Early Society of Midland Authors (SMA) members (from left to right) Jane Addams, Clarence Darrow, Edgar Lee Masters, Harriet Monroe, Ring Lardner and Vachel Lindsay. Image taken from SMA’s Blog.
This April the Society of Midland Authors will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Founded in 1915 by a group of 50 Midwestern writers, the SMA sought to achieve “a closer association among the writers of the Middle West” and “the stimulation of creative literary effort.” Throughout the years they have hosted literary events to honor authors with strong ties to the Midwestern region, such as Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Jane Smiley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Louise Erdrich, and Roger Ebert.
This spring the association has two events planned to commemorate the centenary. First, the SMA will be holding its usual annual awards banquet, which honors the best books of 2014 by Midwestern authors. Then, on May 2, SMA will host a celebration for their 100th birthday in Chicago, with a day of literary speakers and panelists, including Booklist‘s own Books for Youth Editor, Ilene Cooper. While you have to purchase tickets for the awards, admission to the second event is entirely free—although it would be wise to bring some spare cash as some attendees will be selling their books there. For more information on either of these events, visit the SMA’s website, or check them out on Facebook and Twitter.