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2018 Literary Gala on Saturday, October 27 honors writer Gerald Early and others

October 18, 2018
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Gerald L. Early will receive the 2018 Tradition of Literary Excellence Award at a special reception on Saturday, October 27 in University City’s City Hall. (Photo by James Byard, Washington University in St. Louis.)

The annual Tradition of Literary Excellence Award will be given to noted writer Professor Gerald L. Early of Washington University in St. Louis, in a special ceremony at 7 p.m., Saturday, October 27 in the fifth floor of University City’s City Hall.  Also honored that evening will be retiring children’s librarian LaRita Wright of the University City Public Library, and the journalism students of University City High School who were recognized last spring for their outstanding achievements.

Early is the fifth annual recipient of the award, which was created in 2014 and is funded by the Municipal Commission on Arts & Letters of University City “to honor the work of a living local author whose literary achievement has won national and international acclaim and, in so doing, has contributed to the distinction of the St. Louis area, upholding its tradition as a center of literary excellence.”  Previous recipients were William H. Gass, Jane O. Wayne, Patricia McKissack, and Michael Castro.

Early is a professor in — and currently the chair of — the African and African American Studies Department at Washington University, where he has taught since 1982. He has an appointment in the university’s American Culture Studies Program, a program for which he has also served as director. He was the founding director of the Center for the Humanities. He is currently the faculty director of the Henry Hampton Film Archive and the executive editor of The Common Reader, Washington University’s new interdisciplinary journal.

Early is a noted essayist and American culture critic. His collections of essays include Tuxedo Junction: Essays on American Culture (1989); The Culture of Bruising: Essays on Prizefighting, Literature, and Modern American Culture, which won the 1994 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism; This is Where I Came In: Essays on Black America in the 1960s (2003), and, most recently, A Level-Playing Field: African American
Athletes and the Republic of Sports (2011). He is also the author of Daughters: On Family and Fatherhood (1994). He was twice nominated for Grammy Awards for writing album liner notes, and he is a prolific anthologist. His most recent edited books are the Best African American Essays 2010 with guest editor Randall Kennedy and Best African American Fiction 2010 with guest editor Nikki Giovanni.

He has served as a consultant on several Ken Burns’ documentary films—Baseball; Jazz; Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson; The War, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and an upcoming fi lm on the life of Jackie Robinson—all of which have or will be aired on PBS.

Early will receive the award on Saturday evening, October 27, 2018, at the Tradition of Literary Excellence Award ceremony. The event will take place on the fifth floor of University City’s historic city hall (6801 Delmar Blvd.) at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend the awards ceremony and may purchase tickets ($25/person; $40/couple), which cover beverage, reception, and live music, at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3740888. To find out more about the event, contact Winnie Sullivan, penultim@swbell.net, (314) 447-3888.

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Lit in the Lou 2015 – October 2 to 4

September 27, 2015

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Poet Jane O. Wayne has been chosen as the recipient of the 2015 Tradition of Literary Excellence Award which will be presented at the Gala Opening Event of the Lit in the Lou festival, 7 p.m. October 2 at University City Hall’s fifth floor.

The award, which was created in 2014 and is funded by the Municipal Commission of Arts & Letters of University City, is given “to honor the work of a living local author whose literary achievement has won national and international acclaim and, in so doing, has contributed to the distinction of the St. Louis area, upholding its tradition as a center of literary excellence.”

Jane O. Wayne is one of St. Louis’s best known poets. Her poetry collections include Looking Both Ways (University of Missouri Press, 1985), which received the Devins Award for Poetry; A Strange Heart(Helicon Nine Editions, 1996), recipient of the Marianne Moore Poetry Prize and the Society of Midland Authors Award; From the Night Album (Pecan Grove Press, 2007); and The Other Place You Live(Mayapple Press, 2010). Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, among them The Iowa Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Ploughshares, Boulevard, and River Styx. Wayne edited the anthology Poetry to Make You Smile(Spruce, 2014). She has taught creative writing at Webster University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Tickets to the gala are $25 on line with brownpapertickets.com or at the door. Food and drink and included. Parking is on the west rear of the building along with handicap parking and entrance. Additional parking is at the University City Library just east of city hall.

The Lit in the Lou festival runs from October 2 to 4 in the Julia Goldstein Early Childhood Center at 737 Kingsland Avenue and will explore the theme “Literature In(Forms) our Lives: Race, Religion, Gender and Inequality.”

Four guest authors will present, supported by multiple panels of local and regional authors addressing issues through poetry, plays, fiction, comics, memoir and more.

Admission is free.  There will be coffee and books on sale and an auction of signed t-shirts.   An after party (with an open mic option) is scheduled Sunday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in the Eclipse Restaurant and Bar at the Moonrise Hotel.  Your donation and admission to the party go to the Ready Readers organization.

