Jim Powell, founder of Indiana Writers Center, dies

Jim Powell was “the real thing.” That’s what comes to my mind when I think of him. No frills, no phoniness, no extra baggage. He brought me back here to do workshops at The Writers Center when I lived in Boston. I later learned – from others, not from Jim, who liked to pat others on the back but never himself – that he had been the main endorser/defender here of my novel Going All The Way when others were disparaging both book and author.

He was one of the best editors I ever knew. I had sent him a long essay I was working on a few days ago, knowing he would understand how and where to cut it and shape it. He had offered to do this even though he knew his time was limited and there was work of his own to be done. His presence here was a gift.

— Dan Wakefield

Release from the Indiana Writers Center

The below is a copy of a release sent by the IWC on January 29, 2020

Honoring Jim Powell

Dear Friends and Writers – I am sad to write with the news that Jim Powell, the founder of Indiana Writers Center, and a great friend to writers, passed away on Monday.

The Indiana Writers Center exists because of Jim’s vision, and his drive and desire to support writers in Indiana. In 1979 Powell breathed life into the organization, and because of his efforts writers have continued to find each other, and the resources they need for success in our community, for over forty years.

If you have memories of Jim, we welcome them, and celebrate his life.

In 2019, Jim published Only Witness, a collection of short stories, through the Indiana Writers Center to commemorate the Center’s 40th anniversary. IWC was grateful and excited to be involved in this lifelong project with him. We talked to Jim about the founding of the organization in this article.

Read Jim Powell’s obituary, including details for his calling, here. Our hearts and thoughts are with Karen, his family, and his many friends. He will be missed.

Sincerely,
Rachel Sahaidachny, IWC Staff, & Board

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Honors for Alan Hague and The Gazette

Alan Hague

Alan and Heidi Huff-Hague

Not many neighborhoods in the city or the state or in the entire United States, have their own historian who provides the current history of the place – as well as reminding us of its past treasures. Alan Hague fills that unique role as publisher of The Broad Ripple Gazette, which he founded in 2004. He has just been honored by The Indiana Historical Society with The Hubert Hawkins History Award, given to “a local historian for his or her distinguished service.”

As a reader of the bi-weekly Gazette – and a graduate of School #80 (now a condo at 62nd and Guildford) – I am most entranced by its features that delve into the neighborhood’s past, like a history of The Vogue theater, which brought back memories of the countless Saturday afternoons I spent watching double features, newsreels, and serial episodes of long-gone heroes like Buck Rogers and The Lone Ranger.

The Gazette’s series on The Canal was not only informative on every aspect of that waterway, it dredged up memories of my Cousin Junior, who used to take a bamboo pole with a hook and a line and go fishing there.

In the very issue of The Gazette that was out when Alan Hague received the Historical Society award he published Part Two of “The History of Car Dealers in Broad Ripple” that is being told by his cousin Glen Hague – who was my classmate at School #80.

Note to Alan Hague:

Please tell your cousin Glen I was having chili in The Red Key last week when four people came over to my table to ask me “Were you a student of Miss Day?”

They had all been students of Roxie Lingle Day at School #80 – I was proud to answer that I was in the very first First Grade class taught by Miss. Day – and so was Glen Hague, cousin of Alan.

It’s a neighborhood with a deep history. We are lucky to have our own award-winning historian.

Of course, there is far more than geezer-bait history in the Gazette’ pages – as The Historical Society’ award notes, there are “stories on education, entertainment, transportation” and the never-ending zoning battles. And to keep you up to date on where to go and what to see, the ubiquitous Nora Spitznagel is “Buzzing Around Town.”

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Susan Neville Goes “Into The Fire”

Into the Fire by Susan NevilleSusan Neville, the Butler professor/author who happens to be The Most Under-Rated Important Writer in Indianapolis – and Indiana, and The Midwest and The United States – has a dynamite new essay that was chosen as a “Solo” for the literary magazine Ploughshares.

“Into the Fire” is the title of the essay and Neville goes “into the fire” of her family’s past.

In old family letters from both her mother and her father’s side of the family, she comes across black and white photos of burning crosses – the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan.

Nevile acts as a literary detective to discover the female member of her family during the 1920s who was part of the women’s division of the Klan. (The Klan had its greatest stronghold in Indiana in the 1920s, and many women were part of it.)

Neville not only finds the likely Klanswoman (one she would have least suspected) but more importantly, she takes on the responsibility of her ancestorship, asking “What does this mean for me? Who am I?” as a white citizen in today’s world?

The essay is only available now as an ebook, and it is worth every cent of your $1.99.

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Dan Wakefield

Dan Wakefield