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Madison Smartt Bell

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By Stephanie Citron, For The Baltimore Sun | March 29, 2014
It's practically impossible for Americans to learn much about the country of Haiti without running into the works of Goucher College's creative writing professor and award-winning novelist Madison Smartt Bell. Along with a dozen or so published pieces, Bell is widely acclaimed for his Haitian Revolutionary trilogy: "All Souls' Rising," "Master of the Crossroads," and "The Stone that the Builder Refused. " In the course of researching Haiti for his books, Bell has lived among local residents and international relief workers, circumnavigating coups, civil unrest and heartbreaking hardship.
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TRAVEL
By Stephanie Citron, For The Baltimore Sun | March 29, 2014
It's practically impossible for Americans to learn much about the country of Haiti without running into the works of Goucher College's creative writing professor and award-winning novelist Madison Smartt Bell. Along with a dozen or so published pieces, Bell is widely acclaimed for his Haitian Revolutionary trilogy: "All Souls' Rising," "Master of the Crossroads," and "The Stone that the Builder Refused. " In the course of researching Haiti for his books, Bell has lived among local residents and international relief workers, circumnavigating coups, civil unrest and heartbreaking hardship.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | December 7, 2013
The author Madison Smartt Bell's 16th work of fiction, a book of short stories called "Zig Zag Wanderer" is guaranteed to make the author absolutely no money whatsoever. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Not one blessed penny. And he wouldn't have it any other way. Bell's previous 13 novels and two short story collections have been released by mainstream publishers and have been finalists for such prizes as the PEN/Faulkner and National Book awards. He is best known for his trilogy about the Haitian slave uprising of 1791.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun | December 7, 2013
The author Madison Smartt Bell's 16th work of fiction, a book of short stories called "Zig Zag Wanderer" is guaranteed to make the author absolutely no money whatsoever. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Not one blessed penny. And he wouldn't have it any other way. Bell's previous 13 novels and two short story collections have been released by mainstream publishers and have been finalists for such prizes as the PEN/Faulkner and National Book awards. He is best known for his trilogy about the Haitian slave uprising of 1791.
NEWS
By Sandy Alexander and Sandy Alexander,SUN STAFF | October 10, 2002
Novelist Madison Smartt Bell and poet Elizabeth Spires have performed plenty of readings over the more than 20 years they have been publishing their writing. The Baltimore authors, who are married, have even shared the bill a few times. And, with their diverse interests and evolving styles, they keep finding new things to offer audiences. When they appear Oct. 18 at Howard Community College to open the 29th year of the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo), Bell will play guitar and sing to accompany readings from his most recent novel, published this year.
FEATURES
By Molly Knight and Molly Knight,SUN STAFF | January 4, 2005
In this sun-splashed attic in suburban Baltimore, an 18th-century Haiti slave revolt was forged and fought. Tens of thousands were indiscriminately slaughtered; women raped, children mutilated. Plantations were burned and their owners were beheaded. It was a massacre of epic proportions and obscenity, arising from a complex maelstrom of race, caste and imperialism - and all of it spilled from the mind of a Southern-born white novelist while he was sitting in this peaceful attic office - as distant in time, space and character from Haiti's nightmare as might be imagined.
FEATURES
By Carl Schoettler and Carl Schoettler,SUN STAFF | April 17, 1996
WASHINGTON -- Novelist Madison Smartt Bell ascends to the pulpit of the Lutheran church across the street from the Folger Shakespeare Library dressed like an existential outlaw in gray and black punctuated by a skinny tie as blood-red as a recent razor cut.He reads from his book "All Souls' Rising" with the odd, flat diffidence of a hesitant bank robber. His accent recalls faintly his Tennessee birthplace. In the church, there's a hint of the oldtime country and western song about the soldier who uses his deck of cards as a prayerbook.
FEATURES
By GARY DORSEY and GARY DORSEY,SUN STAFF | August 21, 2003
PHILADELPHIA - It was a bright, happy afternoon outside the WXPN radio studios. Madison Smartt Bell, author of often dark, disturbing stories, suddenly looked nervous about taking a seat in front of the microphone. He couldn't have made this up: Not just anybody goes to XPN studios to be recorded; even fewer not-just-anybodies perform with the legendary bassist and record producer Don Dixon. So while two technicians calibrated audio pickups for Bell's first recording on the World Cafe radio show and Dixon-the-legend detached an E string and let it hang from his acoustic guitar - the tap of a dangling string sounded ominously against the moody chord he'd just tuned - the author nervously fingered opening licks to "Layla" on his black Les Paul electric.
NEWS
By MICHAEL HILL and MICHAEL HILL,SUN REPORTER | November 11, 2007
Madison Smartt Bell does not consider himself a Baltimorean. Not yet. Maybe not ever. "I feel like that would be an extravagant claim," the acclaimed novelist says, his Tennessee roots evident in his accent. "I've been here 20 years and that's not that long," Bell says. "In terms of people I consider Baltimoreans, that would be people who were born here and whose parents were born here, too. I'm a Tennessean in that sense." But Bell has become quite fond of Baltimore since moving here in the mid-1980s to join his wife, Elizabeth Spires, a poet.
