on 4 July 1999
Great feature writing is often notable for its transparency, drawing the reader into the story with the power and immediacy of the subject matter. Not surprising then that the craft and quality of the writing itself is sometimes overlooked. Sims and Kramer have produced an eclectic mix of fine writing which challenge the reader to regard it from the perspective of literary attributes and construction, as well as its fascinating and obscure topics of human interest. These are some of the finest feature journalists in the country, each with his own style and emphasis, and all with the ability to look at small stories with great insight into their human dimensions. It's an excellent book for prospective writers and for anyone interested in stories of sometimes mundane matters which are given transcendant implications by a keen journalistic sense and prowess. (Literary Journalists, another Sims collection from 1984 is also recommended.. it's not dated at all!)
on 19 August 1999
Ted Conover's piece on Africa, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's "Trina and Trina" -- well, basically everything the editors chose was outstanding. What I especially valued were the introductions on the art of "literary journalism" and the introductions to each of the journalists. I'm teaching a workshop this fall at The Writers Center in Bethesda and I'm putting on the reading list with a great big star.