Oswald, the Apollo mission, feminism, McCarthyism, and the death penalty – Mailer was a keen observer and critic of the epic that is American culture.

Check the online catalog or your DeKalb County Public Library branch for more Norman Mailer life and literature.

New York Times obituary

NPR obituary and interviews.

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