Categotry Archives: Writers/Editors

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Julia Darling

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Categories: Writers/Editors

jdarling.jpgJulia Darling, an award-winning British writer who chronicled her battle with breast cancer in an online diary, died of the disease on April 13. She was 48.
A native of Winchester, England, Darling was born in the house where Jane Austen died. She studied fine art at Falmouth Art College and was a Royal Literary Fund Project Fellow at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Darling formed The Poetry Virgins, a writers group that performed poetry in “the places that least expected it,” and co-founded the small non-profit making press Diamond Twig Books with Ellen Phethean. She published her first novel, “Crocodile Soup,” in 1998 and became the writer-in-residence at Live Theatre in Newcastle.
Darling penned a series of plays, some of which were broadcast on the BBC, and wrote and/or edited numerous books, including the poetry collection “Sudden Collapses in Public Places” and the acclaimed novel “Taxi Driver’s Daughter.” In 2003, she won the Northern Rock Foundation writer’s award, the largest annual literary award in England. Darling was also the third Poet in Residence at Guardian Unlimited.
Darling was first diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago. The disease changed her life in many ways and became a fixture in her literary works. To deal with its effects, Darling launched a Weblog in 2002.
“I hate cancer. It’s taken me away from such life. Tonight I’d like to strangle it the way that it is doing to me but I must look at the dark horizon of chimneys out of the window and imagine what is beyond. But count your blessings — a. No pain unless I try and dance the hokey cokey. b. fantastic cusine [sic] cooked by my mother. c. No family arguments. d. No fear. e. Cornflakes and milk. f. Trina’s ice cream. g. my new NHS bath seat and squashy mattress. h. You only have to do death once,” Darling wrote on April 8.
Darling’s “First Aid Kit for the Mind,” was released a day after her death. “The Poetry Cure,” an anthology she co-edited with Cynthia Fuller, will be published on April 28. Her playwriting collection, “Eating the Elephant and Other Plays,” is due for release this summer, and the Northern Stage’s production of her play, “Manifesto for a New City,” will continue touring until the end of the month.
Read Darling’s Weblog
Watch a Short Interview With Darling

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Andrea Dworkin

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Categories: Writers/Editors

adworkin.jpgFeminist Andrea Dworkin described pornography as a violation of women’s civil rights, and linked sexually explicit videos and magazines to rape and violence toward women. She supported her deeply held beliefs by testifying before numerous governmental committees, writing more than a dozen books and working as a political activist.
The New Jersey native claimed she was sexually abused when she was 9 years old. While attending Bennington College in Vermont, she was arrested in front of the United States Mission to the United Nations for protesting the war in Vietnam. During the four days Dworkin spent at the New York Women’s House of Detention, two male doctors brutalized her with cruel and punishing internal examinations. Her testimony about their actions eventually shut down the prison.
Dworkin’s parents were humiliated by the scandal, however, and turned against her. In response, she moved to Amsterdam and married a Dutch anarchist. Dworkin suffered beatings and verbal abuse for five years, then rallied enough courage to leave him. To sustain herself, she slept on friends’ floors and prostituted herself for money.
Dworkin was 27 when she published her first book, “Woman Hating: A Radical Look at Sexuality.” Over the next four decades, she wrote magazine and newspaper articles, novels, essay collections and content for Websites. In 2001, her book, “Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation,” won the American Book Award. Dworkin’s autobiography, “Heartbreak: The Political Memoir of a Feminist Militant,” was published in 2002.
Dworkin joined forces with legal scholar Catharine A. MacKinnon in 1983 to draft a law that allowed women to sue producers and distributors of pornography in civil court. Their campaign was inspired by Linda Marchiano, an adult actress known as Linda Lovelace who starred in the 1972 film, “Deep Throat.” Years after “Deep Throat” became a cult hit, Marchiano claimed she had been coerced by her husband Chuck Traynor into making the movie. The law was overturned by a federal appeals court in 1985, but upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dworkin’s militant stance on pornography and women’s rights found opponents on both sides of the gender aisle. Men claimed her opinions promoted censorship and served as an assault on “traditional family values.” Women who disagreed with her views said she set the feminist movement back by infringing on a woman’s right to choose how she wants to use her body. Frequently described as a “man-hater,” Dworkin was in fact married for seven years to author John Stoltenberg. Although they were both gay, the couple had been living together for more than three decades.
Dworkin died on April 9. Cause of death was not released. She was 58.
Quotes by Dworkin

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Dale Messick

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Categories: Artists, Media, Writers/Editors

