UK Conference Explores Present and Future of Biography
Despite the occasional blockbuster, such as Walter Isaacson’s book on Steve Jobs, sales of biographies have been falling.
Amidst slumping sales for biography, practitioners of the craft met at the University of East Anglia last month to explore where biography is headed and to share their practical experience as some writers try to redefine—or at least reinvigorate—the genre.
The occasion was a conference entitled “Turning Points: The Event, the Collective, and the Return of the Life in Parts.” Speakers and panelists included Richard Holmes, biographer of the writers Shelley and Coleridge; Claire Tomalin, whose books include a study of the life of Charles Dickens; and Hans Renner, BIO board member, along with fellow BIO member Rebecca Knuth.
The Guardian, in a preview of the conference, noted the decline in sales affecting biographers, citing figures from Nielsen Book Scan. In 2012, 2.7 million biographies were sold, down more than 4 million books since 2006. That plunge was much sharper than the overall decline in book sales during that period. The Guardian quoted the concerns of Kathryn Hughes, professor at UEA and author of a biography on George Eliot. “The worry is that, if you can get all that information from Wikipedia, what’s left for biography?”
The organizers of the UEA event framed the issue in terms of moving away from “cradle to grave” works to focus on the subjects of the conference subtitle: the event, the collective, and the life in parts. Hughes, writing in The Guardian after the event, gave some examples of the new approaches to biography. Borrowing from micro-history, focusing on the event as a defining moment in a person’s life can then illuminate larger cultural and political concerns of an era, as well as the subject’s life. As an example, Hughes cited conference speaker Frances Wilson’s How to Survive the Titanic, which uses the moment whenTitanic owner Bruce J. Ismay decided to save himself as the ship sank. From there, Hughes, said, “Wilson tells a story not just about one man’s lost honour, but about a layered drama of class, nationality, and technological modernity.”
For the collective, Hughes highlighted an upcoming book by Miranda Seymour. In Noble Endeavours: Stories from England and Germany, Seymour collects dozens of micro biographies to look at the larger issue of Anglo-German relations. And for the life in parts, Hughes pointed to the works of several conference speakers, including Now All Roads Lead to France, Matthew Hollis’s look at the decision of Anglo-Welsh writer Edward Thomas to become a serious poet.
The conference and Hughes’s account of it raise issues that BIO members have probably already grappled with once they find an intriguing subject: Go the cradle-to-grave route? Choose an alternative approach that is a novel treatment of the subject and perhaps more interesting to readers? Not call a work a biography at all, even though it deals with real lives? People might not read as many biographies labeled as such, but they still want gripping stories about other people’s lives. Shaping those lives through an event, the collective, or the life in parts gives biographers several options for structuring their work.
Revamped Members-Only Area Opens; BIO Members Invited to Help Build It
After several false stops and many months, the reworking of the BIO website is complete. The makeover is more than cosmetic.
First, we have installed a server-based membership program that streamlines all aspects of joining BIO or renewing your membership. It also permits members to check on the status of their membership and facilitates contact between members. For that reason, active members are urged to log in and confirm their contact information, update their passwords, and provide information on their past and current projects. This will permit us to regularly publish a useful membership directory. Remember, you can opt out of sharing your contact information.
Second, we have re-launched our members-only area. If you visit it, you will find useful resources ranging from our directory to sample book proposals, from a guide to prizes to a guide of venues that welcome biographers. The resources, however, are only as good as we collectively make them. Specifically, we need your help to build up several sections. We have created a “contribute page” so that you can send us information on any of the following topics:
- places where you’ve spoken that welcome biographers
- prizes for which biographers are eligible
- writers’ colonies that welcome applications from biographers
- grants for which biographers are eligible
- names of researchers, editors, indexers and publicists you have used to list on Boswell’s List (our version of Angie’s List).
So as you can see, this is only the beginning of a new and exciting benefit of membership to BIO.
Parker Takes on Bio Critics
Parker has been called a dean of Melville scholars.
