Why dull people make witty writers and other mysteries in this week's Postscripts.


Frances Kiernan, who was a fiction editor at The New Yorker for 21 years and the author of Seeing Mary Plain: A Life of Mary McCarthy, is coming to Austin to speak about writing and researching biography. "Most writers' lives are sadly lacking in drama," Kiernan has said. "The dullest of people, it turns out, write witty and intelligent books. ... But if Mary McCarthy had never written a single word, we would still want to know about her. Beautiful, and never boring, reckless and endlessly maddening, this most analytical of writers shares with the great Romantic poets a gift for capturing the imagination by the simple, and not so simple, details of her life." Kiernan is being brought to town by the Michener Center for Writers, the Women's Studies and English departments at UT, and Plan II. She'll be in the Tom Lea Room on the third floor of the HRC (21st & Guadalupe) on Monday, Feb. 26, at 3pm. Call 471-1601 for more information.

Confidence Men

"I've begun to feel something dangerously akin to compassion for the losers of the world," Harry Anderson (Night Court) confesses in the reissued edition of Games You Can't Lose: A Guide for Suckers (Burford Books, $12.95). Consequently, Anderson and his friend and writing partner Turk Pipkin will brazenly reveal the secrets behind the cons, swindles, and wagers that made Nick "The Greek" Dandalos, Titanic Thompson, and Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein legendary con men. Games You Can't Lose includes intriguing information on these people ("Gotham's premier odds maker, Arnold 'The Brain' Rothstein, failing to pay 475 G's lost in a rigged poker game, was sent off to Craps Heaven … by a slug from a blue-barrelled .38. We'll miss ya!" … "Titanic Thompson was the kind of hustler that would wager on which nostril an ugly kid would pick first -- and usually win"). Anderson and Pipkin will be at BookPeople on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 3pm.


Irish Times columnist Nuala O'Faolain (Are You Somebody?: The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman) is out with a new novel, My Dream of You (Riverhead, $25.95), and she'll be at BookPeople on Thursday, March 1, at 7pm, to read from it… Red Salmon Arts and Encanto Productions are bringing Rafael Cancel Miranda, the Puerto Rican author who was one of the longest-held nationalist political prisoners in the U.S., to town to celebrate the release of his fifth book, Mis Dioses Llevan Tu Nombre, with selected readings, discussion, music, and refreshments. Rafael Cancel Miranda's Texas tour is sponsored by Encanto Productions, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, the Indigenous Women's Network, and Red Salmon Arts. The event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at Resistencia Bookstore (1801-A S. First) from 3-10pm… Writing on the Air, the radio show produced by the Writers' League of Texas Radio Collective, is calling for submissions for its Audio Anthology of Short Shorts. Submit a work of original fiction, no more than 500 words in length, containing the following three words: "Chandelier," "Gospel," and "Turquoise" (in any order or context). Several entries will be selected and broadcast during a special edition of Writing on the Air on April 14. Deadline is March 22, 2001. For guidelines and entry forms, see Writing on the Air can be heard on Saturdays at 4pm on 91.7FM.

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More Postscripts
The last time we heard about Karla Faye Tucker, she was being executed; now, almost four years later, there's a new novel about her. Or about someone very like her. And Beverly Lowry's classic Crossed Over, a memoir about getting to know Karla Faye Tucker, gets a reissue.

Clay Smith, Jan. 18, 2002

Not one day back from vacation and the growing list of noble souls who need to be congratulated is making Books Editor Clay Smith uneasy.

Clay Smith, Jan. 11, 2002


Mary McCarthy, Frances Kiernan, Harry Anderson, Turk Pipkin, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Nuala O'Faolain

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