FEATURES
By Gary Dorsey and Gary Dorsey,SUN STAFF | August 3, 2002
The way it happened, you might have thought the ghost of Kurt Cobain had a hand in this thing, because who would give odds that Madison Smartt Bell, the novelist from Baltimore, would get his own recording contract to sing and play a Les Paul guitar with back-up from Don Dixon, the legendary producer who built successful careers for R.E.M., Marshall Crenshaw and the Smithereens? It shouldn't have happened. But it did. It's real. It's serious. And it started with a dream of Kurt Cobain.
NEWS
By Bob Allen | June 4, 2012
Someone once described the ambition of getting a novel published as "a slender keyhole through which few have passed. " Rodgers Forge resident Eric Goodman has passed through that keyhole, and has found rewards on the other side - on Monday, June 4, he was in New York picking up the 2012 Gold Medal for Best Fiction in the Mid-Atlantic Region in the Independent Publishers Book Awards for his book, "Tracks: A Novel in Stories. " Goodman, 41, wrote his first short story when he was in third grade, and hasn't stopped since.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Mary Carole McCauley | mary.mccauley@baltsun.com | January 15, 2010
Madison Smartt Bell loves Haiti, has many close friends there, and initially rose to prominence because of novels he wrote about the impoverished Caribbean nation. So when an earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter scale struck a country that has had more than its share of bad luck, Bell was worried, heartbroken - and suddenly in demand as a media expert. As he wrote in the British newspaper The Guardian: "Haitians are expert in survival against all odds. They had been doing it for a century before their nation had a name.
NEWS
December 2, 2007
Born and raised in Tennessee, Madison Smartt Bell has lived in New York and in London and now lives in Baltimore. The author of 12 novels, including All Souls Rising, a National Book Award finalist in 1995, Bell is a professor of English and director of the Kratz Center for Creative Writing at Goucher College, where his wife, the poet Elizabeth Spires, also teaches. Last week, Bell received a $250,000 Strauss Living award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award, largest of the academy's literature prizes, is intended to provide the financial means to permit recipients to devote their time to writing for a period of five years.
NEWS
By MICHAEL HILL and MICHAEL HILL,SUN REPORTER | November 11, 2007
Madison Smartt Bell does not consider himself a Baltimorean. Not yet. Maybe not ever. "I feel like that would be an extravagant claim," the acclaimed novelist says, his Tennessee roots evident in his accent. "I've been here 20 years and that's not that long," Bell says. "In terms of people I consider Baltimoreans, that would be people who were born here and whose parents were born here, too. I'm a Tennessean in that sense." But Bell has become quite fond of Baltimore since moving here in the mid-1980s to join his wife, Elizabeth Spires, a poet.
NEWS
By Carl Schoettler and Carl Schoettler,Sun Reporter | March 11, 2007
In his new biography of Toussaint Louverture, Baltimore novelist Madison Smartt Bell says the Haitian revolutionary can "fairly be called the highest-achieving African-American hero of all time." Toussaint led the "only successful slave revolution in recorded history," he says, and founded "the only independent black state in the Western Hemisphere ever to be created by former black slaves." Bell is talking in a third-floor workroom beneath the roof of his Cedarcroft home. He's written many of his books here.
NEWS
February 19, 2006
The Stone That the Builder Refused By Madison Smartt Bell Vintage / 768 pages / $16.95 Taylor Branch isn't the only Baltimore writer to recently complete a monumental trilogy. With this third novel, Madison Smartt Bell brings to an end his panoramic, tempestuous and bloody portrayal of the Haitian rebellion at the dawn of the 19th century.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Laura Lippman and Laura Lippman,Sun Staff | September 2, 2001
Madison Smartt Bell begins the first session of English 306 at Goucher College by drawing two curved, symmetrical objects. He renders these deflated ovals with precise, exacting strokes. His students, however, don't have a clue what he's trying to show them. "Lungs?" is the first tentative guess. No. "Two chili peppers?" Nope. "A pair of squashes?" Uh-uh. The students are stumped. They know the objects must somehow be related to the ostensible subject at hand, creative writing. But until they solve the mystery of the ellipses, there will be no talk of writing, not overtly.
NEWS
February 19, 2006
The Stone That the Builder Refused By Madison Smartt Bell Vintage / 768 pages / $16.95 Taylor Branch isn't the only Baltimore writer to recently complete a monumental trilogy. With this third novel, Madison Smartt Bell brings to an end his panoramic, tempestuous and bloody portrayal of the Haitian rebellion at the dawn of the 19th century.
FEATURES
By Molly Knight and Molly Knight,SUN STAFF | January 4, 2005
In this sun-splashed attic in suburban Baltimore, an 18th-century Haiti slave revolt was forged and fought. Tens of thousands were indiscriminately slaughtered; women raped, children mutilated. Plantations were burned and their owners were beheaded. It was a massacre of epic proportions and obscenity, arising from a complex maelstrom of race, caste and imperialism - and all of it spilled from the mind of a Southern-born white novelist while he was sitting in this peaceful attic office - as distant in time, space and character from Haiti's nightmare as might be imagined.
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