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In No Small Feat, She Finds True Stature as a Writer

--The fact that she is only 3 feet, 4 inches tall is not Angela Muir van Etten’s biggest problem. Rather “the No. 1 problem is the limiting attitudes that average-sized people have,” says Van Etten, 35, a New Zealand-born lawyer who lives with her American husband, Robert, 39, in Rochester, N.Y. He is the same height. She tells of interviewers who do not take her job applications seriously, people who will look anywhere but at her, as well as those who cannot stop staring. Such incidents were part of the reason she wrote “Dwarfs Don’t Live in Doll Houses.” In the autobiographical book, self-published 14 months ago (available by mail order from Adaptive Living; P.O. Box 60857; Rochester, N.Y. 14606), Van Etten uses examples from her own life--including elevator buttons that cannot be reached and receptionists who do not realize there is a customer standing just below the level of the counter top--to raise awareness about how to bring up disabled children and how to treat adults who are short of stature. She has sold about 1,200 copies. Van Etten and her husband are among about 1,000 participants at the national conference of the Little People of America Inc. in Baltimore. Robert Van Etten, an engineer, is past president of the group, while his wife is past president of Little People of New Zealand. --Britain’s Prince Charles has been selected by Italy’s Spoleto cultural festival to receive a $715,000 prize--not for his own amateur artworks but because he is “a high international personality who has for some time shown, in various ways, love and respect for the riches of art and nature of Spoleto” and central Italy, festival officials said. British Ambassador Sir Derek Thomas said Charles would use the money to start a fund to provide an annual prize for a promising young Italian musician.

--Smith College, an all-female school in Northampton, Mass., says First Lady Barbara Bush, who studied at the school for a year, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters at the college’s Sept. 6 convocation. College spokeswoman Janet McNeill says the school also has extended a similar invitation to 1943 graduate Nancy Reagan for its winter convocation.


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