Friday, August 12, 2022 Aug 12, 2022
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By Sally Stitch |

BOOKS In a world of glossy magazines, Literary Sketches is about as unhip as you can get. This four-page, blue-and-white newsletter, published in Dallas, is a sort of Parade magazine for eggheads. It profiles both popular and obscure writers, like SAMUEL JOHNSON and ANDREW LANG, Scottish man of letters.

Literary Sketches is celebrating its 30th year, its format essentially unchanged in three decades and its 500 subscribers loyal to the product. These intellectual diehards subscribe because of a love of Good Literature and a desire to know more about those who create it.

Editor OLIVIA M. NICHOLS calls Literary Sketches her labor of love, a fair description since she just breaks even each month. Her pleasure comes in finding out the inside poop on a writer such as FRANCES GAITHER, whose novel Muscadine was one of the Book-of-the-Month Club selections in 1949. “Granted, that’s kind of obscure,” Nichols says, “but it was fun doing the research.”

Generally, Nichols writes about authors who arc more ac-cessible than Gaither-like World War II correspondent ERNIE PYLE-though the ar-ticles always stress lesser-known aspects of well-known writers and their lives-“not encyclopedia stuff.” And because her readers are so literate themselves, she has to be meticulous in her research. “If I make a mistake, I’m sure to hear about it immediately.”

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