Here is the link to my latest article for Publishers Weekly:

logo PWhttp://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/religion/article/61395-to-forgive-is-divine-fresh-looks-at-a-perennial-topic.html



Proud to be a member of this group:

Tonight, at the New School in New York, the National Book Critics Circle announced the recipients of its book awards for publishing year 2013. The winners include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s audacious novel “Americanah” (Alfred A. Knopf), a love story, immigrant’s tale and acute snapshot of our times; and Sheri Fink’s “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” (Crown), an extraordinary reconstruction of the chaotic days following Hurricane Katrina.

Frank Bidart was awarded the poetry prize for “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), which continues his life-long exploration of the big questions. The criticism award was presented to Franco Moretti for “Distant Reading” (Verso), which proposes boldly unorthodox methods for studying literature.

Amy Wilentz’s “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti” (Simon & Schuster) was given the prize in autobiography; it is a gritty, surprising memoir based on years of reporting from Haiti. The biography prize went to Leo Damrosch for “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World” (Yale University Press), a spellbinding life of a complicated, contradictory subject.

Anthony Marra’s novel “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena” (Hogarth) was the debut recipient of the John Leonard Prize, established in 2013 to recognize an outstanding first book in any genre. Named to honor the memory of founding NBCC member John Leonard, the prize is uniquely decided by a direct vote of the organization’s nearly 600 members nationwide, whereas the traditional awards are nominated and chosen by the elected 24-member board of directors. The Leonard Prize carries with it a $500 cash prize, generously donated by longtime NBCC member Linda Wolfe.

The recipient of the 2013 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing was Katherine A. Powers, contributor to many national book review sections, including the Boston Globe, the Washington Post and the Barnes and Noble Review. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is the editor of “Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J. F. Powers, 1942–1963.” For the second time in its 27-year history, the Balakian Citation carries with it a $1,000 cash prize, generously endowed by NBCC board member Gregg Barrios.

The recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award was Rolando Hinojosa-Smith. At 84, Hinojosa-Smith is the dean of Chicano authors, best known for his ambitious Klail City Death Trip cycle of novels. He is also an accomplished translator and essayist, as well as a mentor and inspiration to several generations of writers. A recipient of the 1976 Premio Casa de las Americas, Hinojosa-Smith is professor of literature at the University of Texas, Austin, where he has taught for nearly three decades.

Founded in 1974, the National Book Critics Circle Awards are given annually to honor outstanding writing and to foster a national conversation about reading, criticism, and literature. The awards are open to any book published in the United States in English (including translations). The National Book Critics Circle comprises nearly 600 critics and editors from leading newspapers and magazines providing coverage of books.

Recipients of the National Book Critic Circle Awards for 2014

Frank Bidart, “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Franco Moretti, “Distant Reading” (Verso)

Amy Wilentz, “Farewell, Fred Voodoo: A Letter From Haiti” (Simon & Schuster)

Leo Damrosch, “Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World” (Yale University Press)

Sheri Fink, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” (Crown)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “Americanah” (Knopf)

NBCC 2014 Winner Bios

Frank Bidart (b. 1939)
Frank Bidart is the author of numerous books of poetry, including “Watching the Spring Festival” (2008) and this year’s recipient for the award in poetry, “Metaphysical Dog” (Farrar, Straus, Giroux). A formidable figure in American letters, Bidart has been previously a finalist for the National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize nominee. He teaches English at Wellesley College and lives in Cambridge, MA.

Franco Moretti (b 1950)
Franco Moretti is the Dorothy C. and Laura Louise Bell Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University, where he also founded the Center for the Study of the Novel and the Literary Lab. A pioneer of the digital humanities and the use of quantitative methods imported from the social sciences, Moretti is the author of seven books, including most recently “The Bourgeois (2013)” and this year’s recipient of the award in criticism, “Distant Reading” (Verso).

Amy Wilentz (b. 1954)
Amy Wilentz is the author of four works of nonfiction, including “I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They Happen: Coming to California in the Age of Schwarzenegger” (2006) and this year’s recipient of the award in autobiography, “Farewell Fred Voodoo: A Letter from Haiti” (Simon & Schuster). A winner of the Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Martha Albrand Non-Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Award, she has contributed to numerous magazines and is a long-time contributing editor at The Nation. She teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the University of California at Irvine and lives in Los Angeles.

Leo Damrosch (b. 1941)
Leo Damrosch is Ernest Bernbaum Research Professor of Literature at Harvard University. He is the author of ten books on literary and historical subjects, including “Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius” (2005), a National Book Award finalist, and this year’s recipient of the award in biography, “Jonathan Swift” (Yale University Press). He lives in Newton, MA.

