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Announcements from WriterHouse


Vonnegut Wooden Nickel

Tuesday, November 29, 7:00pm–Charles J. Shields (Mockingbird; I Am Scout) has written what Publishers Weekly calls an “engrossing, definitive” biography of cultural icon Kurt Vonnegut. , And So It Goes has just been named a New York Times Notable Book for 2011. Join us at WriterHouse as Charles discusses his new book and the biographer’s art. Free and open to the public. Copies of And So It Goes will be available for purchase and signing.

Wednesday, November 30, 9:00pm–End of members’ early registration deadline for the winter writing class session that begins January 23.

Friday, December 2, 6:00-8:00pm–First Fridays Art Opening/Reception–Artist, Polly Lazaron, “Wind Dances Fire: Energy Drawings 2000-2010”–the art will be on display until January 14, 2012.

Online holiday shopping–if you do a lot of shopping online over the holidays, you can help WriterHouse by using our links to Amazon.com and GoodShop. Hundreds of your favorite online retailers participate in GoodShop. There is a link on our home page for both in the upper left column under “Donations and Shopping Links.”




Local biographer Charles Shields appointed to Mary Washington post

From the University of Mary Washington:


 The University of Mary Washington announces the appointment of noted biographer Charles J. Shields as associate director of the University’s popular Great Lives public lecture series.

Shields is the author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee (2006) the first biography of novelist Harper Lee, and a New York Times bestseller. Shields’ next book, And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut, A Life (Henry Holt & Co) will be released in November 2011. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review in its fall roundup earlier this month.

The Great Lives series began under the aegis of the Chappell Lecture Series, endowed by a grant from John Chappell of Philadelphia, whose late wife Carmen Culpeper Chappell was an alumna of the Mary Washington class of 1959. Distinguished Professor of History William B. Crawley, Jr. has directed the Great Lives series since its inception in 2004.

Biographers who have recently participated in the Great Lives series include Gary Giddins, Satchmo: The Genius of Louis Armstrong; Ron Chernow, Washington: A Life; T.J. Stiles, The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt; Douglas Brinkley, Rosa Parks: A Life; and Kitty Kelly, Oprah.

In addition to his writing, Shields serves as Vice President of Biographers International Organization (BIO), the first international organization to represent the everyday interests of practicing biographers: those who’ve already published the stories of real lives, and those working on biographies— in every medium, from print to film.

Where to lay the blame

Interesting comment over at Charlottesville Podcasting Network regarding the theater lecture I linked to earlier. The commenter is Charles J. Shields, the author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee:

Dr.Cohen is certainly right about the drop in audience attendance at live performances. But I wouldn’t lay blame at the feet of movies and the expectation by theater-goers of stage illusions. I think it’s a failure of contemporary dramaturgy. To be blunt…

…click over to read more bluntness!

I Am Scout named an ALA Best Book

News from local author Charles Shields:

Barboursville author Charles J. Shields’s biography for young adults, I Am Scout: the Biography of Harper Lee, has been chosen as a 2009 Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.

Shields is currently writing an adult biography of Kurt Vonnegut (Henry Holt & Co.). They were working together at the time of Vonnegut’s death in April 2007.

Personally, I cannot wait for the Vonnegut bio.