June 2011

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Andromeda Romano-Lax posted a blog entry on a website called 49 Writers that lists the books John Updike was reading at the time of his death in 2009—apparently in preparation for an unfinished novel he was writing.

Here’s the link.

Adam Begley, who is under contract to produce an as-yet-untitled biography of John Updike for HarperCollins, writes that the work is going well and that there’s enthusiastic support for the project. In addition to a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship that got him started, he has received a 2011-12 fellowship from The Leon Levy Center for Biography, based on a section from the third chapter that he submitted. The chapter details the 18 months that Updike spent in New York City.

Research is progressing nicely, Begley says, adding that he still was work to do in Pennsylvania and that he’s in the middle of a long fourth chapter about Ipswich. “I spend most of every day with John Updike,” Begley writes, “and after more than two years I can report that I haven’t been bored for a minute.”

Begley says he’s hoping to have a first draft completed by the end of June 2012 so he will be free when new Updike materials at the Houghton Library become available to researchers in July 2012. Publication of the biography is set for sometime in 2013.

The whole Society will gather in Boston in June 2012, but this year at ALA the two panels sponsored by the Society were full of great papers that provoked interesting discussions. Here are the minutes-5-28-2011-1 from the business meeting. They won’t be approved until the next meeting. Thanks to Judie Newman, Peter Bailey, Ed Allen, Brian Steffen, Richard Androne, Kangqin Li, John McTavish, and Quentin MIller for participating.

He’s not the first to do so, but British journalist and America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan pulled out a copy of John Updike’s Marry Me when it came time to pop the question. His now-fiancé is apparently quite the Updike fan. Here’s the STV article. Thanks to Jack De Bellis for drawing it to our attention.