Informed that Carl Rollyson was going to be reviewing the work of fellow BIO member Hershel Parker for the New Criterion, we asked Carl to contribute something on the new book for TBC. In keeping with our policy, we include the review only because the subject book deals with the craft of biography.
“Nowadays people who know the least about research are apt to set the highest standards for people who are doing the work of retrieving archival information.” This is a fact of life that enrages Hershel Parker in Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative, his all-out attack on reviewers, academe, and even fellow biographers who fail to do their homework. Parker believes that the negative reception of his two-volume biography of Melville reflected the pernicious long-lasting influence of New Criticism and its successors that has made most literary critics incapable of evaluating the research that informs modern biography.
Parker goes after big guns like James Woods and Andrew Delbanco by way of demonstrating their inhumane judgments, which are the product of treating literature in a hermetic fashion, and pretending that it is only the work itself that counts and that there is relatively little value in understanding the genesis and development of literary works and the authors who create them. And yet, Parker points out, much of the authoritative knowledge these reviewers repackage in their collections of criticism derives from the very biographies they disparage.
Woods, Delbanco, & Co. revere “texts,” Parker observes, even though those “texts” often do not make sense because they have become corrupted—sometimes radically changed by the time they reach print. Working for decades as a scholarly biographer, Parker has been able to restore the author’s intentions and to follow “the play of his mind” in a process so unfamiliar to critics that they think Parker is making up his narrative. Indeed, the attacks on his work, Parker argues, have done significant damage not only to his reputation but to the cause of biography.
Some readers may believe Parker overstates the damage that has been done to himself and to biography, but he presents a powerful case with plenty of supporting evidence. The academic mind—at least the one to be found in most English departments—seems a lost cause in Parker’s book, which is all the more persuasive because it is an “inside narrative,” composed by a man whose professional life has been spent in higher education institutions.
But wait! There is hope, and it is only a click away. Parker believes the literary bloggers and amateur researchers who have made significant discoveries of Melville documents are to be celebrated and encouraged. Parker, who has kept apace with technological developments, does not spare a moment of lament for shrinking book review pages in mainstream publications. Biography, in his view, has a bright future on the Web.
most recent book is American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath
Five Questions with Jamal Watson
Watson is a contributing editor to Diverse: Issues in Education.
What is your current project and what stage is it at?
I just completed a biography of the Reverend Al Sharpton, the controversial civil rights leader and host of MSNBC’s Politics Nation. The book is scheduled to be released early next year by Agate Publishing. The biography examines Reverend Sharpton’s remarkable personal and political evolution from racial pariah to the nation’s most prominent black powerbroker.
Which person would you most like to write about?
I would welcome the opportunity to write a biography of Bill Cosby. We both hail from the same city (Philadelphia), but more importantly, Cosby’s enormous contribution to reshaping the public image of African
Americans on television through the Cosby Show was historic. His various identities as a comedian, actor, educator, philanthropist, make him a compelling subject. I have interviewed and written about him quite extensively in the past, and believe that a biography on his life and work is long overdue.
What’s your favorite biography/who is your favorite biographer?
Supreme Discomfort, a biography of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas by Kevin Merida and Michael A. Fletcher was well executed. It is my favorite biography. The two probing journalists examined Thomas’s background and his life through the prism of race. The book was hard to put down. I am a big fan of Kitty Kelley’s work, and Taylor Branch’s biographical work on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also stands out.
What was your most frustrating moment as a biographer? Most satisfying?
Al Sharpton, of course, is a moving target who continues to make news each day. The most frustrating moment in my writing and reporting the book, was my desire to include everything.
The temptation to chronicle every incident and episode in Sharpton’s life was always looming in the background, and I had to become more disciplined in my approach. The most satisfying moment in my reporting was when I secured interviews with family members and associates who had previously declined to comment on or talk about their relationship with Sharpton.
One research/marketing/attitudinal tip to share?