Vendor space is only $45 for a table and signage.  Authors, poets, artists are welcome and should contact the consortium for more information by calling 314.447.3888.

A partial list of local writers participating this year includes:
Caroline Frederickson – Under the Bus
Jose Faus – Primera Pagina
(Latino Writers Collective)
DuEwa Frazier – Deanne in the Middle;
Check the Rhyme

Christi Griffin – Incarcerations in Black and White
Jane Ellen Ibur – Both Wings Flappin’, Still Not Flyin’
Maryam Karshani
Carol Swartout Klein – Painting for Peace
Miguel Morales – Primera Pagina
(Latino Writers Collective)
Terry Mulligan – Sugar Hill; Afterlife in Harlem
Margaret O’Gorman – Living True
Eugene Redmond – Arkansippi Memwars
MK Stallings
Aaron Williams – Poetry on Our Terms
John Wright – Ethnic St. Louis

2015 Photo Show: And the winners are…

September 27, 2015

At a special reception in City Hall on September 20, 2015, the winners of the 2015 Photo Show were announced:

Best of Show – Joe Price

First Place – Youth – Lily Liu

First Place – Adult – Linda Ballard

Second Place – Youth – Ty’Zell Anderson

Second Place – Adult – Ed Schmidt

Third Place – Youth – Lily Liu

Third Place – Adult – Nanette Rochberg

Honorable Mention – Sharon McClinton

This year’s annual photo show helped celebrated U City in Bloom‘s 30th anniversary with its theme, “U City in Bloom: A Garden for All Seasons.”

“The Arts & Letters Commission is excited about our partnership with U City in Bloom for this project,” said Melcine Henderson, president of the commission, the purpose of which is to promote the arts in University City. “For years we have enjoyed the stunning, colorful gardens in our community. With the photo contest, we can share our appreciation for U City in Bloom’s 30 years of beautification.”

U City in Bloom currently tends more than 325 public gardens in University City, as well as planters in the Delmar Loop and hanging baskets on Olive St. Rd. Amateur camera buffs (adults and elementary through high school students) are invited to photograph the group’s handiwork and to enter their best images in the photo contest. A select number of contest photos will be used in the 2017 University City calendar.

The submitted photos can be seen on display from September 21-28 at Royal Bank, 8021 Olive Blvd.  Questions may be sent to the commission’s email address, ucityartsandletters@gmail.com.

Annual Arts & Letters Photo Show helps celebrate 30th anniversary of U City in Bloom

April 29, 2015
One of the beautiful U City in Bloom gardens, in this picture enhancing Rain Man by the post office.  (Photo courtesy of U City in Bloom.)

One of the beautiful U City in Bloom gardens, in this picture enhancing Rain Man by the post office. (Photo courtesy of U City in Bloom.)

For years, U City in Bloom—a community-based, volunteer, green-thumb brigade—has designed and nurtured eye-popping displays of natural beauty throughout University City. To celebrate the thirtieth year of U City in Bloom’s beautification efforts, University City’s Arts & Letters Commission will feature images of the group’s work in its 2015 photo show, themed “U City in Bloom: A Garden for All Seasons.”

“The Arts & Letters Commission is excited about our partnership with U City in Bloom for this project,” says Melcine Henderson, president of the commission, the purpose of which is to promote the arts in University City. “For years we have enjoyed the stunning, colorful gardens in our community. With the photo contest, we can share our appreciation for U City in Bloom’s 30 years of beautification.”

U City in Bloom currently tends more than 325 public gardens in University City, as well as planters in the Delmar Loop and hanging baskets on Olive St. Rd. Amateur camera buffs (adults and elementary through high school students) are invited to photograph the group’s handiwork and to enter their best images in the photo contest. A select number of contest photos will be used in the 2017 University City calendar.

Photos taken between September 1, 2014 and August 24, 2015—including fall and winter garden shots—are eligible for entry. Photos of private University City gardens may be submitted with the written permission of the garden’s owner. Photographs entered in previous University City photo contests are not eligible. Contest entries may be submitted between Monday, August 24 through Saturday, August 29, 2015, at the Centennial Commons Recreation Facility, 7210 Olive Blvd.

Complete registration rules are available here and application forms are available here.

Direct questions about the photo show to ucityartsandletters@gmail.com.  More information on U City in Bloom may be found at their website.

Photos will be displayed and winners announced at a special public reception on Sunday, September 20, 2015, in the lobby of the city hall in University City at 6801 Delmar Blvd. The photos will also be on display (from September 14-18) at the Green Center, 8025 Blackberry, and (from September 21-28) at Royal Bank, 8021 Olive Blvd.