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Studs Terkel, weekend book festivals and other literary news

October 31, 2008 |  3:32 pm


Studs Terkel has died at 96 at home in Chicago. The author-actor-radio host was an outspoken advocate for liberal causes: "I signed many petitions that were for unfashionable causes and never retracted," he once said. His oral history "Division Street: America" was a 1967 bestseller; his (probable) last, "P.S.: Further Thoughts from a Lifetime of Listening" is due out this year.

In San Francisco, the Alternative Press Expo and JCC BookFest will provide literary respite from the Halloween-heavy weekend. Highlights include Etgar Keret at the latter and graphic novelist Chris Ware being interviewed by Eli Horowitz from McSweeney's at the former.

As San Francisco goes, so does Texas -- at least this once. This weekend will also mark the Texas Book Festival in Austin. Robert Caro, William Least Heat-Moon and Andre Dubus III are on the schedule, along with LA-based authors Mark Sarvas and Sandra Tsing Loh.

The Atlantic plows through its archives and unearths writing on the Great Depression from the Great Depression. The upshot? Depressingly similar to today's writing about banking and the economy.

Another author has also left us: William Wharton, a painter and the author of "Birdy," among other novels, died Wednesday in Encinitas. He was 82.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Chicago Tribune photo of Studs Terkel by Chris Walker