Archive for the ‘Deaths’ Category

“A Serious Blow for
American Poetry”

Monday, February 16th, 2015

9780679765844Former Poet Laureate Philip Levine died at 87 on Saturday. In today’s NYT, critic Dwight Garner describes him as the author of “spare, ironic poems of the industrial heartland” and calls his loss, “a serious blow for American poetry.”

Levine won a Pulitzer Prize for his collection The Simple Truth (RH/Knopf, 1994) and two National Book Awards, for Ashes: Poems New & Old (Atheneum, 1979) and for What Work Is (RH/Knopf, 1991). His most recent collection was News of the World, (RH/Knopf, 2009).

The New Yorker, which published many of his poems, beginning in 1958, notes that Levine credits a high school teacher for opening his eyes to poetry,

When I was in the eleventh grade and the war was still going, a teacher read us some poems by Wilfred Owen. And after class, for some reason, she called me up to her desk and said, “Would you like to borrow this book?” How she knew that I was responding so powerfully to these poems, I’m not sure, but I was. She said, “Now, I want you to take it home, and read it with white gloves on.” In other words, don’t spill soup on it. It was probably the most significant poetic experience I had in my whole life, and I was only seventeen. Just to discover that there was a young man some years before whose feelings about war were so similar to my own, yet he had experienced it all, whereas I was only living in dread of having to go to war.

Author Colleen McCullough Dies

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

The author of the 1977  mega best seller, The Thorn Birds, and most recently, the novel Bittersweet, (S&S) has died Australia. She was 77.



Colleen McCullough wrote over 20 books since the Thorn Birds became a best seller, propelled to even greater success by a blockbuster TV series based on it. A generational saga set in Australia, the author drew on her own family background for the story.

The books that followed included a series of historical novels set in classical Rome and another of detective stories. As she told an interviewer in 2013, she felt uncomfortable returning to the genre that brought her the greatest success, but for last year’s Bittersweet, she said she had managed to construct an epic romance that could not be considered the “Son of Thorn Birds.”

In that interview, looking ahead, she said she had an idea for another of her detective novels featuring Carmine Delmonico (the most recent, Sins of the Flesh, was released here a few months after Bittersweet), but she didn’t want to start it because “it would be terribly frustrating to get halfway through a book and fall off the perch.”

Novelist Robert Stone Dies

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

9780679737629  9780060957773  0395860288

National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, Robert Stone died on Saturday at his home in Key West. He was 77.

The New York Times, in addition to an obituary, publishes an appreciation of his work by Michiko Kakutani, who says he was “one of the few writers to capture the apocalyptic madness of America in the 1960s and ‘70s.”

The books she finds particularly noteworthy are:

A Hall of Mirrors, (HMH, 1966)

Dog Soldiers, (HMH, 1974) — National Book Award winner

A Flag for Sunrise, (RH/Knopf, 1981) — finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize

Damascus Gate, (HMH, 1998)

Children of Light, (RH/Knopf, 1986)

Bay of Souls (HMH, 2003)

Prime Green, memoir, (HarperPerennial, 2007)

Death of the Black-Haired Girl, (HMH, 2013)

Norman Bridwell Dies

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

The creator of Clifford the Big Red Dog, Norman Bridwell, died on Friday. He was 86 years old.

Scholastic published the first  Clifford book in 1963. The series became so important to the company that Scholastic adopted the dog as its official mascot.

In a statement released yesterday, Dick Robinson,  CEO, of Scholastic, paid tribute to the author, saying, “Norman Bridwell’s books about Clifford, childhood’s most loveable dog, could only have been written by a gentle man with a great sense of humor.”

In 2012, Scholastic celebrated Clifford’s 50th anniversary and released a video interview with Bridwell:

A live-action, animated 3D movie, Clifford the Big Red Dog is scheduled for release on April 8th, 2016.

The next book in the series will be published in April.

9780545823357_474aeClifford Goes to Kindergarten
Norman Bridwell
Scholastic: April 28, 2015
Ages 3 to 5, Grades P to K
$3.99 USD

Nadine Gordimer Tributes

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Remembrances and appreciations are pouring in for Nadine Gordimer, whose books help expose the effects of South Africa’s Apartheid policies and won her a Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. She died on Sunday at 90.

Below is a selection:

NPR — Writer Nadine Gordimer Captured Apartheid’s Contradictions

New York Times — Nadine Gordimer, Novelist Who Took On Apartheid, Is Dead

The Guardian — Nadine Gordimer: five must-read books — American editions listed below:

9780140047165   9780140055931_be0f8   9780140061406

9780143119838   9781250024039

The Conservationist, Penguin Books

Burger’s Daughter, Penguin Books

July’s People, Penguin Books

Life Times: Stories, Penguin Books

No Time Like the Present, Macmillan/Picador

Walter Dean Myers Dies

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


A pioneer in children’s literature, Walter Dean Myers, died at 76 on Tuesday. He wrote over 100 books, winning nearly every award possible and was the 2012/13 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and influencing new generations of writers.

Richard Robinson, Chairman of Scholastic, publisher of Myers’ books, released a statement late yesterday:

“Walter Dean Myers changed the face of children’s literature by representing the diversity of the children of our nation in his award-winning books. He was a deeply authentic person and writer who urged other authors, editors and publishers not only to make sure every child could find him or herself in a book, but also to tell compelling and challenging stories that would inspire children to reach their full potential. My favorite quote from Walter is a clarion call to embrace the power of books to inform and transform our lives – he said, ‘Once I began to read, I began to exist.’ He will be missed by us all.”

