2013 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner Author Bios


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A special thank you to these acclaimed writers, representing the variety of media and genres in the collections of the Chicago Public Library, for joining our dinner guests – AN AUTHOR AT EVERY TABLE.

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2013 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner Author Bios

  1. 1. A special thank you to these acclaimed writers, representing the variety of media and genres in the collections of the Chicago Public Libr ary, for joining our dinner guests – AN AUTHOR AT EVERY TABLE. Blue Balliett, winner of the 21st Century Award in 2006, is best known for her award-winning children’s novels, The Wright 3, The Calder Games, The Danger Box and Chasing Vermeer, which have been translated into more than 35 languages. Her most recent work, Hold Fast, is set in part at the Harold Washington Library. Tom Barrat is a Chicago-based photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and architecture. In the last few years, he has had over 25,000 images downloaded for use for websites, annual reports, newspapers and advertising. He is a former executive in software development, internet banking, and debit card processing. Eula Biss is the author of The Balloonists and Notes from No Man’s Land. In addition to winning the 2010 21st Century Award, her work has been recognized by a Pushcart Prize, a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Howard Foundation Fellowship and an NEA Literature Fellowship. Her essays have appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Best Creative Nonfiction, and Harpers. Jodee Blanco is one of the most recognized voices on the subject of school bullying. A survivor turned activist, she is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir Please Stop Laughing At Me… and its award-winning sequel Please Stop Laughing At Us. She has co-authored the New York Times bestseller Both of Us, Ryan O’Neal’s memoir of his life with Farrah Fawcett and The Complete Guide To Book Publicity, now in its second edition. Anna Blessing is the author of Locally Grown: Portraits of Artisanal Farms from America’s Heartland which explores the stories of 20 Midwestern farms as told by farmers and chefs. She has researched, written and photographed 14 editions of the eat.shop book series. Chesa Boudin writes on the criminal justice system and Latin American policy. His latest book, Gringo: A Coming of Age in Latin America, focuses on the politics and economic disparities of Latin America. He has translated Understanding the Bolivarian Revolution: Hugo Chavez Speaks, and co-written The Venezuelan Revolution: 100 Questions – 100 Answers. Rosellen Brown, who teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has published five novels, including Civil Wars, Before and After and Half a Heart, three books of poetry and a book of stories, Street Games. She has been honored by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Thomas Campbell is a Chicago lawyer who is the author of Fighting Slavery in Chicago – Abolitionists, the Law of Slavery, and Lincoln. In 2009, Mr. Campbell helped organize a symposium – “Abraham Lincoln – His Legal Career and His Vision for America” – which brought together leading Lincoln scholars, judges, and historians. Rich Cohen, a New York Times bestselling author, grew up on the North Shore, where he “died with the Cubs and was reborn with the Bears.” His newest book, Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears will be published later this month. He has written ten books including Tough Jews, Sweet and Low, The Fish that Ate the Whale and Lake Effect. A contributing editor of Vanity Fair, Cohen won the 21st Century Award in 2002. Elizabeth Crane is the author of three collections of short stories: When the Messenger is Hot, All This Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter; and a novel: We Only Know So Much. She is the recipient of the 2003 21st Century Award, and her work has been adapted for the stage by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre company, and for film. Merri Dee is an award-winning broadcaster and author of Life Lessons on Faith, Forgiveness & Grace. She is a celebrated motivational and inspirational speaker, a highly popular panelist, moderator and master of ceremonies, a life-changing career coach, a successful fundraising strategist, and a fierce advocate for violence prevention. Monique Demery is the author of Finding the Dragon Lady: The Mystery of Vietnam’s Madame Nhu published this year. The book was based on her groundbreaking 2005 interviews—marking the first time that Madame Nhu had spoken to the Western press in nearly twenty years. Rachel DeWoskin’s most recent novel, Big Girl Small, is the recipient of the American Library Association’s Alex Award and was named one of the top three books of 2011 by Newsday. Her memoir, Foreign Babes in Beijing about her years as the unlikely star of a Chinese soap opera, has been published in six countries and is being developed as a television series by HBO. She teaches at the University of Chicago and divides her time between Chicago and Beijing. Stuart Dybek is an American poet and author of the short story collections Childhood and Other Neighborhoods and The Coast of Chicago, which was a One Book, One Chicago selection. His latest novel-in-stories, I Sailed with Magellan, was named a New York Times Notable Book. Dybek also published two collections of poetry, Brass Knuckles and Streets in Their Own Ink. His work has been anthologized in both The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Poetry series. Thomas Dyja, who will receive the Chicago Humanities Festival Heartland Literary Prize next month, is the author of the widely heralded non-fiction work, The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream. A native of the Northwest side, he has three novels, Play for a Kingdom, Meet John Trow, and The Moon in Our Hands, a biography of civil rights pioneer Walter White. He is the editor of the award-winning book On the High Line. Donald G. Evans is the author of Good Money After Bad and the editor of Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year. His short stories have appeared in a number of collections, including Best American Short Stories. Donald founded and directs the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame and is the Chicago editor of the Great Lakes Cultural Review.