Sheri Fink
Sheri Fink is the author of this year’s recipient of the award in nonfiction, “Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital” (Crown). Fink’s reporting has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Lowell Thomas Award, among other journalism prizes. A former relief worker in disaster and conflict zones, she received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She lives in New York.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (b. 1977)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the author of three novels, “Purple Hibiscus” (2003), “Half of a Yellow Sun” (2006), and “Americanah” (Knopf), the recipient of this year’s award in fiction. A native of Nigeria, Adichie has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007) and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (2008). She divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Anthony Marra
Anthony Marra is the New York Times bestselling author of “A Constellation of Vital Phenomena.” It was selected as one of the ten best books of 2013 by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, New York Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal. He is the winner of the Whiting Award and the Pushcart Prize, and currently teaches at Stanford University.


The National Book Critics Circle, a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 1974 at New York’s legendary Algonquin Hotel by a group of the most influential critics of the day, and awarded its first set of honors the following year. Comprising nearly 600 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, the NBCC annually bestows its awards in six categories, honoring the best books published in the past year in the United States. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the publishing industry. The finalists for the NBCC awards are nominated, evaluated, and selected by the 24-member board of directors, which consists of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading print and online publications, as well as critics whose works appear in these publications. For more information about the history and activities of the National Book Critics Circle and to learn how to become a supporter, visit http://www.bookcritics.org.

Authors Panel

mohegan panel


With the super Inspirationa Authors Panel at the Big Book Getaway at Mohegan Sun.
Lucinda Secrest McDowell, Carol Barnier, Tessa Afshar and Allia Zobel Nolan.

Retreat Logo

The New England Christian Writers Retreat has a new website!

Visit www.newenglandchristianwritersretreat.com for all the latest updates for this year’s retreat, which will be held Oct. 17-19 at Singing Hills in Plainfield, NH. Online registration will begin soon. Early bird rates will be available.

Join us! Faculty include Cecil Murphey, Twila Belk, Karen and George Porter, Lori Stanley Roeleveld, Lucinda Secrest McDowell, Tess Afshar and me.

Here is what some of last year’s attendees had to say:

“Before attending the New England Christian Writers Retreat I could not have imagined a place where award winning authors would selflessly offer their expertise and encouragement to empower beginning writers like me.  This retreat is a haven where you can feel safe to explore the dreams God has placed on your heart.   It was a life changing weekend and I can’t wait to go back.”

– Jane Rattray (Massachusetts), blogger “Cherished Child”

 “The New England Christian Writers Retreat gave me the dedicated time and space I desperately needed to focus on my current manuscript, in a truly supportive environment. The presenters were inspiring, the surroundings gorgeous, and the meals delicious–an added bonus for this stay-at-home mom and writer! I can’t wait to return in 2014.

– Susan Gilbert-Collins (New York), author “Starting from Scratch”

 “The New England Christian Writers Retreat far exceeded my expectations.  Offering outstanding workshops, instruction and encouragement from the amazing faculty and networking opportunities with other New England authors, writers and speakers, it was a delight!  (And I won a doorprize – full scholarship to another Writers Conference.)”

– Cindy Saab (Massachusetts), Writer, Speaker, Teacher

 “The New England Christian Writers Retreat provided an intimate atmosphere for writers to meet,  inspire, and spur  one another on towards their God-given writing dreams. Nestled deep inside the New Hampshire mountains, the relaxed atmosphere allowed time for writing and meditation. The leader/teachers, while well accomplished professional writers, exuded a spirit of humility and opened their hearts and schedules to meet with attendees and address our questions on a personal level.”

– Dawn Aldrich (Connecticut), author “Auntie’s House”

 “Writing in New England can be a solitary venture. I am thankful for The New England Christian Writers Retreat which helped me connect with my writing peers in my region and some from the national writers organization (ACFW) that I belong to. The program and teaching was fabulous. I was encouraged, inspired, and blessed!”

– Carla Gade (Maine), author “Pattern for Romance”

Welcome to readers in Faith Radio’s readership out in the midwest. Read my latest column here:


Send questions about theater to me via my review site: http://reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com.

League of Professional Theatre Women

Monday March 10
6.30 to 10pm

at The Irene Diamond Stage
The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street

Press Coverage From The Event:

The League’s new event puts awards center stage!

Life Time Achievement Award:  Zoe Caldwell, Actor
Audra McDonald will present the award to Zoe Caldwell

Ruth Morley Design Award:  Judith Dolan, Costume Designer
The Ruth Morley Design Award is given annually to an outstanding female theatre designer in the field of costumes, scenery, lighting, or special effects in memory of the theatre and film costume designer, and League member, Ruth Morley.
Presented by Gregory Boyd.

