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July 2012

the latest from Suite 603

July 25, 2012

Check the NEH website on Thursday, July 26, to see the awards made
following the July meeting of the National Council on the Humanities.

Emergency Response & Salvage Wheel: NEH's Division of Preservation and Access displays wheels in (clockwise) Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, and English. The English and Spanish versions were supported by NEH.
The Wheel of Misfortune (with apologies to Boethius)
Colorado book awards and author signing
Florida Humanities Council's Forum highlights Florida writers
Who's reading what?
The art of the kimono in South Carolina
Do you have a story to tell?

If you're traveling in Massachusetts this summer, let Mass Humanities be your tour guide as you search for your inner humanist.

"This summer, indulge whatever mood your inner humanist is in. Quiet? Social? Outdoorsy? Historical? We have a number of suggestions that will keep you engaged from now until the first autumn leaf falls!"

The Wheel of Misfortune (with apologies to Boethius)

The English language version of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Wheel.
The English language version of the Disaster Preparedness and Response Wheel.

As we approach the height of the hurricane season, and thinking back to the many severe storms of the last several years, NEH draws attention to the Disaster Preparedness and Response Wheel which helps museum and collections staffs anticipate disaster and recover after one strikes. One side of the wheel outlines critical stages of disaster response such as stabilizing the environment and assessing damage; the other provides suggestions for handling such collections as books, documents, photographs, electronic records, and paintings. NEH supported the English and Spanish language versions of the wheel. Other countries have created their own editions of it.

Wheels in English and Spanish can be purchased from the Northern States Conservation Center for $12.95 as well as from Heritage Preservation, the original grantee. Heritage Preservation has also made it available as a free app, “ERS: Emergency Response and Salvage,” for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Colorado book awards and author signing

 100 Years of Colorado National Monument (Laurena Mayne Davis, ed.) won the award for best anthology/collection.
Monumental Majesty: 100 Years of Colorado National Monument (Laurena Mayne Davis, ed.) won the award for best anthology/collection.

The Colorado Book Awards, an annual program of Colorado Humanities, celebrates the accomplishments of Colorado's outstanding authors, editors, illustrators, and photographers. Awards are presented in at least ten categories including anthology/collection, biography, children's, creative nonfiction, fiction, history, nonfiction, pictorial, poetry, and young adult.

The 2012 winners were announced at Aspen Summer Words in June. Margaret Coel, author of 17 novels and two works of nonfiction, was honored with a lifetime achievement award. Winners will participate in a book signing on August 21st at Tattered Cover Lodo.

Florida Humanities Council's Forum highlights Florida writers

The summer 2012 issue of Forum celebrates the winners of the Florida Book Awards. Awards were made in the categories of Florida Nonfiction, Popular Fiction, General Fiction, Visual Arts, Poetry, Young Adult, and Children’s Literature.

The Florida Humanities Council asked the winners what it is about Florida that sparks their creativity. Jessica Martinez, author of Virtuosity, responded that she is "inspired by Florida’s extremes. Balminess and hurricanes, glitz and grits, the high-energy buzz of its cities and the slow crawl of a day at the beach—the contrasts are teeming with stories begging to be written."

Young people in grades 3-5 have the opportunity to become book reviewers. The “Viva Florida 500 – Reading Florida History” contest invites kids to read a book about Florida history—the book list is online—and write a review of it. Winners will broadcast their reviews on PBS station WEDU. This reading and writing contest is funded by the Florida Humanities Council through a grant to WEDU. The contest ends October 1.

Who's reading what?

 A Cook and His Vegetable Patch "abounds with lessons in the arts of coaxing, waiting, and savoring that are essential for every gardener and cook, accomplished and aspirational alike."
Crista DeLuzio writes for Humanities Texas that Nigel Slater's Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch "abounds with lessons in the arts of coaxing, waiting, and savoring that are essential for every gardener and cook, accomplished and aspirational alike."

Humanities people read year round, but summertime and reading go together like watermelon and the beach. Here's a sample of what some are reading this summer.

Humanities Texas devoted its June e-newsletter to the books being read by board members and friends. They include Robert Caro's The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Stephen King's 11/22/63 (by the way, King's wife was a board member of the Maine Humanities Council), Julia Alvarez's A Wedding in Haiti, Dagoberto Gilb's Before the End, After the Beginning, Jack Finney's Time and Again, and 2011 National Humanities Medalist Andrew Delbanco's College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be. Almost as interesting as the books are the brief reviews these Humanities Texans have written.

