Updates

A Workshop on Personal Writing at the 2017 Terroir Creative Writing Festival on Saturday, April 22

On Saturday, April 22, I’ll be leading a workshop called “Getting Down to the Truly Personal in Personal Essay and Memoir” at the 2017 Terroir Creative Writing Festival in McMinnville, Oregon.  If you live in Oregon or SW Washington, I highly recommend this boutique writing festival.  For just $50 ($60 after April 14), you get a full day of workshops and readings with many of Oregon’s finest writers.  For more information or to register, click here: Terroir Creative Writing Festival.

Talks, Readings, Workshops and Seminars

I’ve added quite a few events to my appearance schedule in recent weeks.  Check the Talks page for a full list.  If you’d like to discuss a possible talk or reading in your area, please contact me using the Contact form on the About page.

PURE ACT Paperback Out on April 3

First look at the paperback version of PURE ACT: THE UNCOMMON LIFE OF ROBERT LAX. The publication date is April 3 but it’s available for pre-order now: https://www.amazon.com/Pure-Act-Uncommon-Catholic-Practice/dp/0823276821/ref=mt_paperback?_encoding=UTF8&me

I’ll Be a Visiting Professor at St. Bonaventure University in March

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve been selected to be the Spring 2017 Lenna Endowed Visiting Professor at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, New York.  I’ll be on campus for the last two weeks of March, giving talks, visiting classrooms, meeting with students, and chatting with the Franciscan friars.

I’m especially honored to receive the Lenna Professorship because the first recipient of it, when it was established in 1990, was Robert Lax.  St. Bonaventure is in his home town and, as those who’ve read my biography of him know, he and his mother went there often.  The friars were an important early spiritual influence on him.

The dates for the public talks haven’t been set yet but they should be soon.  I’ll post them in the Talks section of my website.  If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll come!

Video of Fordham Editor Talking About the Acquisition, Design and Selling of PURE ACT

I didn’t know this was available online but found it yesterday: It’s a video of my editor, Fred Nachbaur, talking about the acquisition, design and selling of my book, PURE ACT: THE UNCOMMON LIFE OF ROBERT LAX. It was presented at a conference as an illustration of what university presses can do beyond their usual markets:

 

A Year of Pure Act

The image here is of the bottle of vintage French wine Sylvia and I opened to celebrate signing my book contract with Fordham University Press two years ago.  Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax has been out in the world just over a year now, and what a year it has been.  The unofficial end of the book’s debut year came three weeks ago when we attended the Washington State Book Awards in Seattle.  Pure Act was a finalist in the Biography/Memoir category.  It didn’t win but it was a great honor to be recognized in my home state.

All told, Pure Act was a finalist for four awards: the WSBA in Biography/Memoir, the Religion Newswriters Association Book Award for best religion book of the year, the Association of Catholic Publishers’ Excellence in Publishing Award in Biography (it won second place) and the Catholic Press Association’s Book Award in Biography (it received an Honorable Mention).  It has been nominated for an Oregon Book Award too, but the finalists for that won’t be announced until early January 2017.

For a big book by a first-time author about a little-known poet published by a small publisher, it has done pretty well.  It’s in its third printing and a paperback version will be published in March 2017.  It was favorably reviewed in the New York Times Book Review, the Times Literary Supplement in the U.K., Publishers Weekly, the Oregonian and over 20 other publications.  The American Association of University Professors recommended it as one of ten nonfiction books and only two biographies (the other was of Mark Twain) in the area of American Studies for libraries to purchase in 2016.  I’ve had a chance to read from it at bookstores, universities and community events across the country.  And it has led to my being asked to be a keynote speaker at the 2017 International Thomas Merton Society conference at Saint Bonaventure University.

I’m reluctant to let this wonderful year end, but time marches on, of course, and I’ve already drafted my next book, a memoir about a year spent in the San Juan Islands.  A huge thank you to all who were part of a marvelous experience.

PURE ACT a Finalist for a Washington State Book Award

Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax has been named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award in Biography/Memoir.  You’ll find a full list of finalists and information about the awards ceremony here.

If you live in the Seattle area and are interested in attending, the awards ceremony will take place 7-9 p.m. in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Public Library’s central branch (1000 Fourth Avenue).

The ceremony is free and parking is $7 in the library garage.
wsba_auditorium

I’m off hunting new prey this summer (actually, working on a new book) but I’ll be back in October with more news and stories.  I hope you’ll check back then.

PURE ACT a Finalist for the Religion Newswriters Association 2016 Book Award

Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax has been named one of ten finalists for the Religion Newswriters Association’s 2016 Religion Nonfiction Book Award.  A full listing of finalists for all awards is here.  Winners will be announced on September 24.

PURE ACT Wins a 2016 Excellence in Publishing Award and NCR Reviews It

I learned this week that Pure Act: The Uncommon Life of Robert Lax has won a 2016 Excellence in Publishing Award from the Association of Catholic Publishers.  It received second prize in Biography.  First prize went to my good friend Angela Alaimo O’Donnell for her biography of Flannery O’Connor.  The ACP announcement is here.

On the same day I learned about the award, a nice review of Pure Act by Dana Greene, biographer of Denise Levertov, appeared on the website of the National Catholic Reporter.  You can read it here.