  2. 2. Jack Fuller Joe Hallinan’s most recent book is Why We Make Mistakes, James Finn Garner’s Michael Harvey is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and former editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. He is the author of seven novels including Abbeville, Fragments, Convergence and The Best of Jackson Payne. This year marked the publication of his non-fiction work, What is Happening to News: The Information Explosion and the Crisis in Journalism. first book, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, has sold more than 2.5 million copies in the U.S. and has been translated into 20 languages. It spent 65 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list. His other books include Apocalypse WOW!: A Memoir for the End of Time and Recut Madness. His latest work is the e-book Honk Honk, My Darling: A “Rex Koko, Private Clown” Mystery. Tavi Gevinson is the author of Rookie Yearbook One, and founder and editor in chief of Rookie, an online publication for teenage girls. She came to public attention at the age of 12 with her fashion blog Style Rookie, but by the age of fifteen, she had shifted her focus to pop culture and feminist discussion. She has appeared twice on the Forbes “30 Under 30 in Media” list and was a speaker at TEDxTeen in 2012. Henry Godinez is the resident artistic associate at Goodman Theatre and the curator of the Latino Theatre Festival. He is editor of The Goodman Theatre’s Festival Latino: Six Plays, a collection of works drawn from the first ten years of the Goodman Theatre’s renowned biennial festival of Latino plays. Born in Havana, Cuba, Godinez is an associate professor at Northwestern University. Ellis M. Goodman is the author of Bear Any Burden, a Cold War spy thriller. Goodman has been active in the film industry as a producer and distributor, and most recently served as Executive Producer of the documentary Louder than a Bomb, and the film Mulberry’s Child based on the writings of Jian Ping. Adam Green, an associate professor in history at the University of Chicago, is the author of Selling the Race: Culture and Community in Black Chicago and Time Longer than Rope: Studies in African American Activism. He has been a contributor to the New York Times, WTTW, WBEZ, C-Span and Al-Jazeera – English. Kevin Guilfoile worked briefly in media relations for the Houston Astros baseball club before becoming a founding partner of a Chicago design firm. He is the bestselling author of two novels, Cast of Shadows and The Thousand, which have been translated into more than 25 languages. His latest book is A Drive Into the Gap, a memoir about fathers and sons, baseball, and a 40-year-old mystery surrounding Roberto Clemente’s 3,000th and final hit. Susan Hahn is the author of nine books of poetry, two produced plays and one novel, The Six Granddaughters of Cecil Slaughter, published in 2012. The Chicago Tribune named her poetry books Holiday and Mother In Summer among the Best Books of 2002. She is the first Writer-In Residence at the Ernest Hemingway Foundation in Oak Park. Michael Hainey was born in Chicago and lives in Manhattan. He has been working in magazines for more than 25 years, as a writer and editor. Currently, he is the Deputy Editor of GQ. Hainey’s first book, After Visiting Friends: A Son’s Story, is a New York Times Best Seller. published in 2010. He is the author of Going up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation, which was named by The New York Times as one of 2001’s Notable Books. He is the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. is the co-creator, writer and executive producer of the television series Cold Case Files. He is the author of The Chicago Way, We All Fall Down, The Innocence Game and The Fifth Floor. His work as a documentary producer and journalist has won numerous national and international awards, including multiple Emmys and an Academy Award nomination for the Holocaust documentary Eyewitness. Libby Fischer Hellmann is the author of ten published novels and twenty short stories. Her first novel, An Eye For Murder, which features Ellie Foreman, a video producer and single mother, was released in 2002. Her latest book, Havana Lost is the last entry in Libby’s “Revolution Trilogy,” an