As I begin the process of marketing this book, I’ve found that churches/religious organizations have been very open and receptive to hosting book talks and signing.
You can find out more about Jamal and his work at his website
Levy Center Offers Fifth Conference
The Leon Levy Biography Center is sponsoring its fifth conference for biographers. This year’s event is called Writing Writers’ Lives and will be held March 18 at Elebash Recital Hall at the Graduate Center of City University of New York. The panels for the conference will cover a wide range of topics, including writing about the American Renaissance, Jewish lives, and American modernists. A highlight will be Levy Center executive director and BIO member Gary Giddins in conversation with Hermione Lee, author of several literary biographies and a book on the craft of biography writing. The conference is free, but those wishing to attend should RSVP here
Biographers Examine the “Limits of Objectivity”
Annual Key West Literary Seminar featured a panel discussion on “Biographies and the Limits of Objectivity.” The panel, moderated by James Atlas, featured Jay Parini, Brenda Wineapple, Edmund White, and Phyllis Rose. A video of the discussion can be found here
. The seminar also included Paul Hendrickson reading from and talking about his biography, Hemingway’s Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost
. A video of that speech can be found here
. And Robert Richardson spoke on “In Search of Lost Time: Biography and Fiction,” which focused more on the latter, though some biographers might still find it interesting. That talk can be found here
. You can also find more on the conference in this month’s Amanuensis.
Great Lives Come to Video
If you’re nowhere near Fredericksburg, Virginia, and want to hear fellow biographers taking part in the Chappell Great Lives Lecture Series, don’t despair. BIO Vice President Brian Jay Jones, our liaison with the lectures’ host institution, the University of Mary Washington, has been helpfully posting links to video recordings of the talks. You can find them here
Caro adds to his collection of honors forThe Passage of Power.
National Book Critics Circle
Robert Caro took home a third National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography last month, winning for the fourth volume of his work on Lyndon Johnson, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power. The Critics Circle called Caro’s book “a magisterial volume…offering fresh perspective on crucial years for Lyndon Baines Johnson and for the nation.” Caro previously won the award for the first two volumes in his Johnson series, The Path to Power and Means of Ascent.
American History Book Prize
And the honors and accolades continue for Robert Caro, as The Passage of Power has also won the New-York Historical Society’s American History Book Prize. Each year the society honors a book “that is distinguished by its scholarship, its literary style and its appeal to a general as well as an academic audience.” Caro will officially receive the prize and the title American Historian Laureate at an award ceremony to be held in April. The honor also includes a $50,000 prize and an engraved medal. Past winners include several prominent biographers, such as 2013 BIO Award winner Ron Chernow.
LA Times Book Prize
The Los Angeles Times has announced the finalists for its annual Book Prize in the Biography category:
- H.W. Brands, The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace
- Robert Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson
- Alice Kessler-Harris, A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman
- David Nasaw, The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy
- R.J. Smith, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown.
Several books chosen for the History category also had biographical elements:
- John Barry, Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty
- Fergus M. Bordewich, America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union
- Amy S. Greenberg, A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico.
Winners will be announced on April 19 during a public ceremony at the Bovard Auditorium on the campus of USC.
BCALA Literary Awards
Benjamin Elijah Mays: Schoolmaster of the Movement by Randal Maurice Jelks has won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Literary Award for nonfiction. Jelks examines the life of the educator Martin Luther King, Jr., called his spiritual and intellectual father. Also recognized as an Honor Book in nonfiction was Dorothy West’s Paradise: A Biography of Class and Color by Cherene Sherrard. The BCALA Awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African-American authors.
Saskatchewan Book Awards
Several biographies were chosen as finalists for the 20th annual Saskatchewan Book Awards. Blair Stonechild was named as finalist for the Aboriginal Peoples’ Writing Award with Buffy Sainte-Marie: It’s My Way. For the Non-Fiction Award, the featured biographies are:
- Lynn Gidluck, Visionaries, Crusaders, and Firebrands: The Idealistic Canadians Who Built the NDP
- Alexandra Popoff, The Wives: The Women Behind Russia’s Literary Giants
- Garrett Wilson, In the Temple of the Rain God: The Life and Times of “Irish” Charlie Wilson.
