We are delighted to have Roxane Gay back at Women & Children First. This time, she'll be joined by the incredible Bonnie Jo Campbell and April Lindala.
The universal quest to discover what happens when life
ends is one that acclaimed author and grief therapist Claire Bidwell
Smith encounters every day in her private practice. Having lost both her
parents by age 25, it is also one that hits home. In AFTER THIS, an
exploration of the afterlife that is part personal, part prescriptive –
Smith invites us on her journey into the unknown.
Chronicling our steps along the path that bridges this world and the next, Smith undergoes past-life regressions and sessions with mediums and psychics and immerses herself in the ceremonies of organized religion and the rigor of scientific experiments to try and find answers to life’s most unanswerable questions.
Drawing on her personal losses, chronicled in her memoir The Rules of Inheritance, as well as her background working in hospice as a bereavement counselor, Smith attempts to show how exploring the afterlife can have a positive impact on the grief process.
Brave, profound, and ultimately inspiring, AFTER THIS is unique in the power of the personal journey that underlies the book’s message: What we believe about what happens next affects everything about how we live – and love – right now.
Claire Bidwell Smith is the author of The Rules of Inheritance and
After This. The Rules of Inheritance has been published in seventeen countries and is currently being adapted for film. Claire has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a therapist specializing in grief. She regularly teaches writing workshops and gives talks on both writing and grief. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Huffington Post, Slate, Salon.com, Chicago Public Radio and BlackBook. She lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters.
As a major hurricane threatens the northeast, math professor Gandalf Cohen is abducted by federal agents and flown to a secret interrogation center off the coast of Maine. Austin Coombs, a young local resident, is a newly hired civilian guard assigned to the detention center. Henry Ames, a man of personal secrets, is the FBI special agent in charge of Gandalf's case and doubts the professor's terrorist involvement; Tobias, his second-in-command, disagrees, preferring violent interrogation. As the hurricane slams the shore, conflict detonates and each character must choose a side if they're to survive the storm.
Told over the five days approaching the anniversary of 9/11, by varying voices on both extremes of the political divide, On Hurricane Island is both a fast-paced political thriller and a literary examination of the sociopolitical storm facing our society.
Ellen Meeropol's characters live on the fault lines of political turmoil and human connection. She is the author of one previous novel, House Arrest. Her short fiction and essays have been
published in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, The Rumpus, Portland
Magazine, Beyond the Margins, The Drum, and The Writer's Chronicle. A former pediatric nurse practitioner and part-time bookseller, Ellen holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast program at the University of Southern Maine. She lives in Western Massachusetts.
When Johnquell, an African American teen, suffers a
serious accident in the home of his white neighbor, Mrs. Czernicki, his
community must find ways to bridge divisions between black and white,
gay and straight, old and young. Set in one of the nation’s most highly
segregated cities—Milwaukee, Wisconsin—Meet Me Halfway tells stories of
connections in a community with a tumultuous and divided past. In nine
stories told from diverse perspectives, Jennifer Morales captures a Rust
Belt city’s struggle to establish a common ground and a collective
vision of the future.
As an activist mother in the thick of
Milwaukee politics, Morales developed a keen ear and a tender heart for
the kids who have inherited the city’s
troubled racial legacy. With a critical eye on promises unfulfilled,
Meet Me Halfway raises questions about the notion of a “postracial”
society and, with humor and compassion, lifts up the day-to-day work
needed to get there.
Jennifer Morales lived for more than
twenty years in Milwaukee, where she raised children and served on the
Milwaukee Board of School Directors—the first Latino/a elected to it.
She earned her MFA from Antioch University–Los Angeles. She now lives in
Viroqua, Wisconsin, and is a board member of the Council for Wisconsin
Writers and the Driftless Writing Center.
In 2010, Ann Imig
organized a staged reading in Madison, Wisconsin, to bring together
mothers and non-mothers alike to speak honestly and openly about
motherhood, family, childhood, and parenting. This one event quickly
grew into an annual national performance, with nearly 40 events
scheduled for May of 2015. Now, in Listen To Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We're Saying Now,
Imig brings 56 of these essays from stage to page. For this event, six
of the Chicago-area contributors to this anthology will share their
stories, ranging from the hilarious to heartbreaking. This collection
celebrates and validates what it means to be a mother today, with
refreshing candor and humor. The stories address everything from
adoption to step-mothering; from first-time motherhood to empty-nesting,
and touch on topics of infertility, single-parenting, LGBTQ parenting,
and more. What better way to honor Mother's Day than by attending this
thoughtful and heartwarming event!
Lori Horvitz grew up ashamed of her Eastern European Jewish roots,
confused about her sexuality, and idolizing the "shiksa in her living
room," a blonde all-American girl whose photo came in a double frame and
was displayed next to a family photo from a bar mitzvah. Unable to join
the "happy blonde families," she becomes a "hippie chick" who travels
the world in search of … something. The Girls of Usually
chronicles each trip, each romance, each experiment in reinventing
herself that draws her closer to discovering the secret door through
which she can escape from deep-rooted patterns and accept her own
cultural, ethnic, and sexual identity.
