Category Archives: Authors

Bret Lott Honored in Seattle

Author Bret Lott (Jewel, A Song I Knew By Heart) is to receive The Denise Levertov Award on May 8, 2007, at the Seattle Art Museum. He is the fourth to receive this honor. “The Levertov Award is presented annually in May to an artist or creative writer whose work exemplifies a serious and sustained engagement with the Judeo-Christian tradition,” reports Image Journal.

In related news, literary awards are important cues for readers who might not notice or hear of a book otherwise, according to Maya Jaggi. She writes, “Good fiction is a dialogue between story and reader, to which a reader brings not only personal history but imaginative experience of other books. Judging is as much about being open to others’ readings as trying to persuade them of your own.”

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Sometimes when you hear someone has boarded his flight to the great beyond, you are surprised it hasn’t happened already. Famous authors get that wrap often, as I understand, often accused of death or something like it before settling into their terminal bed. Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse-Five and many other books, had the honor of being just such a famous author. I’m sure many high school and college students thought he had been dead for a while now, along George Orwell (1903-1950), William Golding (1911-1993), Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), and J.D. Salinger (1919-?? He’s not dead yet??)

Now the students’ mistake has been corrected. Vonnegut died of brain injuries last night in New York. I need to read some of his work. He wasn’t all bad, so I hear.

The Strength of Thornton Wilder

Following a new collection of Wilder plays from the Library of America, Jeremy McCarter writes this essay on playwright Thornton Wilder.

Great reputations, we tend to think, should be held aloft by imposing columns of major works. But producing one magnum opus after another was never Wilder’s style. Much of his energy went into writing one-acts, the kind of little pieces that many playwrights treat as fodder for the next company that asks for help with a fund-raiser. For Wilder, who disdained kitchen-sink drama in favor of the absolutes — finding the universe in a grain of sand, then reversing the lens to view the whole cathedral of existence — the short plays were as likely to be masterpieces as the long.

[HT to Sarah of Confessions]

Andrew Klavan in World Magazine

Your Writers Group points out an interview with one of Lars’ favorite authors, Andrew Klavan, in World Magazine (subscription req.).

He quotes Klavan saying, “I’m a novelist, remember, not a preacher. I trust reality to express Christ’s presence, because I think that’s what it actually does.”

In introducing the interview, Marvin Olasky writes, “It shouldn’t be an unusual combination, because an understanding of man’s sinfulness, along with a glimpse of God’s holiness, often makes us realize our desperate need for Christ. And yet Christian fiction has a reputation for being too nice to take on vice.”

Clive Cussler Sues Over Sahara Movie

Adventure Author Clive Cussler is arguing in court that the script to “Sahara,” based on his novel, was so bad it has hurt his career. His lawyers claim that Crusader Entertainment altered the screenplay without his consent, essentially ruining his main character and the story. Crusader Entertainment is countersuing, claiming Cussler exaggerated his sales to win the film contract.

I can understand suing over alterations without consent, if that’s a contractual agreement, but making a lousy movie based on my book? That’s Hollywood–get over it. And Crusader’s claim may have merit, but on the surface, it looks like whining to me.

Mr. Dawntreader with G.K. Chesterton

Dawntreader is taking notes on Chesterton’s thoughtful essays in Orthodoxy:

Evolution is a good example of that modern intelligence which, if it destroys anything, destroys itself. Evolution is either an innocent scientific description of how certain earthly things came about; or, if it is anything more than this, it is an attack upon thought itself. If evolution destroys anything, it does not destroy religion but rationalism.”

In short, thinking is meaningless if it’s all just chemical processes given to us by random survival instincts.

On C. S. Lewis: Hooper vindicated?

The serious cold has returned to God’s Country. The high today was a notch over 10°F. I’ve seen worse cold. Far worse. But this is definitely, inarguably frigid.

On Saturday it’ll be even colder. And the Viking Age Society is scheduled to help with a city cross-country skiing event that day, manning bonfires and passing out (warm) refreshments.

I’m trying to figure out a way to weasel out of it.

There’s news on the C. S. Lewis front.
I wrote, over on the old blog site, about the late Lewis scholar Kathryn Lindskoog’s accusations, repeated and embellished through several books, that Lewis’ secretary and literary executor, Walter Hooper, had forged documents, notably the unfinished novel The Dark Tower, and fraudulently published them as Lewis’ work.

I never put much stock in those charges, and it appears my instincts were right. The current issue of Christianity Today features an article called “Shedding Light On the Dark Tower” (not online, but here’s a discussion thread from the Into the Wardrobe site); by Harry Lee Poe. Poe describes a 2003 article in the Yale Review by scholar Alastair Fowler, a student of Lewis’. Fowler clearly recalls Lewis showing him some of his unfinished work, and he says he particularly remembers seeing The Dark Tower, with its disturbing scene about the man with the “stinger” in his head.

It would appear that Lindskoog was motivated to make her charges, in part, by the fact that the Dark Tower fragment just isn’t very good. She couldn’t accept that her hero might have produced something so inferior.

If that’s so, it’s evidence that she didn’t understand the creative process very well. Rare is the fiction writer who can produce saleable material on the first draft, and most who can aren’t the best in their genres. I often tell people, “The first thing is just to get your story down on paper. Don’t worry about the fact that it’s dreck. It’s supposed to be dreck. That’s what first drafts are for. Once the dreck is down in black and white, you can put your artistic mind to work, cutting, shaping, polishing and rearranging stuff.”

You can argue that a poor first draft by Lewis should never have been published at all (good luck with that!). But to complain that an early draft is substandard compared with his published work—that’s just starry-eyed.