Literary Lady

National book-award winner waxes nostalgic about her career.

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Author Anne Fadiman thinks a new bookstore should scream bright lights and alphabetical book titles, while a secondhand shop should be more "chaotic," with at least one cat asleep in the corner. There's no telling how the National Book Critics Circle Award winner will size up the Cleveland Public Library today, when she talks about her career as a writer, editor, and publisher.The 54-year-old Fadiman is no stranger to the literary set. She's the daughter of radio-and-TV personality Clifton Fadiman and World War II correspondent and author Annalee Jacoby Fadiman. By 1997, she had written The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, about a Laotian family whose three-month-old daughter battles a severe case of epilepsy. The story continues to be used in college writing classes as a classic example of cultural sensitivity. She followed up the work in 1998 with Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, for which she cherry-picked essays she'd written for the Library of Congress' magazine, Civilization.Between 1998 and 2004, Fadiman edited Phi Beta Kappa's quarterly public-affairs periodical, The American Scholar. And last year, she published another collection of essays, At Large and at Small, which Publishers Weekly summed up as "a perfectly faceted little gem" of a book. Fadiman lectures at 2 this afternoon at the Cleveland Public Library's Main Branch, 325 Superior Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-623-2800 or visit
Sun., May 4, 2 p.m., 2008
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