“A little of the good brown earth of Indiana, and some of the air above it, have made, if not a Shakespeare, yet certainly a group, or succession, of poets and prose-writers entirely disproportionate in fame and numbers to the size and population of the State. The phenomenon is one to excite curiosity.”
So begins an article from a 1902 edition of The New York Times, in which “Indiana and Her Famous Authors” are commended for being a beacon of literary light during a time when the state was often overlooked as a place of great learning… or of great anything. It was the turn of the century, and Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur had been a mainstay on bookshelves for over 20 years, James Whitcomb Riley (the Hoosier Poet) was a household name, and Booth Tarkington had penned a bestseller in The Gentleman from Indiana (years before The Magnificent Ambersons would win a Pulitzer Prize).
Sure, Indiana may have gotten a bad rap thanks to its own native author Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who would later help the nation coin the phrase “India-no-place,” but The New York Times (and later Mr. Vonnegut) was certainly on to something, and today, just like in 1902, Indiana is a place where talented budding and internationally recognized authors have honed their craft. But as a lover of the humanities, you probably already knew that.
Several years ago, Hoosier philanthropists and booklovers Eugene & Marilyn Glick also recognized our state’s deep pool of writing talent and dreamed of an award that would celebrate Indiana’s great literary tradition. And now, thanks to their support and vision, the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award is comfortably finding its groove in its second year as a statewide program of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation. The Award seeks to recognize the contributions of Indiana authors to the literary landscape in Indiana and across the nation.
As part of the 2010 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award celebration, writers and booklovers of all ages are invited to participate in the second-annual Indy Author Fair, a full day of free, public activities including the opportunity to meet and greet dozens of Indiana authors on Oct. 9, 2010 at Indianapolis’ Central Library. The day will include writing and publishing programs, one-on-one conversations, and book sales and signings with local, regional and national authors, all with Indiana ties.
You’ll have a chance to hear from this year’s seven amazing Indiana Authors Award honorees (including Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Scott Russell Sanders), and if you’ve ever thought about writing a book, or if you’ve been anxiously waiting to publish your 500-page tome of poetic verse, mark you calendar now. Presenters from The Writers’ Center of Indiana will explain the basics of publishing and marketing your book, and bestselling author (and 2009 Indiana Authors Award National Author winner) James Alexander Thom will guide you step-by-step through the process of researching and writing historical fiction.
The Indiana Humanities Council will be there as well, presenting information about its fabulous Novel Conversations program, where book clubs across the state can find a complete lending library of titles for next month’s discussion.
Teens and young adults will also find something for them as they try their hand at publishing, illustrating and even screenwriting.
A complete line-up of the day’s FREE events and information about our presenting authors and organizations are available on the Indiana Authors Award Web site, http://www.indianaauthorsaward.org/.
We hope to see you there as we celebrate Indiana’s famous authors and inspire those of the next generation.
This post was written by Emily Berger, Annual Fund Coordinator at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation.