The literary events at the
"These events become really important," observed author Luis Urrea, whose novel "Into the Beautiful North" has been selected for the National Endowment for the Arts' national Big Read program, and who will speak at the festival Nov. 3 about a new generation of Latino writers. "The industry is getting dinged a little bit, and authors are not getting the kind of extensive book tours they used to get. (The festival) brings literature to the people. It offers an opportunity for you to see someone new or a paired with a familiar or favorite author."
This piece first ran in Printers Row Journal, delivered to Printers Row members with the Sunday
This connection enhances the reading experience, said Ian Frazier, who will be discussing his new comic novel, "The Cursing Mommy's Book of Days," on Nov. 10. "There is so much text out there and competition for your attention," he said. "I find it easier to read something if I have a personal connection (with the author). It's a way to get a running start into the text."
Literature has always been one of the core offerings of the festival, said Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins, director of programming. "It transcends categories and crosses borders between the academic and pop culture worlds. Most people are fascinated by the creative mind and love any opportunity to peek inside. We think the public's appetite for face-to-face conversation is growing, despite our increasingly digital lives."
Frazier agrees. "I think computers make people lonely," he said. "While you are in touch with people and getting these little thrills of contact, they are remote. For some reason, it makes people very eager to get together. I go into the main reading room of the public library in
For book lovers who want to indulge their passion together, here is a guide to some of the festival's best literary bets. Even though some events may sell out ahead of time, tickets are sometimes be available at the door. The lower of each price listed is the teacher/student price. For more information, visit chicagohumanities.org or call 312-494-9509.
Luis Urrea and Cristina Henriquez
When the festival asked Urrea —
Beyond Macondo: Contemporary Latino Fiction (Event No. 412), 2 p.m. Nov. 3, University of Illinois at Chicago Forum, Main Hall AB, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., $5-$10.
A favorite of the
Ian Frazier on the American Family (Event No. 702), 11 a.m. Nov. 10, First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington St., $5-$10.
Mary Kate Barley-Jenkins calls Helprin "a renaissance writer" acclaimed for his short stories, novels and children's books. Helprin will discuss his new novel, "In Sunlight and in Shadow," with Trib Nation manager James Janega.
Printer's Row, In Sunlight and in Shadow (Event No. 515), 7:30 p.m., Nov. 4, Francis W. Parker School, 2233 N. Clark St., $5-$15.
Waldman, who has been called "the hardest working woman in poetry" by Chicago-based writer Rowland Saifi, will give a performance. She has been hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "a countercultural giant" and has written 40 poetry collections, including "Fast Speaking Woman." An Outrider, Waldman wrote, is one who "rides the edge — parallel to the mainstream, is the shadow to the mainstream, is the consciousness or soul of the mainstream whether it recognizes its existence or not."
Poetic Outrider: A Performance with Anne Waldman (Event No. 206), 3:30 p.m., Oct. 21, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, Performance Penthouse, 9th Floor, 915 E. 60th St. (sold out).
Rotella, a Boston University professor, contributor to
Boxing: Going for the Head (Event No. 508), 1:30 p.m. Nov. 4,
Booklist senior editor Donna Seaman will join the award-winning author of "Bastard Out of Carolina" and "Cavedweller" in conversation about the Southern storytelling tradition and the role class, gender and sexuality have played in her works.
The Power of the Writer's Voice (Event No. 401), 10:30 a.m., Nov. 3, Harold Washington Library Center, Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State St., $5-$10.
August Wilson's America
Chicago and playwright August Wilson are inextricably linked. The
(Event No. 513) 3:30 p.m. Nov. 4, Harold Washington Library Center, $5-$10.
"Expect a high-velocity, whip-smart battle of ideas that is massively entertaining," says Belknap, monologist and founder of WRITE CLUB. The event consists of two writers/performers arguing for or against certain topics over the course of three 14-minute "bouts." What kinds of topics? Fire vs. Ice, Comedy vs. Tragedy, Roots vs. Branches. The audience decides the winner. "Think debate club where you don't have to fight fair or stick to the facts. It's a showcase for some of the city's sharpest wits in all their bare-knuckled, butt-kicking splendor. To the winning idea goes the glory; the losing idea gets to pick its teeth off the canvas."
WRITE CLUB (Event No. 517), 6 p.m. Nov. 4, Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior St., $5-$10.
Harjo, a Tulsa, Okla., native of Muskogee Nation heritage, is the author of seven books of poetry, the best known of which is the award-winning "In Mad Love and War." Her memoir, "Crazy Brave," was published in July.
Crazy Brave: The Life and Poetry of Joy Harjo (Event No. 504), noon Nov. 4, Poetry Foundation, $5-$10.
The Case for Henry Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" (Event No. 806), 2 p.m. Nov. 11, Francis W. Parker School, 2233 N Clark St., Free-$5.
The Chicago Tribune presents its 2012 Literary Prize to Wiesel, a tireless human rights activist and author of more than 50 fiction and nonfiction books, including the seminal Holocaust memoir "Night." He has received the
2012 Chicago Tribune Literary Prize: Elie Wiesel (Event No. 800), 10 a.m., Nov. 11, Symphony Center Armour Stage, 220 S.
The Chicago Tribune presents its 2012 Heartland Prize for Fiction, which honors recent works "embodying the spirit of the nation's heartland," to Richard Ford's best-selling novel "Canada." The novel begins: "First I'll tell you about the robbery our parents committed. Then, about the murders, which happened later." Ford is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the trilogy "The Sportswriter," "Independence Day" and "The Lay of the Land."
2012 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize (Event No. 814), 6 p.m., Nov. 11,
The Chicago Tribune presents its 2012 Heartland Prize for Nonfiction to Hendrickson for "Hemingway's Boat," his triumphant and unconventional biography of