Dale Messick, the cartoonist who created the long-running, syndicated comic strip “Brenda Starr, Reporter,” died on April 5. Cause of death was not released. She was 98.
The Indiana native didn’t graduate from high school until she was 21, but found her life’s purpose in writing and drawing. In her 20s, Messick spent her days designing greeting cards for Chicago and New York City publishing companies, and her nights drawing comic strips.
At a time when women rarely worked outside of the home, Messick changed her name from the feminine “Dalia” to the more gender-neutral “Dale,” and launched a career in comics. Her first submission, “Streamline Babies,” was rejected by McNaught Syndicate. In 1940, however, Messick created the feisty reporter, Brenda Starr.
Based on actress Rita Hayworth, the curvy, redheaded cartoon journalist enjoyed thousands of thrilling adventures in her printed soap opera. During World War II, Starr became a foreign correspondent, one who chased down spies and sold war bonds. She traveled the world, searched for an elusive black orchid, fought off numerous wild animals and still managed to turn in her stories on deadline. When she wed her handsome and mysterious boyfriend, Basil St. John, in 1976, President Gerald Ford sent the character a telegram bearing his congratulations.
At its peak in the 1950s, “Brenda Starr, Reporter” appeared in 250 newspapers. The strip and its spunky heroine served as the inspiration for three movies and a TV show; Starr also appeared on a U.S. postage stamp.
Messick drew more than 15,000 strips before retiring in 1985. Today, “Brenda Starr, Reporter” is written by Mary Schmich, drawn by June Brigman and syndicated in newspapers around the country by Tribune Media Services. In 1997, Messick won the National Cartoonist Society’s Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR

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Paul Henning

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Categories: Hollywood, Writers/Editors

phenning.jpgPaul Henning, the screenwriter who created “The Beverly Hillbillies” and “Petticoat Junction,” died on March 25 of natural causes. He was 93.
The Missouri native was the youngest of 10 children. Born on a farm and raised in Independence, he was working at the local drugstore when a county official named Harry S. Truman advised him to seek a career as a lawyer. Truman later became president of the United States.
Henning graduated from Kansas City School of Law, but decided against working in the legal field. Instead, he took a job at KMBC radio in Kansas City and became a radio writer. Henning contributed to several programs, including “Fibber McGee and Molly” and “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.” He then moved to Hollywood, landed an agent and began working in the new medium of television. From 1955 to 1961, Henning wrote and/or produced episodes of “The Bob Cummings Show,” “Love That Bob,” “The Real McCoys,” “Ford Startime” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Henning’s first original program, “The Beverly Hillbillies,” debuted on CBS in 1962. The series, which starred Buddy Ebsen as a poor mountaineer who strikes it rich and moves his eccentric family to California, was based on Henning’s encounters with people he had met in the Ozarks as a child. Henning penned the words and music to “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song to the show, as well. “The Beverly Hillbillies” shot to No. 1 within three weeks of its debut; the comedy continued to reside in the top 20 until its cancellation in 1971. A feature film adaptation was produced two decades later.
Henning later created the “Hillbillies” spin-off, “Petticoat Junction,” and helped cast and produce the rural comedy, “Green Acres.” He also co-wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay, “Lover Come Back,” (1961) with Stanley Shapiro.
The Ballad of Jed Clampett Download “The Ballad of Jed Clampett”

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Mark Devlin

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Categories: Writers/Editors

Mark D. Devlin, a homeless man who published a critically acclaimed memoir, died on March 10. Cause of death was not released. He was 56.
The Boston native was frequently beaten by his alcoholic father. At 7, Devlin was deemed a ”stubborn child,” and locked up. Under an archaic state law, a stubborn child was defined as one who “stubbornly refused to submit to the lawful and reasonable commands of a parent or guardian.”
Original provisions allowed the court to whip or incarcerate disobedient children. But during the 19th century and most of the 20th century, the stubborn-child law in Massachusetts was used to remove troubled and abused children from their homes. Placed in reformatories and detention centers, these children were then subjected to strict discipline, verbal and physical abuse, a prisonlike regimentation, little or no health care and minimal educational opportunities.
Devlin spent the rest of his childhood in state institutions. He later told the press that growing up in the juvenile justice system turned him into a criminal.
As a young adult, Devlin fell in love with a former girlfriend of one of his cell-block mates. They decided to move to a different state and start a new life together, but en route, Devlin was arrested for driving a stolen Porsche across state lines. He spent three years in a federal reformatory in Petersburg, Va., then married his girlfriend while on parole. Their first child, a son, was placed up for adoption; their second child, a daughter, was raised in several foster homes before being adopted by Devlin’s sister. The couple later divorced.
Unable to find a job and ill prepared to function in society, this self-described “road scholar” decided to become a writer. While living on the streets, Devlin’s worldly possessions consisted of a bag filled with clothes, a dictionary, a thesaurus, pencils and a few reams of paper. His first publishing success was a letter to the editor of the Real Paper. The editor was so impressed that he published Devlin’s letter as an article in the now-defunct alternative weekly.
When Devlin’s dark memoir, ”Stubborn Child,” was published in 1985, it received national attention. He kept in touch with his publisher using public telephones and gave interviews from park benches. Two years later, the movie rights were sold to director William Friedkin for $10,000, but the film was never produced.
For the next three decades, Devlin slept in homeless shelters and wandered the streets of Boston and Cambridge. He suffered from numerous health problems, including bipolar disorder, diabetes and heart disease, and occasionally sought alcohol rehabilitation. His body was found in a motel room in Braintree, Mass.

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