Winners will be announced on April 27 in Regina.
Political Book Awards
A look at the life of pioneering investigative journalist W.T. Stead was announced as the political biography of the year at the first Political Book Awards ceremony, held February 6 in London. Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W.T. Stead is biographer W. Sydney Robinson’s first book. The awards are sponsored by UK bookmaker Paddy Power, which notes “we were one of the first bookmakers to offer betting based on the political landscape and have enjoyed speculating on both the domestic and international scene ever since,” and the UK magazine Total Politics.
Duff Cooper Prize
Sue Prideaux’s Strindberg: A Life was awarded the 2012 Pol Roger Duff Cooper Prize. The prize honors the best non-fiction writing in history, biography, politics, or poetry. Prideaux received £5,000 ($7,600) along with the honor. First awarded in 1956, the prize is named for the British author and statesman, with champagne maker Pol Roger coming on as a corporate sponsor in 2005.
News and Notes
Deirdre David had access to previously private papers while researching Olivia Manning: A Woman at War.
apologizes for omitting Deirdre David
‘s biography of Olivia Manning from the listing of spring books and last month’s In Stores column. David’s work is the first scholarly study of the novelist’s life. Scott Donaldson
informed us of two positive reviews in scholarly journals for his Death of a Rebel: The Charlie Fenton Story. Hershel Parker
, whose Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative
is reviewed in this issue, won praise from the New Yorker
for the book; the magazine included it as one of its January “Books to Watch Out For” and said, “Parker writes with a rare combination of humor and passion that hooks the reader into this potentially arcane subject.” Carl Rollyson
, author of our piece on Parker, continues to rack up favorable notices for his biography of Sylvia Plath, and he contributed to the blogThe Page 99 Test
with a selection from an earlier bio, his Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews
. Carl was also featured on Oline Eaton
’s New Books in Biography podcast, which you can find here
. Another member recently heard on the podcast was Lois Rudnick
, who talked about her 2012 work, The Suppressed Memoirs of Mabel Dodge Luhan: Sex, Syphilis, and Psychoanalysis in the Making of Modern American Culture
. That interview can be heard here
. Megan Marshall
has a new book, featured in this month’s In Stores column, and she will also be a panelist at the Leon Levy Biography Center conference later this month. Joining her at the March 18 event will be Carol Sklenicka
, who will moderate the session on American modernists. The ever-busy Pat McNees
got a nice shout-out from the folks at the National Association of Science Writers. A handout given at their conference praised Pat’sWriters and Editors
website for its “huge list of links on every conceivable book publishing-related topic…also links to lots of how-tos about various publishing platforms, digital rights management, and other practical topics. If you’re serious about this stuff, a must.”
The Writer’s Life
New Online Source Connects Readers to Writers
Readers and writers alike can find information on new books and favorite authors at Bookish.com, a website created by three major publishing houses, but which will feature new titles from more than a dozen more. Its mission is to “engage more readers with more books, more authors and with one another.” The site’s home page introduces new releases and best sellers, as well offering a historical tidbit about a literary figure. Bookish has a category devoted to biography and memoir, though it seems to skew more toward the latter. Authors can send information about their book(s)
to see if the site is interested in covering the material.
I have rewritten—often several times—every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.
American Writers Museum Comes Closer to Reality
With help from a second grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States will soon have its first national museum devoted to writers. The American Writers Museum was the brainchild of Irish immigrant Malcolm O’Hagan, who first proposed the idea in 2010. After considering several cities, he settled on Chicago as the site of the museum, both for its ease in attracting visitors and the city’s rich literary tradition. The museum is slated to open in 2015, and while oriented toward literature, there will be exhibits on poetry and drama. The museum’s planners are still open for ideas for other exhibits, so perhaps a flood of emails from BIO members will give biography the place it deserves in the new museum. Send them here
American Writers Museum
If you wait until conditions are perfect—the kids are asleep, making straight As, the house is clean, and global warming has been reversed—you’ll never write. A great writer can write under any conditions—not only ideal conditions.