epic saga that spans three generations of a family headed by a female Mafia boss. Aleksandar Hemon is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Lazarus Project, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008. The inaugural 21st Century Award winner, Hemon has also written three short story collections: The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man and Love and Obstacles. His past awards include a Guggenheim fellowship in 2003 and a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 2004. Cristina Henríquez is the author of The World in Half, and Come Together, Fall Apart: A Novella and Stories, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Her newest work The Book of Unknown Americans, will be published in June 2014. Henríquez’ stories have been published in The New Yorker and in the anthology This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers. Steve James’ affiliation with Kartemquin Films began in 1987 with the start of production of Hoop Dreams for which he served as director, producer, and co-editor. He is widely heralded for his documentary The Interrupters, which he co-produced with writer Alex Kotlowitz. James is currently at work on Life Itself, a documentary about 2012 Carl Sandburg Literary Award winning author Roger Ebert. Chris Jones is the author of Bigger, Brighter, Louder: 150 Years of Chicago Theater as Seen by Chicago Tribune Critics. As chief theater critic and a Sunday columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he has reviewed and commented on culture, the arts, politics, and entertainment at the paper for more than 15 years. Alex Kotlowitz is the author of the bestselling There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America. The book received the Helen B. Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism and a Christopher Award. His other books include The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, and Never a City So Real. With film maker Steve James, he was co-producer of the Independent Spirit Award winning The Interrupters.
  3. 3. Bill Kurtis is an author, television journalist, news anchor and producer. He is also the host of numerous A&E crime and news documentary shows. His latest book, Death Penalty on Trial: Crisis in American Justice, analyzes the ethics behind the death penalty. His other books include We Interrupt This Broadcast, The Prairie Table Cookbook and Bill Kurtis on Assignment. Susan Nussbaum is a playwright whose works have been produced at many theaters. In 2008 she was cited by the Utne Reader as one of “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” for her work with girls with disabilities. Good Kings Bad Kings, her first novel released in 2013, received the Pen/Bellwether Award from novelist Barbara Kingsolver. Debi Lilly is a nationally renowned event-planning expert based in Daniel X. O’Neil is the author of several volumes of poetry including Chicago. She is the founder and president of A Perfect Event with a faithful following, including Oprah Winfrey. She is the author of A Perfect Event: Inspired, Easy Elegance for Every Occasion. Dr. Paul Lisnek is the author of 13 books including Quality Mind, Quality Life, Winning the Mind Game, and The Hidden Jury. He is a multi-award winning television host, anchor, and a nationally recognized legal authority on jury trials, communication and negotiation. Terry Mazany is president and chief executive officer for The Chicago Community Trust, and recently concluded his tenure as the interim chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. His 2013 book, Here for Good: Community Foundations and the Challenges of the 21st Century, explores solutions to bringing together philanthropic resources to support effective nonprofits in their communities. Wendy McClure is an author, columnist and children’s book editor. Her 2005 memoir, I’m Not the New Me, was featured in publications such as Time Magazine, USA Today, Elle, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her most recent book is The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. Margaret McMullan is the author of six award-winning novels, including Cashay, When I Crossed No-Bob, In My Mother’s House and When Andy Warhol Was Alive. Her