He also notes,

I will never forget when Walter appeared at a convention to speak about his book, Malcolm X: By Any Means Necessary, which was published by Scholastic. As we waited for the booksellers to arrive, more than 100 hotel staff crowded into the dining room, drawn to this tall, dignified author they deeply admired.

EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek, responds to the news:

I’ve been trying to write something but…

I am a reader not a writer.

I have read Walter Dean Myers.

I have experienced the responses of children and young adult readers as they hear, read and ponder his words and stories.

I have been privileged to share meals, as well as short and long chats with Christopher [Myers’s son who illustrated many of his father’s books] and Pops  and hear them talk to audiences about their art and relationship.

You know I loved that man like a rabbit loves to run.

Goodbye, Mr. Walter Dean Myers. Goodbye.

Lisa recommends listening to Christopher and Walter Dean Myers’s StoryCorps reminiscence.

More information on Myers’ many books and accomplishments below:

Scholastic site

Children’s Book Council press release

Associated Press obituary

Washington Post obituary

Louis Zamperini Dies

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

The hero of Laura Hillenbrand’s long-running best seller, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, has died at 97 of pneumonia. A movie based on that book will be released in December.

Attempts to bring Zamperini’s remarkable life to the movies began over 55 years ago.  Finally, Angelina Jolie took on the project, basing it on the 2010 book. In the process, she and Zamperini became friends. They appeared together earlier this year on  NBC’s Today Show.

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Maya Angelou Dies At 86

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Caged_bird2Tributes are beginning to pour in for author Maya Angelou, who died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina yesterday.

As NPR’s Lynn Neary recounts, “Angelou once said she believed that ‘life loves the liver of it’ and she did live it, to the fullest.”

USA Today lists 13 more of her “best quotes,” including, “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”

Gabriel García Márquez Dies

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Many news sources are reporting that Gabriel García Márquez has died at 87, calling him everything from a “literary pioneer” to a “giant.”

Many obituaries will be publised, below are some of the first:

The New York Times

The Washington Post

The Guardian

Journalist/Author Joe McGinniss Dies

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

The Selling of the President   The Rogue

The man who, as the AP’s publishing reporter Hillel Italie puts it, was “the adventurous and news-making author and reporter” Joe McGinniss has died at 71.

He broke new ground with his book on Richard Nixon, The Selling of the President 1968, (Penguin), the first to look at the role of marketing in presidential campaigns. For his most recent book, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin(RH/Crown), he angered his subject by actually moving in to a house next door to hers.

Dr. Sherwin Nuland Dies

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

9780679742449It had to happen, of course. Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland, author of the ground-breaking 1994 National Book Award Winner and best seller, How We Die, (RH/Vintage), has died at 83.

The New York Times obituary describes the effect his book had on the medical establishment and the issues Nuland dealt with in his own life.

The news is bringing renewed interest in the book which is currently rising on Amazon’s sales rankings.

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967–2014)

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

The star of several films based on books, actor Philip Symour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment yesterday,

His received strong reviews for his portrayal of a German spy in A Most Wanted Man, based on the 2008 novel by John LeCarre, which was shown at the recent Sundance Film Festival.

His most amazing transformation was as the author Truman Capote, in the film Capote, for which he won an Oscar. One of our favorites was his supporting role as the conniving Freddie Miles in The Talented Mr. Ripley (based on the book by Patricia Highsmith). He recently shot scenes in Atlanta for the the two upcoming Mockingjay movies, in which he plays Plutarch Heavensbee (news sources say this will not cause a delay. Hoffman’s scenes for Part One are said to have been completed, but there is no information on how the studio will handle Part Two).

There’s no exact U.S. release date yet for A Most Wanted Man but it is expected later this year.

Ned Vizzini Dies

Friday, December 20th, 2013

1423141911   0786809965-2  9780062079909_0_Cover-2

The L.A. Times confirms the rumors that worried fans have followed on Twitter since late yesterday; YA author Ned Vizzini, has committed suicide. He was 32.


He is the author of It’s Kind of a Funny StoryBe More Chill, (both from Miramax) Teen Angst? Naah (Random House), and The Other Normals (HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray). This year, he published House of Secrets (HarperCollins/ Balzer + Bray) which he co-wrote with movie director Chris Columbus; a sequel, House of Secrets: Battle of the Beasts is scheduled for release on March 25.

In a tribute on New York magazine’s blog, Vulture, Vizzini’s friend Kyle Buchanan writes, “He was one of the most enthusiastic, vibrant people I knew.”

Novelist Janet Dailey Dies

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

The author of 155 popular romance novels (50 of them set in each one of the states) and a fixture on best seller lists, Janet Dailey, died suddenly over the weekend after complications from heart surgery. She was 69.

Her latest title, Merry Christmas, Cowboy, (Kensington), was published in September.

Newspaper coverage:

Official obituary: KY3 News


Friday, December 6th, 2013

Last night’s Royal performance in London of the film adaptation of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, (Hachette/Little, Brown; 1994), starring Idris Elba, was overshadowed by the news that Mandela had died. Moments before receiving the dreaded phone call, Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, interviewed on the red carpet, said that her father, although frail, was doing well. She and her sister Zenani asked that the showing continue.

The movie debuted in limited release in the U.S. on Nov. 29.

Tie ins:


Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Hachette/Back Bay
9780316323543, 0316323543
Trade Paperback; $18.00 US / $20.00 Can.
Hachette Audio$30.00 US / $33.00 Can.



Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom: The Book of the Film

Nelson Mandela, Keith Bernstein
Chronicle Books
9781452128412, 1452128413
Hardback; $35.00 US