The Utah Humanities Council also included what its staff was reading in its June e-newsletter. Here's a sample:

  • Megan van Frank, Program Officer: Jamie Ford, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. This story of the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII is told from the perspective of a young boy growing up in Seattle's Chinatown. I love the questions it raises about American identity, self-sacrifice, and changing urban landscapes.
  • Maria Torres, Grants and Program Manager: Stefan Zweig, Chess Story. The game of chess is a metaphor for the terribly grim game the character played with his Nazi tormentors. During the 1930s, the author was one of the best-selling writers in Europe.
  • Beth Jones, Development and Finance Manager: Jonathan Franzen, Freedom: I am absolutely savoring this book. I find myself trying to pace my reading because I don't want it to end. I don't think I can give a full impression before finishing it, but I think if someone can endure the painful relationships described in Franzen's previous novel Corrections, they will enjoy this novel as well.

The Delaware Humanities Forum, in its July e-newsletter, draws attention to the NEH/American Library Association reading and discussion series Making Sense of the American Civil War and the three books it focuses on: March by Geraldine Brooks, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James McPherson, and America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries, an anthology edited by Edward L. Ayers.

NEH's Edsitement website has a comprehensive reading list for the college-bound, but it admits that this is a list for everyone. It includes everything from fiction to philosophy, with links to study guides and juried websites that will help provide deeper understanding. The list is based on College Board's recommended reading lists. Haven't read much Homer lately, or reread the Oedipus plays? This might be your summer. Edsitement can help.

Continue your tour of ancient literature with the Bible, the Gilgamesh Epic, and Ovid's Metamosphoses. You might want to include Vergil's Aeneid too, as well as Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy where he writes of Fortuna's fickleness and provides one of the great images of the European tradition, the wheel of fortune.

Here in Federal/State Partnership, Edie is reading The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabelle Wilkerson who will be this year's Capps Lecturer at the November National Humanities Conference in Chicago. She just finished Thomas Mallon's Watergate: A Novel (Tom served as Deputy Chairman of NEH, Director of the Division of Preservation and Access, and a member of the National Council on the Humanities). Kathleen is still reading Watergate and, like Edie, is finding that she thought she remembered a lot about Watergate, but now isn't sure—or is it that this is a work of fiction and not a work of history? Meg is reading The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch (translated by Lee Chadeayne), and is deep into the Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin. Kathleen is also paying homage to the late Nora Ephron by (re)reading her books and watching her movies again, but her mind is still really in the heart of central Africa having read Alexandra Fuller's Let's Not Go to the Dogs Tonight: an African Childhood and Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness.

The art of the kimono in South Carolina

The image is from the museum's website.
The image is from the museum's website.

The Franklin G. Burroughs and Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum in Myrtle Beach received a grant from The Humanities Council SC for a lecture series, "Kimono Inspired: The Beauty and Culture of Japan," inspired by its exhibition Kimono: Art, Fashion and Society.

Running each Wednesday through August 15, the lectures and demonstrations cover Japanese culture from ikebana, flower arranging, to sushi to drumming. Other programs related to the exhibition include workshops, a book discussion, tours, and films.

Kimono: Art, Fashion and Society will be on view through September 23.

Do you have a story to tell?

Federal/State Partnership is eager to learn your stories and to publicize them in this newsletter and on the NEH website. Contact Kathleen Mitchell and Meg Ferris for more information—or just send us your stories and photos (minimum: 620 x 370 pixels; maximum: 1000 x 1000 pixels).

We have already posted many stories about state humanities councils in our "featured projects" and "in the field" sections. These stories show the wide range of activities that humanities councils are involved with. We want even more. If there isn't anything posted from your council, you especially need to send us material.

The NEH website is an important medium for sharing news about the important work you do.

National Endowment for the Humanities
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 603
Washington, DC 20506
202.606.8254, main number
202.606.8365, fax

Edie Manza, director [ about ]
Kathleen Mitchell, senior program officer [ about ]
Meg Ferris, program analyst [ about ]
Shirley Newman, program assistant [ about ]

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Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils
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