Writers coming and going in Austin's literary scene.
Sarah Bird fans can rejoice at the news that her new novel has just been accepted by Knopf and will more than likely be published in 2001... Novelist Carol Dawson heads off to Santa Fe next week for a one-year stint as a creative writing and English professor at the College of Santa Fe. Her students in Form and Theory of Literature will be reading "lots of short stories"; her creative writing students, she says, will be "writing their asses off." She should know; the prolific author says a year away from the rigors of everyday writing "is really going to stretch me in new ways." She will return to Austin next June... Former Austin scribe Marion Winik and her husband Crispin Sartwell welcomed Jane Winik Sartwell (named for Marion's mother) into the world at 4:52am on June 21. She weighed seven lbs. and four oz. and was 19 inches long. She just celebrated her one-month birthday in Glen Rock, Pa., with her three brothers and one sister. Here she is on Day One... While the city of Austin is figuring out the logistics of celebrating Lance Armstrong's Tour de France victory, Putnam, the publisher of his inspirational memoir, It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life (written with Sally Jenkins) has already decided how it's going to celebrate: by printing more copies of his book. The book's first printing of 108,500 copies has already ballooned to 180,000... At press time, there were five days and four hours left for the public to bid on a book whose rights are being offered on eBay. The opening bid is $20,000 for all rights -- hardcover, paperback, foreign, audio, and e-book -- to a novel called Hanky-Pank by Ronald Farrington, who has been published (the traditional way) with Winning the Divorce War and is the editor of The Dexter Review, a literary journal. He says he doing this as an "experiment" that so far isn't panning out: There were no bids -- surprise, surprise -- at press time... But maybe that's because bookish people on the Net are supposedly busy worrying about Stephen King's recent Web-only release of the initial installment of his epistolary novel The Plant, which he actually wrote in the early Eighties. Bypassing his publisher, Simon & Schuster, just for the sake of making them mad is apparently not the point; by posting The Plant, he hopes to "break some trail for all the midlist writers, literary writers, and just plain marginalized writers who see a future outside the mainstream," according to his Web site (www.stephenking.com). King, who used to ride around the country on his motorcycle stopping only at independent bookstores, has been criticized for only involving Amazon.com in his e-publishing venture: Readers who want to download the first installment of The Plant can do so for $1 that goes to King but is payable only through Amazon. If 75% of readers fork up the $1, King will continue to publish installments through his Web site. But, since by Tuesday, July 25, only 41,000 people had downloaded the first installment instead of the expected 500,000, that may be a moot point.