University of Memphis Magazine
University of Memphis Photo
Spring 2010 Features


Leaping forward
Spin cycle
Flight patterns
Man on a mission
The unvanquished

The Columns: Alumni Review
Brush strokes
That perfect season
Ann Olswanger
Ann Olswanger
Award-winning author Ann Olswanger (MA) has proven she is creative when putting words on a page. But her latest venture is digital and honors her dad. Olswanger created a website,, about her father, well-known Memphis musician Berl Olswanger, who died in 1981. Berl earned his bachelor’s degree in music from then-Memphis State College in 1943 and his MA in 1960. When he served in the Navy during World War II, Berl became Admiral William “Bull” Halsey’s entertainment officer for the South Pacific and accompanied such stars as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Jack Benny. After a brief stint in New York, he returned to Memphis where he enjoyed a successful career in local radio and television as a composer, orchestra leader and music store owner. Anna is the rights-holder and licenser for Berl’s music. The Berl Olswanger Scholarship at the University of Memphis is awarded to an undergraduate student in the College of Communication and Fine Arts with an interest in music.

Anna is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates in New York, specializing in illustrated work, fiction and nonfiction for young readers and adults. She is the author of two children’s books. Shlemiel Crooks is a Passover folk tale set in 1919 St. Louis. The ghost of pharaoh tries to sabotage Passover by convincing two bumbling thieves to steal the Passover wine from a kosher wine store, and is based on a true story involving Anna’s great-grandfather. Chicken Bone Man, a story about a “kid” pianist (Berl) in 1920 Memphis, won the second annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Short Story Contest. Next spring the Kaufman Center in New York will produce a musical based on the two books.

Ann Olswanger
Ann Olswanger
Anna has created resources for books of Jewish interest, including an online discussion group for authors and illustrators of children’s books and marketing professionals in the book world, as well as a “Host a Jewish Book Author” website. Anna also has published Jewish-themed miniature books for Judaica collectors. She taught “business writing” at the Johns Hopkins Center for Training and Education for 12 years and “writing for physicians” for five years at Stony Brook University Hospital. She continues to give writing workshops for corporations and universities.

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