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June 4th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Book Biz; Philip Turner's Books & Writing

Saluting Daniel Halpern, Venerable Champion of Fiction Writers

I was delighted to see Publishers Weekly reporting this afternoon that Daniel Halpern of Ecco Press​ is being awarded The Center for Fiction​’s annual #MaxwellPerkinsPrize for “championing writers of fiction in the United States.” I met Dan in 1987, when his stewardship at the literary magazine Antaeus brought us in to contact. A book I’d edited and published, Suite for Calliope: A Novel of Music and the Circus, won the Drue Heinz Literary Prize, an award sponsored by Antaeus.

Ironically, I had earlier encountered the circus novel, by an as-yet unpublished writer named Ellen Hunnicutt, when I worked as first reader/contest judge at Scribner, who at the time sponsored a first novel prize in Max Perkins’s illustrious name*. Though Hunnicutt’s didn’t win that contest, when my Scribner stint ended I got my first full-time job as an acquiring editor, at Walker & Company, contacted Ms Hunnicutt, and made her book my first-ever fiction acquisition. Some months later, with the novel edited and in galleys, Ellen was named recipient of a different award, the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, chosen and given by Antaeus, for a distinguished body of work in short stories. A few months after Walker & Co published Suite for Calliope, by virtue of an Antaeus arrangement with the University of Pittsburgh Press, Hunnicutt’s short fiction was published in a collection titled In the Music Library. This link leads to other essays I’ve written for this blog that chronicle my experience in acquiring and editing Hunnicutt’s truly exceptional novel. The book received a starred review in Kirkus, sold out its hardcover printing, and Dell acquired the paperback rights. All in all, it was a great experience to have with the first novel I ever worked on, made all the better by Dan Halpern’s generosity toward my author. To me, it is truly fitting that Dan will receive the later iteration of the Maxwell Perkins Prize. I look forward to congratulating him in person.

* As Editor-in-Chief of Scribner in the 1920s-40s, Perkins edited and published novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, among many acclaimed authors.

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June 3rd, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Art, Film, TV, Photography, Fine Printing & Design; Book Biz; Media, Blogging, Internet

Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P.), Great Resource for Art Books at Book Expo America

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June 2nd, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Music, Bands & Radio

Jean Ritchie, Great American Folksinger, RIP

Below is a video with a bit more than a minute of the great folksinger Jean Ritchie talking about her songs and how she learned them. Such an impressive woman. She died recently at age 92, as reported in today’s NY Times obit. She was born in Kentucky in 1922, heard songs all her life there, then moved to New York City in the 1950s, where she became a mainstay of the budding folk song movement. She played fretted dulcimer and knew hundreds of songs from the Appalachians and the British Isles. I heard her perform at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in the late 1970s/early ’80s. Ritchie’s 1955 book—”Singing Family of the Cumberlands”—featured songs she grew up singing at home in Kentucky, with illustrations, surprisingly enough, by Maurice Sendak! The book is still in print, from University of Kentucky Press. 

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May 14th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Canada; Technology, Science & Computers

Inuit Elders Note “the Sky Has Changed”

Inuit elders' warning to NASA: "The Earth has shifted, the sky has changed." #Unprecedented

Posted by Philip Turner on Tuesday, 7 April 2015

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May 8th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Canada; Music, Bands & Radio

Excited I’ll be Attending the CBC Music Festival in Toronto, May 23

This should be lots of fun—an all-day outdoor music festival in Toronto sponsored by CBC Music, with some great acts. Tickets are available via this link

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May 8th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: News, Politics, History & Media

Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative Accepting the Hillman Prize for Public Interest Law

As a followup to my recent Storify post about the 2015 Sidney Hillman Foundation Prizes, here’s video of the moving speech by Death Row attorney Bryan Stevenson.

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May 8th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: News, Politics, History & Media

Jeb Panders to RW Jewish Donors, Says he Consults his Brother on Israel

Jeb Bush’s statement about GW Bush and Israel was basically a pander to his audience that he thought would land well with the fat cats in the room, where the host was Paul Singer, a sort of Sheldon Adelson wannabe. For much of the rest of the country, I believe it will come off as a weird sort of toxic brag, conjuring up nightmarish memories of the last Bush presidency. Here’s the Washington Post story on Jeb’s supposedly private meeting with those donors.

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May 8th, 2015

By Philip Turner in: Personal History, Family, Friends, Education, Travels

#tbt Going Back to ‘June 60′