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.



Not one day back from vacation and the growing list of noble souls who need to be congratulated is making me uneasy. Some people, it appears, actually work during vacation. Sarah Bird's work on The Yokota Officers Club was completed some time ago, but it's a pleasure to tell anyone who doesn't already know it that her funny and memorable summer 2001 novel, about a woman who's just fumbled through her freshman year at college and has to unearth deeply latent reserves of self-confidence and resolve, was selected by the editors at as the 11th best book of the year among fiction and literature titles... It's official: The house in Kyle where Katherine Anne Porter grew up (508 Center St.) has been designated a National Literary Landmark (the second such designation in Texas; O. Henry's home on Fifth Street was the first). Gail Bialas of the Texas Center for the Book in Dallas made the nomination, but congratulations need to go out to all the people who turned an underused corner lot in Kyle into the stellar place called the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center: local philanthropist Bill Johnson of the Burdine Johnson Foundation; SWT's Tom Grimes and Carroll Wiley; Curt Engelhorn, whose Angel Foundation has funded the literary programs at the house; the residents of Kyle who helped make the Center possible; and the board of the Katherine Anne Porter Literary Center. A celebration will take place in April, but fans of poets Jean Valentine, who will read at the KAP Center on Monday, February 11 at 7:30pm, and Mark Doty, who will read on Friday, February 22 at 7:30pm, will want to drive down to Kyle before then... In 1998, Doubleday published UT Professor Emeritus Elizabeth Warnock Fernea's In Search of Islamic Feminism: One Woman's Global Journey. The book has been assigned to college students for the past two years, but now, because Fernea wrestles with the often unpredictable reactions to feminism among Muslim women, Anchor Books has made a new printing. Anchor is hoping that the perspective of an American feminist who is a longtime expert on the Middle East will make In Search of Islamic Feminism stand out from the abundant crop of recently published or reissued titles about the region. It should; Fernea's curiosity about everything Middle Eastern makes for gripping reading... The Writers' League of Texas has a new executive director. Stephanie Sheppard, who is the former executive director of the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center in Maui, will fill the post left by Jim Bob McMillan, who went to work for the Texas Commission on the Arts last September. Sheppard was selected from a field of 52 applicants.

Austin: An Illustrated History

American Historical Press decided it was time to reprint Bill Crawford and David Humphrey's popular Austin: An Illustrated History, an engaging coffeetable book that covers the gamut of Austin history, from verse-spouting Mirabeau Lamar to Gov. Ann Richards on her motorcycle and a lot of things in between. Crawford will be at BookPeople tonight, Thursday, Jan. 10, at 7pm, to talk about the book.

Dobie-Paisano Fellowships

The Texas Institute of Letters is accepting applications for the Dobie-Paisano fellowships until January 25, 2002. Every year, the fellowships offer two writers six months in residence at J. Frank Dobie's former 254-acre ranch outside of Austin. At the time of application, one of the following requirements must be met: The applicant must be a native Texan, have lived in Texas at some time for at least two years, or have published writing that has a Texas subject. Information about the fellowships including applicant information and an application that can be filled out and printed can be found on the Web at To receive information and the application by mail, write: Dobie-Paisano Project, J. Frank Dobie House, 702 East Dean Keeton St., Austin, Texas 78705; phone: 471-8542; fax: 471-9997; or e-mail: UT-Austin co-sponsors the fellowships.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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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

Photojournalist Shepard Sherbell's visual record of the end of the USSR and Gerald Duff's new novel set on the Gulf Coast

Clay Smith, Dec. 14, 2001


Sarah Bird, Katherine Anne Porter, Gail Bialis, O. Henry, Burdine Johnson Foundation, Kurt Engelhorn, Jean Valentine, Mark Doty, Elizabeth Warnock Fernea, Bill Crawford, David Humphreys

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