Malibu Surfside News

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

City and County Rush to Ready Library for Grand Reopening Event

• Malibu Community Invited to Participate in Official Dedication Ceremony for the Remodel on April 22 at 11 a.m.

BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN

The City of Malibu will be celebrating the official grand opening of the newly remodeled Malibu Library, 23519 West Civic Center Way, on Sunday, April 22, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Malibu culinary godmother and cookbook author Dolores Rivellino; surf magazine editor Ben Marcus; Victorian detective and horror genre authority Leslie S. Klinger; Point Dume novelist Katie Arnoldi; artist, actor and new age author Leigh J. McCloskey; parenting guru and writer Susan Stiffelman; photographic artist Vicki King, and animator and children’s book illustrator Dan Hanna will be representing Malibu’s long, storied and remarkable literary tradition at the grand reopening of the Malibu Library on April 22.
Malibu has been home to an astonishing number—and variety—of writers in every genre and a full list would provide enough material to fill several volumes of its own.
In anticipation of the library reopening, the Malibu Surfside News has profiled the lives of a number of historic Malibu authors over the past year, including Lawrence Clark Powell, Frederick Hastings Rindge, Madeleine Ruthven, John Fante, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Phillip Dunne.
Speculative fiction author and bestseller Michael Crichton, 1942-2008, had a house in Malibu in the 1970s and ’80s. “Congo” was written during his Malibu years. So too were “Sphere” and a non-fiction book titled “Travels.”
Novelist Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne, who was a novelist, screenwriter and critic, lived in Malibu in the 1970s. Didion’s reflections on Malibu are, however, largely bitter and tinged with grief.
Crime writer and Edgar Award-winner Ross Thomas, 1926-95, embraced life in Malibu with enthusiasm, taking a keen interest in local issues. The author of “Chinaman’s Chance” and “Twilight at Mac’s Place” wrote many of his 20 novels in Malibu and was a regular at Malibu Books and Company, the community’s original independent bookstore.
Screenwriter and novelist Myles Connolly, 1897-1964, is best remembered today for his novel “Mr Blue,” published in 1929, was reportedly famed for his Malibu Colony parties.
Malibu literary luminaries of the past include New Yorker cartoonist and writer Leo Callum; poet, essayist Emery Tang; Monsignor John Sheridan, who in addition to being Our Lady of Malibu’s pastor for many decades, wrote numerous books, essays and radio broadcasts; and Melinda Popham, whose novel “Skywater,” became a runaway best seller; “Gidget” creator Frederick Kohner; and actress and writer Julie Andrews Edwards, who wrote her second children’s book “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles” while she and husband Blake Edwards lived in Malibu in the 1970s.
Other Malibu actors who have penned autobiographies include Ali MacGraw, Jill Ireland, Burgess Meredith, Patrick McNee, Paul Mantee, and Dick Van Dyke.
There are numerous other writers who also make—or have made—Malibu their home.
Van Dyke and actor Pierce Brosnan will join city and county officials at the dedication ceremony on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Refreshments will be available following the ceremony, and the public will have an opportunity to explore the library’s new features, which include new computers, a reading garden accessed through a wall of folding glass doors, a reconfigured community room with patio and kitchen, ocean-themed teen and children’s reading areas, and a permanent Friends of the Malibu Library bookstore.
The Malibu Library collection, in storage for more than a year, will be back on the shelves, and the extensive, 3000-plus volume, Arkel Erb collection of mountaineering books will also be back in its old home.
A new collection will focus on surfing and the marine environment, library officials say.
The next generation of Malibu writers will have a novel opportunity to test their mettle at the grand opening event.
Malibu business leader Steve Soboroff is lending his collection of typewriters formerly owned by notable writers ranging from Ernest Hemingway and Ray Bradbury to Andy Rooney and George Barnard Shaw to the library for the event.
Aspiring writers who are willing to make a donation to the Emily Shane Foundation can try their hand at typing their own memorable first line, whether “Call me Ishmael” or “It was a dark and stormy night.”

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