Archive for the ‘Deaths’ Category

Ned Vizzini Dies

Friday, December 20th, 2013

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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

The Passing of Literary Greats

Monday, November 18th, 2013

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It’s a week of mourning for the book world. Among the greats who died are Doris Lessing, whose The Golden Notebook was embraced by the 70’s feminist movement (she told NPR that she found that notion “stupid”), Louis Rubin, who as founder of Algonquin Press (acquired in 1989 by Workman) nurtured a generation of southern writers and published several titles himself and Barbara Park, who fulfilled her seemingly modest goal of giving readers “nothing more than a smile or two” through her many books for children, including the Junie B. Jones series.

Below are links to some of  tributes:

Doris Lessing, 1919 to 1993

How Writer Doris Lessing Didn’t Want To Be Remembered, Vicki Barker, NPR

Doris Lessing dies aged 94, The Guardian

Doris Lessing reveled in her status as a contrarian, David Ulin, L.A. Times

Louis Rubin, 1923 to 1993

Louis Rubin, monumental voice in Southern literature, dies, Raleigh News Observer

Louis D. Rubin, Jr., man of letters, dies at 89, Hillel Italie, Associated Press

Barbara Park, 1947 to 1993

Junie B. Jones author Barbara Park dies at 66, USA Today

Tom Clancy Dies

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

9780399160479_f54beBest selling author Tom Clancy has died at 66, according to the New York Times. The cause of death is not reported [UPDATE: Clancy’s home town paper, The Baltimore Sun, reports that he died after “a brief illness at the Johns Hopkins Hospital”].

His next book, Command Authority, co-authored with Mark Greaney, (Penguin/Putnam), is scheduled for released on December 3.

A movie featuring Clancy’s character, Jack Ryan, titled Jack Ryan: Shadow One, is coming to theaters on December 25. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it stars Chris Pine as Ryan, Keira Knightly as Ryan’s wife and Kevin Costner. It is not based on a specific book in the series.

LIFE OF CRIME Premiere to Honor Elmore Leonard

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

9780062206138In The Rolling Stone Daniel Schechter describes the lengths he went to in his effort to get the rights to Elmore Leonard’s book, The Switch (HarperCollins/Morrow, part of a series of recent rereleases in trade paperback of Leonard’s classic backlist) and how hopeful he was that the author would like the resulting movie, titled Life of Crime.

He had reason to be nervous. With the exceptions of Jackie Brown, Get Shorty, and the FX series, Justified, Leonard wasn’t a fan of the majority of the many adaptations of his work. With the author’s death on Tuesday, first-time director Schecter will never know which category his film would have fallen into.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, the movie was renamed Life of Crime, presumably to separate it from a very different movie Aniston starred in earlier, The Switch, based on a Jeffrey Eugenides’ short story The Baster.

Life of Crime, which also stars John Hawkes, Isla Fisher and Tim Robbins, will premiere next month at the Toronto International Film Festival’s closing gala, which, notes The Rolling Stone is “an unprecedented honor for a relatively new filmmaker” and will be dedicated to Leonard’s memory.


Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

We just learned the sad news that Elmore Leonard, who was hospitalized three weeks ago with a stroke, died at 87 at his home this mornining. The news was announced on his Web site.

The most recent of his 45 novels was Raylan, published last fall (Harper/Morrow; Blackstone Audio) the third crime novel featuring U.S. marshal Raylan Givens. The character was the basis for FX series,  Justified. According to the NYT obituary, he approved of the series, which was unusual for him, since he “candidly and comically disdainful of the treatment his books generally received from Hollywood,” and even wrote this book with the series in mind.

Barbara Robinson Dies

Monday, July 15th, 2013

EarlyWord Kids Correspondent, Lisa Von Drasek, writes in response to the news of the death last week of children’s book author Barbara Robinson:

The Best Christmas Pagent EverBarbara Robinson died. Here’s the thing — if I share what she meant to me, its definitely too much information. But if I don’t then how will you know so… here it goes. We were the Herdmans (featured in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, HarperCollins, 1972 and other titles). The kids who were running wild, the kids who were not “maybe going to get in trouble,” we were trouble. So when I say to another children’s book person, we were the Herdmans, I don’t have to get into the “we were raised by wolves” thing. They get it and I don’t have to say another word. Barbara Robinson did that for me. Thank you just doesn’t say enough but thank you.

The story was covered by several sources, including School Library Journal and The New York Times.

Vince Flynn Dies

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

The last manAuthor of the Mitch Rapp counterterrorism thrillers, Vince Flynn, died yesterday of prostate cancer. He was 47.

Flynn’s best selling books were particularly popular with conservatives (George Bush was a fan and Rush Limbaugh a close friend). In an interview with USA Today in 2012, Flynn said that was probably because of the ” the pro-military, CIA and law enforcement theme of the books … And the idea that the United States is not the problem.””

Flynn’s next novel, The Survivor was originally scheduled to be released in October. USA Today reports that the  publisher, S&S/Atria, does not yet have information on how much of the book was completed.

His most recent book, The Last Man, was published last November.

Remembering E.L. Konigsburg

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Last night during dinner with one of my oldest friends, I asked if she’d heard that E.L. Konigsburg had died, she said, “Oh no! You don’t know what she meant to me.”

Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth...And I didn’t. I only know what she meant to me. My friend, who isn’t a librarian and hasn’t been to the kids’ section of the library since her son was little, vividly recalled reading Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth (S&S/Atheneum) in elementary school. She and her friends were so entranced by the book that they became witches, making up spells and wreaking havoc.