Tips for Promoting Your Work
The always-helpful Galley Cat recently ran a piece offering tips to writers seeking to promote their ebooks. Tip One was to go to websites that let self-published authors hawk their books. Some of them are Bargain eBook Hunter, The Cheap , and Digital Book Today. You can access the full list of sites and the other tips here
Writers can also promote themselves on Galley Cat using its New Books Page on Facebook. Titles submitted there may also be chosen to be featured on its “Coming Attractions” page. BIO member Vladimir Alexandrov took advantage of the free service, and his new biographyThe Black Russian was chosen as a Coming Attraction.
What is more important in a library than anything else—than everything else—is the fact that it exists.
Amanuensis: A person whose employment is to write what another dictates, or to copy what another has written. Source:Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913).
Biographies, it turns out, are much like daily life.
We must pick and choose which facts to consider, which facts to ignore, and most importantly how much weight we assign to each. The hardest thing to consider is exactly how much trust do we place in the people with whom we interact. The smallest change this or that way can lead to a dramatically different interpretation of events, and ultimately a different reality that we perceive. [More
“Is The Biography A Work Of Fact Or Fiction? Musings From The Key West Literary Seminar”
Like just about everybody of my generation, I read those Landmark biographies published by Random House—about Benjamin Franklin and Mozart and Louisa May Alcott. But as I said earlier, in college [during the wave of New Criticism], reading biographies was sort of forbidden, so I didn’t. I really discovered biography after college….Now, I think biography offers fantastic ways to learn about history, but that’s so obvious it doesn’t really bear saying. [More
Cara Cannella, “Q&A with Jean Strouse, Biographer and Director of NYPL’s Cullman Center”
Conference Preparations Continue; Some Events Selling Out
The finishing touches on the 2013 Compleat Biographer Conference are done and a record number of biographers have already registered. “The excitement over bringing the conference to New York is generating a lot of early registration,” said James McGrath Morris, President of BIO.
The Friday research tours are so popular that one has sold out and the other has only a few spaces left. The Program Committee has just added a third literary tour.
Two Sunday master classes are now open for registration as well as the conference eve reception, which will be held at the New York Society Library. Space in both the classes and the reception are limited.
For details on the conference events, panels, workshops, and tours visit the conference website.
From the Editor
The major library that I use for most of my research—walking through the stacks and checking out books to take home; an increasingly quaint notion, I know—is about 60 miles away, so the drive down and back gives me plenty of time to think. On a recent trip, I was thinking about libraries. The regular stream of emails I get with possible story ideas forTBC includes a few from the UK, and while I haven’t thought of how to work this into an article, I’ve been intrigued—and dismayed—by the ongoing struggle to keep public libraries afloat in that cash-strapped nation.
The figures I’ve seen are not pretty: 200 libraries closed during 2012, perhaps 300 more will do so this year. And of course the cutbacks aren’t limited to the UK or small community libraries there and elsewhere; last issue we reported on the threatened changes at the Library of Congress, and BIO’s public statement opposing it.
The issue is not just about money. In this digital age, some people seem to question the need for libraries at all. Or at least Terry Deary does, as reported by The Bookseller. The author of the Horrible Histories series spoke out at a public meeting held to consider the shuttering of more UK libraries. “Libraries have had their day,” Deary said. “They are a Victorian idea and we are in an electronic age. They either have to change and adapt or they have to go.”
Not surprisingly, Deary’s remarks were fightin’ words to some bibliophiles, andFlavorwire
collected older comments about the importance of libraries from an assortment of writers. One I particularly liked came from Anne Herbert, and it seemed particularly appropriate since the current library crisis is often tied to finances: “Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries.” And a recent Pew Research Center survey
showed that most Americans still value libraries; as the Los Angeles Times
reported, 91 percent agreed that “public libraries are important to their communities.”