latest book, Sources of Light is an American Library Association 2011 Best Book for Young Adults, a Best 2011 Book of Indiana, and a Chicago Public Library Teen Selection. Adam McOmber’s novel, The White Forest, was published in September 2012. He is also the author of a book of short stories, This New & Poisonous Air. His work has appeared in Conjunctions, StoryQuaterly, The Fairy Tale Review, and Third Coast and has been nominated for two 2012 Pushcart Awards. Sandro Miller is one of today’s foremost photographers. At the Cannes Lions international Festival of Creativity, Sandro was acknowledged with a Best New Director Award for his short video “Butterflies” featuring John Malkovich. His photography has been collected in five books including American Bikers and I Can’t Accept Not Trying, featuring Michael Jordan, Steppenwolf and Imagine Cuba. Debra Moskovits is vice president of Environment, Culture, and Conservation at the Field Museum, and the author of several books on the biodiversity of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador and on birds of the neo tropics. Nami Mun, last year’s 21st Century Award winner, is the author of Miles from Nowhere, which received a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award. The book was selected as Editors’ Choice and Top Ten First Novels by Booklist, Best Fiction of 2009 So Far by Amazon, and as an Indie Next Pick. Nami Mun grew up in Seoul, South Korea and Bronx, New York. Memotoallemployees and Bricks and a world economics treatise, Economics. He has been a political consultant, tech entrepreneur and Internet developer and currently serves as Executive Director of the Smart Chicago Collaborative, a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology. Samuel Park is the author of This Burns My Heart, which was chosen as a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews, Amazon, BookPage, and NPR.org. It was also one of the Today Show’s “Favorite Things” and a People Magazine “Great Read in Fiction.” His other work includes the novella Shakespeare’s Sonnets and the short film of the same name, which he wrote and directed. Elise Paschen, a poet of Osage descent, is the author of Bestiary, Infidelities, winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, and Houses: Coasts. Her poems have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. Paschen was the executive director of the Poetry Society of America from 1988 until 2011 and the cofounder of Poetry in Motion, a nation-wide program which places poetry posters in subways and buses. Brigid Pasulka is the author of the novel Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True. It won the 2010 Hemingway Foundation/ PEN Award and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. The Sun and Other Stars: A Novel will be published in February. Pasulka runs the writing center at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School. Stanley Paul is the author of Thank My Lucky Stars, a look behind the scenes of cafe society in New York and Chicago in the 1960s. Paul, a famed orchestra leader and society pianist, has produced several recordings including, They Don’t Write Music Like this Anymore and When Music Was Music. His incredible collection of vintage recordings, sheet music, photographs and memorabilia are housed at the Chicago Public Library. Jian Ping (Jennifer Hou Kwong in English) is the author of Mulberry Child: A Memoir of China. Jian’s other publications include A Fool’s Paradise, a collection of translated short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Chinese Film Theory, and China in the Next 30 Years. In 2012, Mulberry Child was made into an award-winning featurelength documentary film. David Prete is a writer, actor and director. His critically acclaimed first book, Say That to My Face, was published in 2003, and his debut novel, August and Then Some, was released in April 2012. Leonard Ramirez is the author of Chicanas of 18th Street: Narratives of a Movement from Latino Chicago, which was published in 2011. It received the Society of Professors of Education Book Award in 2013, and an Honorable Mention in the Best History/ Political Book – English category in the Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards.