From the Mixed UpI was only half listening as I recalled my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in my early twenties. I walked from the grand stairs to the entrance. As I sat, enchanted by the fountains, I realized I was following the footsteps of the famous run-away Claudia in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (S&S/Atheneum).

One of the delights of being a school librarian is rereading Konigburg’s titles. A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (S&S/Atheneum) was required reading in our 5th grade for a very long time.

I have a brother who is sight impaired. When it became obvious that he wouldn’t be able to read again using his eyes, I started shipping him audio books I had reviewed. At a family gathering he took me aside and said he never was much of a reader and wasn’t interested in these kids books, so please  stop sending them. “Sure,” I said. “Sorry.”

Then I reviewed the audio of The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place (RH Audio)It was fabulous. Five stars! Not thinking, I popped it in a jiffy pack off to the brother.

About a week later, a phone call. “Hey, Lisa, you know that audio book you sent me?”

I sputtered, “Oh, I am sorry, I wasn’t thinking … I just loved it so much …  I won’t send anymore.”

“No, no,” he interrupted, ” it was great! Send me more just like that.”

And I would, I thought at the time, except, there are no more just like that. And now there won’t ever be.

Peter Workman Dies

Monday, April 8th, 2013

peter-workman-2-100._V221476672_We are saddened to hear the news that Peter Workman died yesterday. He was the founder and CEO of Workman Publishing, a successful company built on unique, often quirky titles. In addition, he was a vital part of several charities, including the Goddard-Riverside Community Center, an organization that works for social and economic change for the poor in West Harlem and the Upper West side, Prep for Prep, which works with New York City’s students of color to give them better educational opportunities and the UJA.

Peter was known for being very hands-on and as a result, a Workman title is always recognizable. The companies that Workman acquired over the years are also unique and have retained their own identities; Algonquin, Black Dog & Leventhal, Highbridge Audio, Storey Publishing and Timber Press.

In the midst of corporate consolidation in publishing, Workman has remained steadfastly independent. The company will continue to be run by Peter’s wife and business partner, Carolan Workman, their daughter Katie Workman and a small management team of people from within the company.

Roger Ebert Dies

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Life ItselfFilm critic and author of several books, Roger Ebert, died yesterday at 70. The Chicago Tribune, where he worked for over 45 years, declares “in words and in life he displayed the soul of a poet whose passions and interests extended far beyond the darkened theaters where he spent so much of his professional life.”

He showed the range of his passion for the movies in over a dozen books from A Horrible Experience of Unbearable Length: More Movies That Suck (Andrews McMeel) to appreciations of The Great Movies, Volume One and Volume Two (RH/Broadway).

He also wrote a book about one of his favorite cities, The Perfect London Walk (Andrews McMeel, 1986)  and even a cookbook, The Pot and How to Use ItThe Mystery and Romance of the Rice Cooker, (Andrews McMeel, 2010).

In 2011, after treatments for thyroid cancer robbed him of his ability to speak, he published a memoir, Life Itself, (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio). In the New York Timesfellow critic Janet Maslin, called it, “candid, funny and kaleidoscopic … the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written.”

UPDATE: The producers of a film based on Life Itself have announced that they will finish it. Martin Scorsese is one of the executive producers. Ebert was participating in the documentary. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Chinua Achebe Dies

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Things Fall ApartThe author of Things Fall Apart has died. The story is reported by many news sources, including:
The New York TimesChinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82

The GuardianChinua Achebe  dies, aged 82

The Associated Press — Author Chinua Achebe dies at 82

Author of AMERICAN SNIPER Killed

Monday, February 4th, 2013

9780062082350Chris Kyle, whose autobiography, American Sniper  (HarperCollins/Morrow) was a #1 NYT best seller last year, was killed at a Texas gun range over the weekend, according to news reports. Kyle, who was 38 years old, claimed that as a sniper for the military, he had killed over 150 people.

Kyle founded an organization to help veterans with PTSD; his suspected killer is a former Marine. He had also recently come out against President Obama’s gun control initiatives.

The mass market pbk of his book just released and is currently #1 on Amazon’s sales rankings. Many other titles on the SEALS are also rising, including No Easy Day by Mark Owen (Penguin/Durron), Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell (Hachette/Little,Brown) and Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
by Eric Blehm (RH/Waterbrook).

Diane Wolkstein, Legendary Storyteller

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

We are shocked and saddened to report the passing of legendary storyteller and author of 23 books of folklore, Diane Wolkstein, last Thursday, Jan. 31.  To children’s book people, storytellers and librarians she brought weight and honor to the art, lightness and joy to the telling. She will be missed. For over 40 years, she introduced children to the joys of folklore by telling Stories at the Statue of Hans Christian Anderson.

In a message, her daughter, Rachel Zucker stated:

It is with profound sadness that I tell you that my mother, Diane Wolkstein, passed away very early this morning in Taiwan. She had had emergency heart surgery but the procedure was not sufficient to allow her heart to work on its own. She was not conscious and she was not alone. She had several of her close friends from Taiwan there with her and at the very end she had a rabbi say kaddish and Buddhist prayers were said as well. Her death is a terrible shock. Her life overflowed with joy, intensity, friendship, love and spirit. Her love for each of us and the stories she told live inside of us forever.

A public memorial service will be held this Sunday, February 3rd, at 3PM at the New York Insight Meditation Center, located at 28 West 27th Street, 10th floor (b/w 5th and 6th Avenue). A second memorial, celebrating Diane’s life, is planned for the summer/fall.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people consider making a donation in Diane’s name to Partners in Health, or Tzu Chi Foundation. Videos of Wolkstein are on Vimeo.