I know that BIO members probably value libraries—all libraries, from private archives to the great research libraries to their own collections stuffing shelves in room after room—more than most people. We treasure the information they provide for our endeavors, and we feel a little bit proud when we see one of our books sitting on a library’s shelf (well, at least I do, still). I’d be curious to know what light our UK members can shed on the ongoing library closings there, and any general observations others have on the place libraries hold for them.
On another note: a reminder that the April issue will appear later in the month, to accommodate our coverage of the announcement of this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for Biography.
Sold to Publishers
Listed here are book proposals that have recently sold to publishing houses. The information is obtained fromPublishers Marketplace
and other sources.
Daniel de Vise
Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show
sold to Simon & Schuster
by Peter Steinberg at The Steinberg Agency
Dan Brown: The Unauthorized Biography
sold to Thomas Dunne Books
by Scott Mendel at the Mendel Media Group
Patriot Priest of Picardy: The Biography of William A. Hemmick
sold to Strategic Media Books
by Barbara Casey at Barbara Casey Literary Agency
Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
Killing Jesus: A History
sold to Holt
by Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor
The Unknown Tolstoy
sold to Pegasus
by Don Fehr at Trident Media Group
The Court-Martial of Paul Revere
sold to the University Press of New England
by John Rudolph at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management
Philippa Langley and Michael Jones
The King’s Grave: The Search for Richard III
sold to St. Martin’s
by Charlie Viney at The Viney Agency
sold to Bloomsbury Press
by Katherine Fausset at Curtis Brown
Einstein’s Dice and Schroedinger’s Cat
sold to Basic
by Giles Anderson
The Wise King
(Alfonso the Wise)
sold to Basic
by Deirdre Mullane at Mullane Literary Associates
The Brother: The Untold Story of Atomic Spy David Greenglass and How He Sent His Sister, Ethel Rosenberg, to the Electric Chair
sold to Simon & Schuster
by Andrew Blauner at Blauner Books Literary Agency
Untitled book on the women of the US Senate
sold to Grand Central
by Wayne Kabak at WSK Management
At the Point of a Cutlass: The Pirate Capture, Bold Escape, and Lonely Exile of Philip Ashton
sold to the University Press of New England
by Roger Williams at New England Publishing Associates
Such Good Girls: The True Story of Three Children Who Hid From the Holocaust and the Lives They Made
sold to Harper
by Victoria Skurnick at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency
The Waste Land: The Biography of a Poem
sold to Norton
by Lisa Baker at Faber and Faber
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life
by Megan Marshall
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Olivia Manning: A Woman at War
by Deirdre David
(Oxford University Press)
The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power
by Kim Ghattas
The Black Russian
by Vladimir Alexandrov
Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America’s Most Underrated President
by Charles C. Johnson
The Secret History of Vladimir Nabokov
by Andrea Pitzer
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson
by Blake Bailey
American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke, The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement
by Hilary Holladay
The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych
by Doug Wilson
(Thomas Dunne Books)
Here I Am: The Story of Tim Hetherington, War Photographer
by Alan Huffman
Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill
by Michael Shelden
(Simon & Schuster)
The Pope’s Last Crusade: How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI’s Campaign to Stop Hitler
by Peter Eisner
The Feud: The All-American, No-Holds-Barred, Blood-and-Guts Story of the Hatfields and McCoys
by Dean King
Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp
by Ann Kirschner
Vera Gran: The Accused
Born on a Mountaintop: On the Road with Davy Crockett and the Ghosts of the Wild Frontier
Lina and Serge: The Love and Wars of Lina Prokofiev
by Simon Morrison
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Hopper: A Journey into the American Dream
by Tom Folsom
