Published by the American Writers Museum                    Volume 6, Number 2  March 4, 2015

The train line goes from Mississippi to Chicago.The people bled out of the horror into the promise. Chicago was cold and mean but you could live.The music informed the history; the stories followed the music. Chicago is an incredibly important city because it kept the South alive--the good South of music and muse. This museum is great! Long overdue. To quote the blues song, "Going to Chicago--Glad that I can take you."

Nikki Giovanni, Poet

New Logo, New Look, New Website  

Do you recognize us? AWM has recently undergone an extensive rebranding process, unveiled last month with the launch of a new AWM logo and website. The logo, designed by Gensler, reflects the vibrant and contemporary character of the museum, and the website replicates this feel with redesigned pages featuring new graphics, as well as a new online store.

Six New Members Join AWM Foundation Board

The AWM Foundation has expanded its Board of Directors with the addition of six new members. The new members, who all serve on AWM's Founders Council in addition to the Board, are Roger Baskes, Allan E. Bulley III, Michael T. Clune, James G. Hansen, Ronne Hartfield, and Roberta Rubin.


A full list of Board members can be found here.


AWM's O'Hagan  and Joyce Carol Oates Interviewed for Tin House 

An interview with AWM's Founder and President, Malcolm O'Hagan, was recently published in literary magazine Tin House.


This interview was followed by an interview with author and AWM supporter Joyce Carol Oates, also published in Tin House. The article included an exclusive portrait of Oates, created by Mia Funk for AWM, and Oates' testimonial quotation praising the museum.

AWM's Chicago Writers Exhibit Now Touring Area Libraries


AWM recently collaborated with Evanston Public Library, co-hosting an event to coincide with the installation of AWM's

From Our Neighborhoods exhibit in the library. The event, held on January 23, featured readings of works by Lorraine Hansberry and Studs Terkel performed by members of a local theatre group, as well as remarks from AWM's Executive Director Nike Whitcomb.


The From Our Neighborhoods exhibit will continue to travel through public libraries in and around Chicago. It is currently installed at the Oak Park Public Library until the end of March, and will then move to Highland Park Public Library for the month of April. An online version of the exhibit can be viewed here.

AWM Exhibits at American Library Association Midwinter Conference

AWM was one of the many exhibitors at the American Library Association's Midwinter conference, held at McCormick Place in Chicago from January 30 - February 3. The event attracted over 11,000 attendees from a diverse range of literary backgrounds, and AWM staff and volunteers brought the museum to the attention of numerous authors, publishers, and librarians.


For more information on the American Library Association, including upcoming events, please visit their website here

Founders Council Profile: Ronne Hartfield

Ronne Hartfield is a self-professed "word person." She began reading and writing at the age of three, skipped a couple of years of school and earned her undergraduate degree at the age of nineteen; she keeps a detailed wall calendar at home documenting the books she has read and those she plans to read; and in 2004 she published her memoir, Another Way Home, which has received unanimous critical acclaim.


She describes first seeing Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun as "a profound experience" and cites Gwendolyn Brooks as one of her heroes. She defines the uniqueness of American literature as "a kind of push and a drive to get your voice heard... a verbal drive to make new, to take the vernacular and put it on the page." And yet, she is also drawn to 20th century British poetry - Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and naturalized British citizen T. S. Eliot in particular - for its precision of language and complex imagery.


Ronne serves on the AWM Foundation's Board of Directors and the museum's Founders Council, and was part of the branding team behind AWM's new logo. She is particularly interested in the planning stage of the museum's development, and with many years of experience at numerous major museums, including over a decade at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ronne describes AWM as something entirely new.

Affiliate Spotlight: Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop & Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site 

My candle burns at both ends; / It will not last the night; / But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends - / It gives a lovely light.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay, 'First Fig'


The Edna St. Vincent Millay Society at Steepletop, in Austerlitz, New York, is an AWM affiliate museum dedicated to preserving the former home of famed poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Millay and her husband purchased the property in 1925, two years after she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and she lived there until her death in 1950. Visitors can take guided tours of the home, which still holds all of Millay's original possessions, and also explore the extensive surrounding grounds.


Although more famous as a poet, Millay was also an established playwright, and contemporary of Eugene O'Neill, the only American playwright to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. O'Neill's famous hillside home in Danville, California, Tao House, is also preserved as a museum, as part of the Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site. The home, in which O'Neill wrote some of his most celebrated plays, including The Iceman Cometh and Long Day's Journey Into Night, is open to visitors, and houses a vast collection of archival materials related to O'Neill and his works.


It's a great game - the pursuit of happiness.

- Eugene O'Neill, The Iceman Cometh

AWM Trivia Contest - Enter to win $25 and AWM Posters

Which Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American author designed her own tombstone, electing to represent her name in Chinese characters, rather than English?  


Submit your answer here for the chance to win. A winner will be drawn randomly from the correct respondents to receive the $25 prize, and the runners-up will each receive an AWM poster. 

Thanks to all our donors, patrons, affiliates, and friends for your ongoing support!


The mission of the American Writers Museum is to engage the public in celebrating American writers and exploring their influence on our history, our identity, our culture, and our daily lives.
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