The Paperbark Shoe
Head Off & Split: Poems
Poet Nikky Finney is a professor of creative writing at the University of
Kentucky. Featured on Russell Simmons DEF Poetry Jam, on NPR, and, most recently,
on the cover of Poets & Writers magazine, Finney is author of four volumes of poetry
and a short story collection, and she is editor of the anthology The Ringing Ear: Black
Poets Lean South. Tonight we’ll be celebrating the release of her highly praised new
poetry collection, Head Off & Split, published by Northwestern University/Triquarterly
Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl
Through chapters structured around her tattoos, Stacy Pershall recounts her
childhood and young adulthood. Cast as an outsider in the deep rural south, she tells of her resulting struggles with eating disorders, multiple diagnoses for mental illness, and a
subsequent suicide attempt, which was broadcast live on the Internet. In a whirlwind
journey that is spirited, frightening, and at times mordantly funny, Loud in the House of
Myself is a searing and ultimately uplifting book that will resonate with young people
who feel strange or displaced in their worlds.
Big Girl Small
In her hilarious and heartbreaking third book, Rachel DeWoskin (Foreign Babes
in Beijing) introduces bright and sardonic 16-year-old Judy Lohden. When we first meet
Judy, she is hiding out in a seedy motel on the edge of Ann Arbor, trying to outlast a
media frenzy. From here, she recounts the circumstances that led the three-foot-nine-inch
teen to this situation, which includes falling victim to “the worst Stephen King Carrie
prank in the history of dating.” In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved, “It’s a rare
author who is willing to subject her protagonist to the extreme ranges of degradation and
redemption to which DeWoskin subjects Judy; thankfully, she manages it beautifully.”
Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV
Why are reality TV's stock characters (The Desperate Bachelorette, The Angry
Black Woman, The Douchebag Dude) so regressive? What are Frankenbites and other
open secrets in the reality TV industry? Why does pop culture reduce women and people
of color to such limiting stereotypes? Find out at the first Chicago book reading for
Reality Bites Back. Expect critical media commentary, revealing insights about gender,
race, and class in the entertainment industry, and lots of laughs. Find out why Princeton
professor and MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry says Reality Bites Back "should
be required reading for every American girl and woman."
When a philandering and swindling husband drives Molly Makepeace Jamison to
a little righteous venting on a Voodoo doll, it seems harmless enough. But she
inadvertently taps into something deep and mysterious, with shocking results—and when
a detective lands on her doorstep, Molly is thrust into a position of self-preservation. Yet
as her new choices produce more highs and lows than Chicago weather, she worries that
her Voodoo dalliance has taken on a life of its own.
Michelle LeBeau, child of a white American father and Japanese mother, lives with her grandparents in Deerhorn, Wisconsin – a small town that had been entirely white before her arrival. Rejected and bullied, Michelle spends her time reading, avoiding fights, and roaming the countryside. She idolizes her grandfather, an expert hunter and former minor-league baseball player, who is one of the town’s most respected men. This fragile peace is threatened with the arrival of the Garretts, a young black couple from Chicago. Nina Revoyr is the award-winning author of the novels The Necessary Hunger, Southland, and Age of Dreaming. In the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird, Revoyr’s new novel examines the effects of change on a small, isolated community against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.
Louise W. Knight
Jane Addams: Spirit in Action
Reformer Jane Addams is often dismissively praised as a secular “saint,” but in the early twentieth century she was the nation’s leading political woman and one of its most prominent spokespersons for progressive causes. Co-founder of two major civil rights groups – the NAACP and the ACLU – Addams served on the boards of both until her death. A lifelong pacifist, Addams was widely criticized for her beliefs at the cusp of WWI, but in 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace prize. In her new book and second biography of Addams, Louise W. Knight provides for the first time a complete picture of how Addams came to achieve such huge influence and the role that her moral integrity played in that achievement.
Oyez Review Reading Featuring Cecilia Villarruel
Who’s Driving the Bus? My Year as a Kindergarten Mom
Based on the critically-acclaimed one-woman play of the same title, Who’s Driving the Bus? follows eager mom Jen Lansing as she navigates the pitfalls of her child’s first year in school. After Jen and her husband move to a new suburb and better school district, the couple attends an orientation for new kindergarten parents only to discover an alarmingly unfamiliar system in place, where achievement is the name of the game. Struggling to belong and make sense of her new environment, she uncovers brutal truths in an examination of education in America that is simultaneously terrifying and hilarious. An actor who has appeared in many commercials and feature films, Egan’s work has been broadcast on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight. She lives in Evanston with her husband and two young daughters.
Sappho’s Salon: A Provocative Night of Lesbian Diversions
Presents What Was I Thinking? Featuring Barrie Cole and Laura Stempel. Guest host: Linda Bubon
$7-$10 sliding fee includes food and wine
In the latest installment of our popular salon night for lesbians and their
friends presents What Was Thinking? Queer writers and performers Barrie Cole and Laura Stempel muse thoughtfully and hilariously on their past straight marriages. Cole’s play “Fruit Tree Backpack” was chosen as one of the best of 2010 by the Chicago Tribune. Her performance piece “Yearners” will appear in the forthcoming anthology Windy City Queer. Laura Stempel prefers to call her career eclectic rather than chaotic. She is and/or has been a writer, artist, scholar, teacher, store clerk, university administrator, grant writer, and some other things better left forgotten. Tonight’s salon will be guest-hosted by Women & Children First co-owner Linda Bubon. Proceeds benefit the artists and the Women’s Voices Fund.
The Water Wars
Vera, 15, and her brother Will, 17, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a world that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe and war. In this world, water is hoarded by governments with access to it, rivers are dammed, polar caps are melted, and clouds sucked from the sky. One morning, Vera meets and befriends a mysterious boy named Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water and claims to know about an untapped river. But one afternoon, Kai doesn’t show up at their usual meeting place and his home is ransacked. Lost in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, Vera and Will race against time to rescue their friend in this YA thriller that will be enjoyed by teens and parents alike.
No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power
For every man who receives a bachelor’s degree this year, three women will do the same. Yet there is still a 20% pay gap between men and women, and women represent only 4% of Fortune 500 CEOs. What’s wrong with this picture? In her new book, former CEO and President of Planned Parenthood Gloria Feldt asserts that nobody is keeping women from parity – except themselves. Revealing how women limit themselves by adhering to outdated social structures and succumbing to pressure to conform, Feldt offers eye-opening and invaluable information to help women equalize power in politics, work, and love.
Special Storytime Appearance by Stepping Stones
Hand Songs: Read and Rhyme with Me
The Reality Shows
The Reality Shows takes us through the past ten years, with renowned performance artist Karen Finley as our guide. By embodying and reimagining larger-than-life public figures in her performances, Finley helps us make sense of the political trauma and cultural chaos we’ve witnessed during the first decade of the new century. Liza Minelli becomes every New Yorker in the wake of 9/11, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer has a Freudian revelation, and Jackie O works through her post-traumatic stress as the Obamas become America’s First Family. Don’t miss an electrifying night of performance by one of America’s most provocative artists.