In 1928 two cousins, Frederick Dannay (“Danny) and Manfred B. Lee (“Manny”), created Ellery Queen for a contest sponsored by McClure’s magazine and Stokes publishing house. The prize for creating the best new detective novel was $7500. The cousins won the contest, but McClure’s went bankrupt shortly afterwards, so they never collected their prize. Between 1929 and 1971 they published 46 mystery novels using the name of the protagonist as their pseudonym. The cousins also created Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine which is still influential in the mystery genre, publishing more new writers each year than any other magazine. The Mystery Writers of America honored Dannay and Lee by creating the Ellery Queen award for “an editor or publisher for distinguished support of the genre.” (post by Cathy Akers-Jordan)
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, best known for writing The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, “On Fairie Stories,” and other seminal works of fiction, was an Oxford professor and linguist who contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary, the translation of the Jerusalem Bible, and other historical literature.
After Tolkien’s death his son Christopher became his litarary biography, publishing his father’s drafts, notes, and unfinished work, much to the delight of Tolkien scholars. The most recent is the poetic The Fall of Arthur (pub. May 2013). Begun around 1934, Tolkien put the work aside in favor of publishing The Hobbit in 1937. Although Arthur remained unfinished, “in these notes can be discerned clear if mysterious associations of the Arthurian conclusion with The Silmarillion, and the bitter ending of the love of Lancelot and Guinevere, which was never written” (Amazon review). (post by Cathy Akers-Jordan)
Tolkien’s First World War revolver can be seen here.
BOOM. 1984. Sandra Cisneros’ poetic novella House on Mango Street is published, and for the first time the literature by a U. S. Latina reaches a mass audience, ushering in the extraordinary explosion of Latina poets, playwrights, and novelists who have followed. Sandra was born in Chicago, the third child (of seven) and only daughter of a Mexican father and Chicana mother. Although she now resides in central Mexico, she lived for several years in THE purple house in San Antonio, Texas, a community that inspired many of the actual settings and characters in her stories (often getting her characters’ names from the San Antonio phone directory!). Originally and still a feisty, courageous poet, she is best known for two poetry collections, My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1987) and Loose Woman (1994). Her masterpiece—to date—is the majestic novel Caramelo (2002) which spans a century of family history: “I have invented what I do not know and exaggerated what I do to continue the family tradition of telling healthy lies.” This epic novel perfects her unique storytelling style which blends the culture and language of her familial Spanish with her English speaking homeland. Breaking the silences in the lives of women, Cisneros embraces her spiritual and creative life “on the border,” as she observes: “I always want to explore the things we are not supposed to.” (post by Jackie Zeff)
In 1928 two cousins, Frederick Dannay (“Danny”) and Manfred B. Lee, created Ellery Queen for a contest sponsored by McClure’s magazine and Stokes publishing house. The prize for creating the best new detective novel was $7500. The cousins won the contest, but McClure’s went bankrupt shortly afterwards, so they never collected their prize. Between 1929 and 1971 they published 46 mystery novels using the name of the protagonist as their pseudonym. The cousins also created Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, which is still a influential contribution to the mystery genre publishing more new writers each year than any other magazine. The Mystery Writers of America honored Dannay and Lee by creating the Ellery Queen award for “an editor or publisher for distinguished support of the genre” (www.criminalelement.com) (post by Cathy Akers-Jordan)
Walter Lord is best known as author of A Night to Remember (1955), a narrative non-fiction book on the sinking of the Titanic. Lord interviewed more survivors than any other Titanic historian and inspired a generation of Titanic scholars. When the film A Night to Remember was released in 1958, it reminded the world of a tragedy that would never be forgotten and raised the greatest unanswered question about that night: why did the Californian, a ship sitting nearby in the ice, ignore Titanic’s emergency rockets and do nothing to help until the following morning? Many of Titanic’s survivors left Lord artifacts they carried from the ship as well as letters and personal items. Upon is death, Lord bequeathed his collection to the Greenwich Maritime Museum. (post by Cathy Akers-Jordan)
Sherman Alexie has been called a new, inventive voice in Native American literatures. But don’t call him a Native American, a term that he says is a product of “liberal white guilt.” Alexie is Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Indian, although he is careful to warn against reading his work as representative of other Indians’ experiences.
A prolific and now best-selling writer who has published over 20 books—including novels, poetry, short stories, young adult books, essays, and two screenplays—Alexie has transformed perceptions of what Native American literatures are and can be. His work has been celebrated as perceptive and denounced as combative by both Native and non-Native audiences.
He uses sharp-edged wit and often irreverent humor to confront misrepresentations of Indians and lay bare the hypocrisy of white paternalism and federal policies toward Native Americans. His work refuses to romanticize the daily lives of Indians and instead offers a brutally painful but ultimately honest portrayal of reservation and urban life, including negative realities of poverty, dysfunction, and alcoholism alongside camaraderie, endurance, and love.
Alexie grew up on the Spokane Reservation in Washington State, the setting for many of his novels and short stories. After leaving the Reservation in high school, Alexie earned a scholarship to Gonzaga University, and graduated from Washington State University in 1991. He now lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.
Published works by Sherman Alexie:
Blasphemy (short stories) 2012
War Dances (short stories & poems) 2009
Face (poetry) 2009
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (young adult novel) 2007
Flight (novel) 2007
Dangerous Astronomy (poetry) 2005
Il powwow della fine del mondo (poetry) 2005
Ten Little Indians (short stories) 2003
The Business of Fancydancing (screenplay) 2003
One Stick Song (poetry ) 2000
The Toughest Indian in the World (short stories) 2000
Smoke Signals (screenplay) 1998
The Man Who Loves Salmon (poetry) 1998
The Summer of Black Widows (poetry) 1996
Indian Killer (novel) 1996
Water Flowing Home (poetry) 1996
Reservation Blues (novel) 1995
Seven Mourning Songs For the Cedar Flute… (poetry) 1993
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (short stories) 1993
First Indian on the Moon (poetry) 1993
Old Shirts & New Skins (poetry) 1993
I Would Steal Horses (poetry) 1992
The Business of Fancydancing (poetry) 1991
(post by Alicia Kent)