C. S. Lewis – A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet
by Alister McGrath
(Tyndale House Publishers)
Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life
by Jonathan Sperber
The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty
by Tim Adler
Tennessee Williams: A Literary Life
by John Bak
Building Home: Howard F. Ahmanson and The Politics of the American Dream
by Eric John Abrahamson
(University of California Press)
Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World
by Matthew Goodman
The Ghost Runner: The Epic Journey of the Man They Couldn’t Stop
by Bill Jones
George Eliot in Society: Travels Abroad and Sundays at the Priory
by Kathleen McCormack
(Ohio State University Press)
A Soldier’s Soldier: A Biography of Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Daly
by Jeffrey Grey
(Cambridge University Press)
One Woman in a Hundred: Edna Phillips and the Philadelphia Orchestra
by Mary Sue Welsh
(University of Illinois)
Blood Sisters: The Women Behind the Wars of the Roses
by Sarah Gristwood
In Two Minds: Jonathan Miller, a Biography
by Kate Bassett
Wives and Stunners: The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Muses
by Henrietta Garnett
Katharine Hepburn: An Independent Woman
by Ronald Bergan
by Lacey Baldwin Smith
General Mark Clark: Commander of the U.S. Fifth Army and Liberator of Rome
Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes
Moderniser of Russia: Andrei Vinius, 1641-1716
America’s First Black Socialist: The Radical Life of Peter H. Clark
Nikki M. Taylor
University Press of Kentucky
Ingo F. Walther
Erwin Schrodinger and the Quantum Revolution
Herod the Great: Statesman, Visionary, Tyrant
Rowman & Littlefield
Roger Ailes: Off Camera
Tocqueville: The Aristocratic Sources of Liberty
(Princeton University Press)
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
Conan Doyle & the Crimes Club
Gunfighter in Gotham: Bat Masterson’s New York City Years
Robert K. DeArment
(University of Oklahoma Press)
Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West
by Blaine Harden
Walk Tall: The Music & Life of Julian “Cannonball” Adderley
by Cary Ginell
(Hal Leonard Books)
Bad Boy from Rosebud: The Murderous Life of Kenneth Allen McDuff
Gary M. Lavergne
(University of North Texas Press)
Brigitte Bardot: A Biography
Oglethorpe and Colonial Georgia: A History, 1733-1783
David Lee Russell
James Madison and the Making of America
by Kevin R. C. Gutzman
(St. Martin’s Griffin)
General Joseph Warren Revere: The Gothic Saga of Paul Revere’s Grandson
by William R. Chemerka
Hi-De-Ho: The Life of Cab Calloway
by Alyn Shipton
(Oxford University Press)
Playing with Purpose: Mariano Rivera: The Closer Who Got Saved
by Jesse Florea with Mike Yorkey
The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy
by David Halberstam
(Open Road Integrated Media – Kindle)
Dear BIO members,
You can help make BIO more visible and let the world know you are a member by adding our logo and a link to our website on your website. Four different logos are available for downloading here
Last month TBC broke the story that the Library of Congress may be closing the Newspaper Reading Room, as well as other readings rooms. The fate of these rooms still hangs in the balance. The Board of BIO passed a resolution expressing its concern about this potential loss of a research facility. It says, in part, “Biographers International Organization considers the Newspaper Reading Room an invaluable asset to readers, writers, and researchers and strongly encourages the Library of Congress not to close its Newspaper Room or limit accessibility to its materials.” If you believe the Library should not make these closings, let your voice be heard. Write to Blane K. Dessey, Executive Director, Federal Library and Information Network.
If you have not checked out the new membership-only area, you are missing out on a lot. But so are we. This special area of our website belongs to you and will only be as good as we together make it. So, please visit the area, update your membership information, and help build the area by contributing to the pages. Did you get a fellowship that others might apply for? Then let us know about it. Wrote a winning book proposal? Then send it to us. Know of a good place for biographers to speak? Pass it on.
James McGrath Morris
The Biographer’s Craft
James McGrath Morris
Ashok R. Chandran
Sandra Kimberley Hall
Laura L. Hoopes