The Lee Reynolds Award:  Joanna Sherman, Artistic Director, Bond Street Theatre
The award, in memory of producer and League member Lee Reynolds, is given annually to a woman or women active in any aspect of…

View original post 1,226 more words

Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue Photo: Maria Bryk/Newseum

Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue
Photo: Maria Bryk/Newseum

By Lauren Yarger
When I visit my daughter, who lives in Washington, DC, we usually try to do something touristy while I am there. The nation’s capital is full of wonderful museums. many free of admission charge. Too many to take in on a single trip. So the last time I was down, we decided to take in The Newseum, which had been beckoning to me since it opened in 2008.

The Newseum at Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street is seven levels and 250,000 square feet of the news set between the Capitol and the White House. A vertitable heaven for an old-school journalist like me. A circle of front pages from the nation’s papers is displayed around the building crowned by a 74-foot-high marble engraving of the First Amendment, so I was thrilled before I ever entered the museum.

Inside, a satisfying collection of all things news/journalism delights. In fact, the displays and exhibits are so comprehensive, that we went back the next day to take it all in (the ticket, which isn’t free, is good for two days. The newseum is private, not government run — as it should be!)


News Corporation News History Gallery
Photo: Sam Kittner/Newseum

Highlights for me included:

  • Being able to see newspapers dThe 9/11 exhibit. Photo" Lauren Yargerating back centuries — follow the breaking news about the Revolutionary or Civil wars. Totally fascinating.
  • An exhibit featuring coverage of the September 11 attacks with newspaper front pages and a piece of the tower on display.
    The 9/11 exhibit. Photo” Lauren Yarger
  • A special exhibit on the shooting of JFK. It includes artifacts, films and a board where you can post information about where you were when you hear of the assassination.
  • A huge, color-coded map of the world showing where the press is free (green), somewhat free (yellow) or censored (red). Thank God for the USA — all green.
  • The Pulitzer Prize Photographs gallery. Amazing photos. Heartbreaking stories of journalists who never recovered after seeing the horrible scenes they shot. There is a price for a free press.

map Where the press is free — and isn’t. Photo: Lauren Yarger

  • Probably the most moving moment for me was when I spotted a copy of “Donna Parker,” Special Agent” — I think in the spy section. The Donna Parker books were my favorites when I was a kid and it was Donna — who became the editor of her high school newspaper — who first introduced me to the world of journalism. When I finished that book, I decided I was going to be the editor of my high school newspaper and pursue a career in journalism. I did, and that is why you are reading this blog today.

Here are afew highlights of what you can see at the Newseum. I definitely recommend a visit the next time you are in DC. Visit the site here http://www.newseum.org/index.html:

  • The New York Times–Ochs-Sulzberger Family Great Hall of News

Surrounded by the flow of information.  Around, above and below, visitors to the Great Hall of News are surrounded by a continuous flow of news. Instant, breaking, historic news that is uncensored, diverse and free. This soaring, 90-foot-high atrium showcases breaking news on its giant Electronic Window on the World screen; the latest headlines are constantly updated on an electronic zipper. Suspended from above are two icons of modern news gathering and transmission – a satellite replica and a Bell helicopter.

  • News Corporation News History Gallery

The Story of News. This gallery tells the timeless story of news, of many voices struggling to be heard, and of the people and machines that spread that news. At the gallery’s center is a timeline that showcases the Newseum’s extensive collection of historic newspapers and magazines. Within the timeline are 10 touch-screens that offer interactive games, a database of journalists and close-up views of hundreds of publications. The cases along the gallery walls examine recurring issues that confront journalists and feature hundreds of artifacts and personal memorabilia. Five theaters feature videos that explore some of those issues in greater depth.

  • Pulitzer Prize Photographs Gallery

    Award-Winning Images and Photographers Who Took Them. This gallery features the most comprehensive collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs ever assembled as well as interviews with many of the photographers. Some of the photographs have become icons of their time: Marines raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima, the joyful reunion of a returning prisoner of war and his family, a firefighter cradling an injured infant after the Oklahoma City bombing. Those and other images record the defining moments of our world and time.

  • Pulliam Family Great Books Gallery

    A Look at the Cornerstones of Freedom. Freedom has always been the key to open, enlightened societies. The books and documents in this display are some of the cornerstones of freedom. They include important works of political thought and action — from the Magna Carta to the Federalist Papers to the first printing of the U.S. Constitution in pamphlet form. Four interactive kiosks allow zoom-in close-ups of many of the pages of some of history’s most important texts and documents.

Hank Greenspun Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue Photo: Sam Kittner/Newseum

Hank Greenspun Terrace on Pennsylvania Avenue
Photo: Sam Kittner/Newseum

Ticket Prices

Adults (19 to 64) $22.95 plus tax Seniors (65 and older) $18.95 plus tax Youth (7 to 18) $13.95 plus tax Children (6 and younger) Free Visit http://www.newseum.org