Hear ye! News, good news with no bad news following. Ann Tyler has finished her newest novel. The other day, her agent delivered the manuscript to her editor at Alfred A. Knopf. Things are better off in New York City than you thought.
All this is without attribution. No film at 11; not even a publicity release. The book's title has still to be decided. Is her setting once again Baltimore? Seems as if.
But wait: Before shipments to bookstores, or the accepting of reserves at public libraries, one year must go by. Knopf (frozen-faced, but inwardly jubilant) figures on Anne Tyler for its 1991 fall list.
*If you like countdowns, 93 days to go until the next Mencken event -- everyone's first glimpse into the 1991 installment of H. L. Mencken's unpublished writings. Jan. 29, 1956 (the date of his death) plus 35 years (as stipulated in his will) equals only three more months.
Then, at Enoch Pratt Central Library, the ceremony of bringing out from the vault the last two bales of typescript, the first in 10 years; of snipping the metal bands securing them. The titles? "Thirty-Five Years of Newspaper Work, 1906-1941" and "My Life as Author and Editor."
Unquestionably, many a Menckenian will want to be there, and many a member of the news media. Which of his old colleagues will H.L.M. skewer this time? (Or pat on the back?) The high acid content of his last previous installment, the 1930-1948 "Diary" -- as opened in 1981 but published only last year -- guarantees
attention from the seekers of sensations. Less pushy but also eager are the authors of the several projected biographies and literary studies.
At Pratt, with queries already coming in, no details have been announced. After the ceremony -- on the date to be announced by the library -- when will the public have a chance to read this latest augmentation of the Mencken canon? The publisher (again, Alfred A. Knopf) must first decide whether, let alone how much, it chooses to publish.
* "Menckeniana" is the title of a new, intermittent dealer catalog issued by Jeanne and George Clark (R.R. 2, Box 197A, Pike, N.H. 03780). This one offers 89 items, from "A Book of Prefaces" (c. 1924, $12 to $100), to Vol. I, No. 1 ($15) of the quarterly Mencken journal founded by Betty Adler in 1962. Its name, too, is
The Friends of the Goucher College Library, headed by Evelyn Schroedl, holds an annual book symposium; this time, on "The Mystery Novel: The Woman in Question," Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, in Goucher's Latzer Room; two speakers and an Open Circle Theater presentation. Fee, $15, to Jennie Ann Gray, 5507 Greenleaf Road, Baltimore 21210.
The Friends of the Enoch Pratt Free Library's annual meeting will next Sunday at 3 p.m., in Central Library's Wheeler Auditorium, with Rebecca Alban Hoffberger, director of Baltimore's oncoming American Visionary Art Museum, as speaker. Officers for 1990-'91: Joseph C. Sullivan, Dana A. Reed, Diane Carliner, Leo Sirota, Margaret Yaffe.
*The annual Sherlock Holmes weekend of the Six Napoleons of Baltimore and the Carlton Club will be Nov. 17-18, at Enoch Pratt Central Library, with a medical theme (e.g., "A Highly Interesting Study of the 263 Strange Deaths and Six Burials" in the Holmes stories, by Marshall Pinnix). Toby Olson of Catonsville is 1990 winner of the Sherlock Holmes School Essay Contest.
* Jaimy Gordon, author of "She Drove Without Stopping," is the Nov. 14 speaker of the Baltimore Writers' Alliance (Grace Methodist Church, Charles Street and Northern Parkway, 7:30 p.m.).
* Elisabeth Stevens, poet, critic and short-story writer, is the author of "Horse and Cart: Stories From the Country" (Wineberry Press, 3207 Macomb St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; paperback, $7.95). These five tales study "the inchoate impulses of the subconscious" in a variety of typical rural people; their quiet lives interact, sometimes direly.
* "Caught Ya! Grammar With a Giggle," by Jane Bell Kiester Maupin House, Box 90148, Gainesville, Fla. 32607; paperback, $14.95), is the work of an old-Baltimorean English teacher who has figured out how to get seventh-grade students interested in vocabulary, spelling, reading, editing, test-taking, library use, handwriting and ancillary skills. In this book, literacy shines.