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Wednesday, May 9,2012

A playwright's work is never done

Sandra Seaton wins the Study of Midwestern Literature's Mark Twain Award

by Bill Castanier
When East Lansing playwright Sandra Seaton receives the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature´s Mark Twain Award for writing this week, she will join a distinguished group of previous winners, including Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, Virginia Hamilton, Ray Bradbury, Jane Hamilton and Jim Harrison.
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Wednesday, May 2,2012

Home run

Jim Abbott writes about his baseball career and his parents' love story

by Bill Castanier
Abbott’s emergence from Flint was a storybook tale, especially considering that he was born without a right hand. On a scholarship to the University of Michigan, he collected two Big 10 championships, a solid 26-8 record and won the Sullivan Award for the best college athlete in 1987, the first baseball player to win the award. He then became a member of the triumphant U.S. Olympic Baseball Team, which won an unofficial Gold Medal in the 1988 Olympics (baseball was classified as a demonstration sport that year).
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Wednesday, April 25,2012

Booking the big names

Award-winning Michigan authors take the spotlight at Night for Notables

by Bill Castanier
Ward, who won the National Book Award in 2011 for “Salvage the Bones,” and Gordon, the 2010 award winner for “Lord of Misrule,” will join 2009 finalist Campbell (“American Salvage”) for a conversation about winning, writing and life after the award at the 2012 Night for Notables award ceremony Saturday at the Library of Michigan.
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Wednesday, April 11,2012

Double header

Two authors of baseball books come to town on the same night

by Bill Castanier
Mark Twain once umpired a baseball game. Earvin Magic Johnson and a group of investors are willing to pony up $2 billion for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Wednesday, April 4,2012

'Writing well is the best revenge'

Loren D. Estleman is the keynote speaker at this year's Rally of Writers

by Bill Castanier
Estleman still prefers using his 1967 Olympia and his 1923 Underwood to bang out his novels, including his more than 30 books featuring Detroit private eye Amos Walker.
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Wednesday, March 28,2012

Bad medicine

Professor Susan Reverby writes about medical research gone wrong

by Bill Castanier
Reverby, the Marion Butler McLean Professor in the History of Ideas and Professor of Women´s and Gender Studies at Wellesley College and an historian of American women, medicine and nursing, speaks April 5 at the Michigan State University’s World View Lecture Series.
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Thursday, March 22,2012

Some assembly required

After more than 20 years, Ben Hamper's 'Rivethead' still works for readers

by Bill Castanier
He will not be wearing his "Out for Trout" baseball cap: His former boss Michael Moore borrowed the cap for the filming of "Roger and Me" and never gave it back. Moore writes about the theft in the foreword to Hamper’s 1991 cult classic book "Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line."
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Wednesday, March 14,2012

An officer and an author

Actor-soldier-memoirist Benjamin Busch looks back on being a Marine — and playing a Marine

by Bill Castanier
Busch — an artist, actor, soldier and now author — shows his poetic vision of life and death in this unusual memoir, which doesn’t follow the usual conventions. For example, the story isn’t linear, but is broken into the sub-categories of Arms, Water, Metal, Soil, Bone, Wood, Blood and Ash, things the author refers to as elemental. Typically, he alternates chapters on his war experience with those of growing up.
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Wednesday, March 7,2012

'God's in the details'

'Horse Soldiers' author Doug Stanton shares insights at MSU lecture

by Bill Castanier
Doug Stanton was just outgrowing his "Cat in the Hat" stage when the author Gay Talese, one of the progenitors of the "new journalism" movement, wrote a seminal article for Esquire on Frank Sinatra that still influences the Traverse City writer.
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Wednesday, February 29,2012

African-American history isn't what it used to be

Pulitzer Prize winner Eric Freedman shares surprising stories in 'Presidents and Black America'

by Bill Castanier
Eric Freedman, co author of “Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History,” said the history of the presidency is one of “oversimplification and gentrification.” Freedman is an associate professor of journalism at Michigan State University and a Pulitzer Prize winner for his investigative reporting at The Detroit News in 1994.
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