Being caring and compassionate is important—but too many women allow the weight of others’ needs to press so hard on them that they find they often fail to speak up for what they want and need. And women do this all the time. It’s time for these women to stop worrying quite so much about everyone else—and start taking care of themselves.
In Stop Giving It Away, therapist Cherilynn Veland utilizes her twenty-plus years of counseling experience to untangle what binds so many women to other people’s needs, wants, and expectations, and to build a case for what these women can do to make changes that will help them live more fulfilling personal and professional lives. Illustrating her points with real-life stories of women who—to the detriment of their relationships and personal happiness—have given away too much at home and at work, Veland provides readers with a toolkit for recognizing and analyzing unhealthy behaviors, developing healthy relationship strategies, and setting good personal boundaries. Accessible, entertaining, and illuminating, Stop Giving It Away is a book for every woman who tends to put everyone else first—and herself last.
We're thrilled to host this reading and signing for Jenny Lawson's new memoir!
In The Flipside, 57-year-old Helen Clark and her husband, Steven, stumble across the body of Max Shaw. Unbeknownst to Steven, Max was Helen’s
childhood sweetheart and recent lover, and his presumed suicide plunges her into despair. When Helen begins seeing a therapist, painful recollections begin to surface, and her troubled past is slowly revealed. Kimbeth Wehrli Judge is the author of the short story collection Mothers and Others. She is the mother of three grown children and grandmother of five.Kimbeth lives with her husband in Chicago.
For Gettysburg Replies, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum challenged presidents, judges, historians, filmmakers, poets, actors, and others to craft 272 words of their own to celebrate Lincoln, the Gettysburg Address, and more. In it President Jimmy Carter reveals how the Gettysburg Address helped bring Egypt and Israel closer at the Camp David Peace Accords and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor reflects on Lincoln’s dedication to the importance of civic education. Gettysburg Replies also features images of Lincoln, as well as documents and artifacts, including the first copy of the address that Lincoln wrote out after delivering it. Together, these words and images create a lasting tribute Carla Knorowski, Ph.D., is chief executive officer of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. She conceived and co-curated The Power of Words, an exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum that commemorated the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, which featured essays compiled in this book. Amy Carlson is an actress best known for her roles as Alex Taylor on Third Watch and A.D.A. Kelly Gaffney on Law and Order: Trial by Jury. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Daytime Emmy for her role as Josie Watts in Another World. An active volunteer, she helped found her neighborhood association, SPaCE, and works with the charity Hearts of Gold, supporting homeless women and children. Amy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Baddawi is a coming-of-age story about a young boy
named Ahmad struggling to find his place in the world. Raised in a
refugee camp called Baddawi in northern Lebanon, Ahmad is just one of
the many thousands of children born to Palestinians who fled their
homeland after the war. In this visually arresting graphic novel, Leila
Abdelrazaq explores her father’s childhood in the 1960s and 70s from a
boy’s perspective, as he witnesses the world crumbling around him and
attempts to carry on, forging his own path in the midst of terrible
uncertainty. Leila Abdelrazaq is a Chicago-based Palestinian artist and
organizer. She is a recent graduate of DePaul University where she
double majored in Theatre Arts and Arabic Studies. During her time at
DePaul, Leila served in her chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine
(SJP), helping to pass the DePaul Divest referendum.
Please join us to celebrate the release of Christine Sneed's third book, the novel Paris, He Said, on May 7, 7:30 p.m. The novel focuses on Jayne Marks, a young woman who, eight years after college, moves to Paris to paint and live with an older Frenchman who is her benefactor and lover. Paris, He Said includes a real person as a character: the painter and School of the Art Institute painting instructor Susan Kraut, who is Jayne's mentor in the novel. Susan will be in attendance at the book release party. Refreshments will be served.
Christine Sneed's two previous books include the story collection
Portraits of a Few of the People I've Made Cry and the novel Little Known Facts. She teaches for the graduate creative writing programs at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University.
tracing Michelle Obama’s life from her family’s history (dating back to
slavery) through the White House, Michelle
Obama: A Life provides a portrait of a working mother, who has continually
struggled to balance her duties as a professional with those as a mother and a
wife. Readers learn about her reluctance to enter into political life and what
she has given up, personally and professionally, for Barack’s career. Slevin
also shows how Michelle has effectively carved out a role in the White House as
a denouncer of inequalities. Peter Slevin is a veteran national and
international reporter who spent a decade on the Washington Post's national staff before joining Northwestern's
Medill School of Journalism in 2010. He has written extensively about Barack
Obama's trajectory and has pursued a particular interest on the home front
during the Iraq and Afghan wars, producing pieces about soldiers and their
preparations for war, their return home, and the effect of war on their
families, communities, and public opinion.