Newbery goes to ‘Last Stop’


Matt de la Pena won the Newbery Medal for the best children’s book of 2015, “Last Stop on Market Street.”

De la Pena, a  California native who lives in Brooklyn, is a frequent visitor to such Austin locales as the Writing Barn and the Texas Book Festival.

The book deals with race and class and is illustrated by Christian Robinson. It was also a finalist for the Caldecott Medal, which was award to “Finding Winnie,” written by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. It’s about the writings of A.A. Milne, author of “Winnie the Pooh.”

Both awards were announced Monday by the American Library Association, which is meeting in Boston this week.


The Newbery and Caldecott awards are among the most cherished in children’s literature. They were announced Monday by the American Library Association, which has gathered in Boston for its annual midwinter meeting.

Lifetime achievement awards were given to illustrator Jerry Pinckney and novelist David Levithan.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of “Between the World and Me,” was among 10 winners of the Alex prize for adult books that appeal to teens.

Rita Williams-Garcia won the Coretta Scott King Award for the best book by an African-American writer. Williams-Garcia was cited for “Gone Crazy in Alabama,” the third of a trilogy about the Gaither sisters.

Laura Ruby’s “Bone Gap” won the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.

The Belpre award for best Latino/Latina book was given to “Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir,” written by Margarita Engle. Rafael Lopez won the Belpre illustrator prize for “The Drum Dream Girl,” written by Margarita Engle.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MLA convention coming to Austin

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Rolando Hinojosa at his office in Parlin Hall at UT on Wednesday April 30, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

More than 7,500 scholars will hold their first-ever meeting in Austin this week as part of the annual Modern Language Association convention, with about 840 sessions featuring the presentation of academic papers, debates of cultural interpretations of literature and interviews with such noted writers as Colm Toibin and Rolando Hinojosa.

Several of the sessions will be open to the public. Look for a detailed story about the convention in this week’s Austin American-Statesman.

The convention starts Thursday and lasts through Sunday. Most events are at the Austin Convention Center and the JW Marriott downtown.

Also available: a $10 day pass to visit with exhibitors, including 90 publishers, at the convention center downtown.

Here’s a listing of the public events:

1:45 p.m. Thursday, 203, JW Marriott: The Austin Music Scene and Its Publics: Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin, Doug Sahm, and Friends. Panelists focus on the political, social and cultural significance of Austin music. With performances by Kimmie Rhodes and Bobby Earl Smith.

10:15 a.m. Friday, Lone Star D, JW Marriott: Presidential Plenary: Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future. By “publics,” the MLA means audiences, and the speakers at the session include Albert Russell Ascoli of the University of California-Berkeley, Bruce Wood Holsinger of the University of Virginia, Deidre Shauna Lynch of Harvard, Marjorie Gabrielle Perloff of Stanford and Ato Quayson of the University of Toronto.

1:45 p.m. Friday, 16A, Austin Convention Center: The Novelist, the Critic, and the Public: An Interview with Colm Toibin. The author of “Nora Webster” and “On Elizabeth Bishop” talks with Stephen Burt of Harvard.

1:45 p.m. Saturday, Lone Star G-H, JW Marriott: A Creative Conversation with Bill Bradley. The former U.S. senator discusses the need for more involved citizens with Kathleen Woodward of the University of Washington-Seattle.

10:15 a.m. Saturday, 4BC of the Austin Convention Center: Rolando Hinojosa: A Celebration of His Life and Work. Speakers include Hinojosa, the longtime University of Texas professor and writer; Norma Elia Cantu of the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Arturo Madrid of Trinity University; and Ralph Edward Rodriguez of Brown University.

1:45 p.m. Saturday, 16A, Austin Convention Center: Writing (on) the Border: A Creative Conversation with Oscar Casares and Rolando Hinojosa.

1:45 p.m. Saturday, Lone Star D, JW Marriott: Grammatology in the Global: Past/Future (Spivak Reopens the Book). This session reflects on the historical, philosophical, political, and literary trajectories and diverse publics of “Of Grammatology” on the 40th anniversary of its English translation by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Panelists discuss the book’s timeliness for interdisciplinary humanities.

3:30 p.m. Saturday, Brazos, JW Marriott: The Artist as Interpreter: An Interview with Caetano Veloso. Marjorie Gabrielle Perloff of Stanford talks with Veloso, the Brazilian singer-songwriter who’s a founder of the Tropicalismo movement.

7 p.m. Saturday, 401, JW Marriott: Regarding Susan Sontag. The special event focuses on the 2014 documentary, “Regarding Susan Sontag,” with independent filmmaker Nancy Kates and Ellen Spiro of the University of Texas.

7 p.m. Saturday, Lone Star A: A Poetry Reading by Antonio Cicero. The Brazilian writer is the author of several books of poetry and philosophy.

10:15 a.m. Sunday, 18D, Austin Convention Center: Austin Authors of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures: Past, Present, and Future. Panelists introduce younger scholars and critics to the beginnings of commonwealth and postcolonial literatures at the University of Texas, and to the importance of these beginnings to current conversations regarding global literatures and their futures.

UT paid $2.2 million for Garcia Marquez archive

The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas said Wednesday that it spent $2.2 million to acquire the archive of Latin American literary giant Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

It was ordered to do so by the office of the Texas attorney general Feb. 19, in response to freedom of information requests filed by the Austin American-Statesman and the Associated Press.


UT tries to keep Garcia Marquez archive price secret

The University of Texas has informed the Austin American-Statesman and the Associated Press that it is refusing to release the contract and purchase price for the archive of Colombian novelist and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Both organizations asked for the information after the Ransom Center at the university said it acquired the archive in late November.

Gabriel García Márquez in 2002
Gabriel García Márquez in 2002

The university is asking Attorney General Greg Abbott for permission to keep those details secret.

In its letter to Abbott, the university said that “the responsive documents have applicable exceptions to disclosure. Accordingly, we reserve all the listed exceptions in the Public Information Act and those captured by ‘other law’ in Section 552.101 of the Texas Government Code.”

The university said in its letter to Abbott that it “will seek to withhold responsive documents pending review by your office.”

In the past, the university has complied with the Public Information Act when asked to disclose the purchase price of various archives at the Ransom Center. The refusal in the case of the Garcia Marquez archive is unusual. But the university maintains that the disclosure of the sale price might drive up costs for future acquisitions. So it’s reasonable to think that the purchase price might have been relatively high, perhaps more than $1 million.

The Garcia Marquez archive was one of the most notable Latin American literary treasure troves to come up for acquisition in recent decades. Garcia Marquez, a Colombian who lived in Mexico and is perhaps best known for his novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” was an outspoken opponent of U.S. international policy, and some Latin scholars have bemoaned in recent years the mass migration of Latin American cultural documents to the United States.

A ruling on the matter from the attorney general’s office is expected in about 45 business days