  4. 4. Ron Rapoport is the author of many books on sports and entertainment, including the recent From Black Sox to Three-Peats: A Century of Chicago’s Best Sports Writing from the Pages of the Tribune, Sun-Times and Other Papers. He is the author, or co-author of bios of performers Tim Reid, Tom Dreesen, Betty Garrett, athletes Marion Jones and Bobby Jones, and has commented on sports for the Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times and NPR. Michael Silverstein is the co-author, with Neil Fiske, of the bestselling business book Trading Up and its sequel Treasure Hunt. His latest book is Women Want More: How to Capture Your Share of the World’s Largest, Fastest-Growing Market. An expert in consumer behavior, Silverstein joined the Boston Consulting Group in 1980 and currently leads their client service initiative. is of the Marshall Sahlins is the Charles F. Grey Distinguished Professor Rebecca Sklootof the authorLacks, New York Times Bestseller, The Immortal Life Henrietta and was recognized with Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. He is the author of the recent What Kinship Is and Is Not, as well as the highly regarded The Western Illusion of Human Nature and Stone Age Economics. Sahlins is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Neal Samors is a Chicago native and award-winning author, co- author and publisher of 20 books about Chicago including Chicago’s Classic Restaurants, Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive, The Rise of The Magnificent Mile, Chicago in the Sixties, and Chicago in the Fifties. His next book, which will be published in spring of 2014, is Chicago’s River At Work And At Play. Richard L. Sandor is the author of Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovation. Dr. Sandor was honored by the City of Chicago for his universal recognition as the “father of financial futures.” He was honored as one of TIME Magazine’s “Heroes of the Environment” for his work as the “Father of Carbon Trading.” In July 2013 Dr. Sandor was named a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor. Theresa Schwegel is a crime fiction author. Her books include Last Known Address and Officer Down, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel in 2005. In 2008, she was awarded the Chicago Public Library Foundation’s 21st Century Award. Her latest book, The Good Boy, will be published next month. Schwegel is currently at work on her fifth novel, Some Beasts, and a graphic novel, The Interrupter. Donna Seaman writes about books primarily for BOOKLIST, published by the American Library Association, where she is a senior editor. She also reviews books for the Chicago Tribune, the Kansas City Star, and for Open Books radio. She is a recipient of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism; the Writer Magazine Writers Who Make a Difference Award, and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. Eric Sheinkop is a music industry executive and author of Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World’s Smartest Brands. Co-creator of Music Dealers, a global music technology solution that bridges the gap between bands and brands, Sheinkop’s impact on the industry was recognized when he was included on Billboard Magazine’s “30 Under 30” rising young executives who are driving the music industry forward. the 21st Century Award in 2011. It is soon to be an HBO film from Alan Ball and Harpo Films. Her award-winning science writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Discover, and many other publications. She is currently working on a new book about the human animal bond. Art Smith is the executive chef and co-owner of Table fifty-two, Art and Soul, Southern Art and Bourbon Bar, Joanne Trattoria, and LYFE Kitchen restaurants. Smith is the author of three awardwinning cookbooks; the recent Healthy Comfort: Back to the Table; Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families; and Back to the Family. He contributed recipes and cooking advice to The Spectrum, the newest book by ground-breaking cardiologist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Dean Ornish. Dr. Lauren Streicher is the author of The Essential Guide to Hysterectomy, which remains the definitive gynecologic guide for women. Streicher is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Medical School. She contributes articles and has been interviewed for many magazines and newspapers including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, More, Glamour, Women’s Health, and is a medical correspondent for ABC News. Dawn Turner Trice is the author of two novels, Only Twice I’ve Wished for Heaven, which is being made into a movie, and An Eighth of August. She is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune and the moderator of its online forum, “Exploring Race.” Trice has been a regular commentator for WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight” show and has written commentary for National Public Radio, where she is a regular contributor to NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” show. Chris Ware is the author of Jimmy Corrigan – the Smartest Kid on Earth, which was awarded the Guardian First Book Prize and chosen by the London Times in 2010 as one of the best 100 books of the decade. Ware is the first cartoonist chosen to regularly serialize an ongoing story in The New York Times Magazine and a contributor to the New Yorker. His most recent book Building Stories was chosen as a 2012 top ten fiction book by a number of periodicals, including The New York Times and Time Magazine. Jacob Weisberg and author of Bushisms Neil Shubin is the author of two popular science books, The series, and The Bush is the creator also the author ofthe Defense of Tragedy. He is In Universe Within and the best-selling Your Inner Fish, which was chosen by the National Academy of Sciences as the best book of the year in 2009. Shubin is the Robert Bensley Distinguished Service Professor and Associate Dean of Biological Sciences at the University of Chicago. In 2011 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Government and In An Uncertain World with Robert Rubin. Weisberg is editor-in-chief of the Slate Group, a unit of The Washington Post Company devoted to developing web-based publications. He has written about politics for the New Republic, Newsweek, New York Magazine, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine.