Carl Sandburg Dinner Guest Authors

Allison Amend, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, is the author of the novels Enchanted Islands, A Nearly Perfect Copy, and Stations West, which was a finalist for the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Oklahoma Book Award. She is also the author of the Independent Publisher’s Award-winning short story collection Things That Pass for Love. She lives in New York City where she teaches creative writing, but remains a die-hard Cubs fan.

Blue BailiettBlue Balliett has a background in art history and has won many literary awards, including an Edgar, an Agatha and the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library.  She is best known for her critically acclaimed children’s mystery novels, Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, The Calder Game, The Danger Box, Hold Fast and Pieces and Players. Most are set in Chicago.  Balliett’s work has been translated into 35 languages.

Pamela BannosPamela Bannos is an artist and researcher who utilizes methods that highlight the forgotten and overlooked, exploring the links between visual representation, urban space, history, and collective memory. She has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally and is the author of Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife. Bannos has taught photography in Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice since 1993.

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, two collections of short stories, and two works of nonfiction. Open House was an Oprah’s Book Club selection, Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for an Abby Award. Her work has been translated into 27 languages. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a reading series designed to serve author, audience, and community.

Ursula Bielski is the founder of Chicago Hauntings, Inc. and the host of PBS’ “The Hauntings of Chicago” (WYCC).  An historian, author, and parapsychologist, Ursula is the author of ten popular and critically acclaimed books on the same subjects including the Chicago Haunts series and Graveyards of Chicago and also teaches courses in paranormal folklore and edits children’s books on supernatural folklore.

Jay Bonansinga is the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-four books, including the wildly popular Walking Dead novels, as well as the award-winning non-fiction work The Sinking of the Eastland: America’s Forgotten Tragedy.  Jay’s work has been adapted to the screen and stage, and published in seventeen languages.  The Chicago Tribune has called him “One of the most imaginative writers of thrillers.”  He lives in Evanston with his wife, the photographer Jill Norton, and his two sons.

Barrie Jean Borich is the author of Apocalypse, Darling forthcoming in 2018. Her memoir Body Geographic won a Lambda Literary Award and Kirkus called the book “an elegant literary map that celebrates shifting topographies as well as human bodies in motion.” Borich’s previous book, My Lesbian Husband won the ALA Stonewall Book Award. She is an associate professor at Chicago’s DePaul University, where she edits Slag Glass City, a journal of the urban essay arts.

Edward M. Burke, is the Dean of the Chicago City Council and has served as Alderman of Chicago’s 14th Ward for forty-eight years. A recognized expert on city budget matters, Alderman Burke is the Chairman of the City Council Committee on Fianance. Throughout his career in public life, Alderman Burke has been an avid student of Chicago history and is the co-author of three books, Inside the Wigwam: Chicago Presidential Conventions, 1860-1996; End of Watch: Chicago Police Killed in the Line of Duty, 1853-2006; and Glory & Government, Chicago’s City Hall at 100.

Dr. Eugenia Cheng is a mathematician and pianist. She is Scientist In Residence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and was previously tenured at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her first popular math book How to Bake Pi was featured on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Beyond Infinity has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2017. She also writes the Everyday Math column for The Wall Street Journal.

Esther Choy is the President of Leadership Story Lab, a training firm dedicated to teaching classical storytelling to modern leaders. Since 2010, she has coached hundreds of executives at companies such as AllState, BP, SC Johnson, US Cellular, helping many gain promotions, motivate their teams and customers through storytelling. To-date her investment-firm clients have raised over $5 billion in new assets under management. She also lectures in Kellogg’s Executive Education Programs and the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

John Conroy is the author of My Kind of Town, produced at TimeLine Theatre in 2012.  The play is set against the backdrop of the Chicago police torture scandal, which he was instrumental in exposing. He is also the author of two books, Belfast Diary: War as a Way of Life and Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People: The Dynamics of Torture.  He is now Senior Investigator at the MacArthur Justice Center, where he works on wrongful conviction and civil rights cases.

Kevin Coval is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago—where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics—he’s worked with thousands of young writers, artists, and musicians. He is the author and editor of 10 books, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Schtick. Coval’s collection, A People’s History of Chicago, was published in April 2017 by Haymarket Books.

Peter Cozzens is the author or editor of seventeen acclaimed books on the American Civil War and the Indian Wars of the American West, and a member of the Advisory Council of the Lincoln Prize. In 2002 he was awarded the American Foreign Service Association’s highest honor, the William R. Rivkin Award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent.

Elizabeth Crane is the author of three collections of short stories, most recently You Must Be This Happy to Enter.  She is a recipient of the Chicago Public Library and Foundation’s 21st Century Award. Her work has been featured on NPR’s Selected Shorts and adapted for the stage by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater.  In 2016, her debut novel, We Only Know So Much, was adapted for film, and her second novel, The History of Great Things, was published by HarperPerennial.

Dana Cree is the executive pastry chef of The Publican restaurants in Chicago (The Publican, Publican Quality Meats, Publican Tavern, Publican Anker) and was a two-time finalist for the James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef for her work at critically acclaimed restaurant Blackbird. She is a graduate of Penn State University’s Ice Cream Short Course, otherwise known as Ice Cream College. She is the author of Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream.

Vida Cross is a blues poet.  Her work references her ancestry as a third-generation Chicagoan and Bronzeville resident, as well as the artwork of Archibald J. Motley Jr. and the research of Langston Hughes.  She received an MFA in Writing and  an MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, an MA in English from Iowa State University and a BA in English-writing and History from Knox College.  Her book of poems, Bronzeville at Night: 1949, was released in 2017.

Stuart Dybek is the author of two new collections of fiction: Ecstatic Cahoots and Paper Lantern, published by FSG in 2014. His book The Coast of Chicago was a One Book, One Chicago selection in 2004. Dybek’s literary awards including the PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize, a Lannan Award, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has a new book to be published this November entitled The Start of Something: The Selected Stories of Stuart Dybek.

Thomas Dyja is a third-generation Chicagoan and graduate of Columbia University in New York City, where he remained to pursue a career in publishing. He has worked at ICM, Bantam Books, and book packaging company Balliett & Fitzgerald. His book The Third Coast was a One Book, One Chicago selection. He is the author of three novels, Play for a KingdomMeet John Trow, and The Moon in Our Hands.

Laura Eason is a Brooklyn-based screenwriter and playwright best known for her twenty produced plays and adaptations including Sex with Strangers (over fifty separate productions in the U.S. and the world) and as a writer/producer on the Netflix drama, “House of Cards” (WGA nomination for outstanding writing in a drama series, Emmy Award nomination for drama series). She is an ensemble member and the former Artistic Director of Lookingglass Theatre Company, Chicago.

Dr. Eve L. Ewing is a poet, essayist, and sociologist at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. She is the author of Electric Arches (Haymarket Books), which Publishers Weekly called a “a stunning debut” and named one of the most anticipated books of fall 2017. Her work has appeared in the New YorkerNew York Times, Washington PostThe NationThe Atlantic, and many other publications.

Sylvia Ewing is a teacher, non-profit executive, and award-winning journalist committed to offering her life skills to help others find self-awareness and success. She is the author of Comfort and Joy: Stories of Hope Meditations for Happiness. Sylvia is the Director of Communications & Marketing at the Center for Economic Progress, a Chicago-based non-profit organization, and an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago, where she teaches courses on Leadership and Management in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department.

Gillian Flynn is the award-winning author of three novels, including international sensation Gone Girl, a runaway hit that spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Her newest release, The Grownup, is an Edgar Award-winning homage to the classic ghost story. Flynn holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, and her work has been published in 41 languages. She lives in Chicago with her husband Brett Nolan and their children.

Gerald W. Fogelson is CEO of the Fogelson Companies.  He has been actively involved in the real estate industry since 1955 and was inducted to the Chicago Real Estate Hall of Fame in 2003.  He is the Co-Founder of the Chicago School of Real Estate at Roosevelt University.  He is the author of Central Station: Realizing a Vision; a member of the Board of Trustees of Roosevelt University; The Chicago School of Real Estate.

Keir Graff is the author of two novels for middle-graders (most recently The Matchstick Castle), four novels for adults (including The Price of Liberty), and the co-editor (with James Grady) of the short-story anthology Montana Noir. A native of Montana, Graff has lived for two decades in Chicago, where he is the executive editor of Booklist and the co-host of the popular Publishing Cocktails events.

Cathy Barancik Graham is an award-winning artist and fashion illustrator. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and studied fashion illustration at Parson’s in New York.  Her editorial work has appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and New York Magazine, and she has been commissioned by Bergdorf Goodman, Estée Lauder, CBS Records and HBO.  For more than a decade, Cathy worked in collaboration with the late floral designer and event planner Robert Isabell, noted for his signature lavish and innovative parties and is the author of Second Bloom: Cathy Graham’s Art of the Table.

Lance Grande has been doing paleontological fieldwork in the fossil butte of southwestern Wyoming for more than 30 years and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on this amazing locality. He is the award-winning author of more than 100 books and scientific articles, including The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Scenes from Deep Time and Gems and Gemstones: Timeless Natural Beauty of the Mineral World, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

Bryan Gruley is the critically acclaimed author of Starvation Lake: A Mystery and its sequels The Hanging Tree and The Skeleton Box. Gruley is currently a reporter-at-large for Bloomberg News and previously spent nearly 16 years with The Wall Street Journal, where he shared in the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the September 11 terrorist attacks. He currently lives in Chicago with his wife Pam.

Hermene Hartman is President and CEO of the Chicago-based Hartman Publishing Group, Inc. Her flagship publication, N’DIGO, an African-American alternative newspaper, published weekly, was founded in 1989. Hartman received a M.B.A. from the University of Illinois and a M.A. degree in Sociology, a MPH, and a B.F.A. from Roosevelt University. She has received over 200 awards for outstanding achievement in media, business and community services, education, and communication.

Robert Hellenga grew up in Three Oaks, Michigan, and earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. He has taught English Literature at Knox College in Galesburg, IL, since 1968 and is the author of six novels. His first novel, Snakewoman of Little Egypt, was included in The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2010 and the Kirkus Reviews’ Top 25 Novels of 2010.

Douglas Hoerr followed his interest in land, design and building to landscape architecture. His rich body of knowledge shapes Douglas’s intuitive, hands-on approach to landscape design and has led to clients as diverse as Crate&Barrel, Apple, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and Northwestern University, as well as numerous collaborations with notable architects for private residences nationwide. Hoerr leads Hoerr Schaudt, a 40-person landscape architecture studio in Chicago, and co-authored the firm’s first book, Movement and Meaning: The Landscapes of Hoerr Schaudt.

Dean Jobb’s latest book, Empire of Deception (Algonquin Books), tells the stranger-than-fiction story of 1920s Chicago swindler Leo Koretz. It was the Chicago Writers Association’s Book of the Year and a finalist for Canada’s top nonfiction award, the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize. Dean teaches nonfiction writing at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His next book will recreate the hunt for a doctor-turned-serial killer who terrorized Victorian-era Chicago and London.

Laurie Kahn is a pioneer is the field of trauma treatment. Her book Baffled by Love: Stories of the Impact of Childhood Trauma inflicted by Loved Ones, is where her passion for stories and her experience as a psychotherapist find each other. Baffled by Love includes strands from Laurie’s own rocky history, interwoven with her clients’ stories—creating a textured tale of the all too human search for the “good” kind of love.

Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize-winner, is one of the longest-serving and most highly-honored architecture critics in American journalism. The architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune since 1992, he has authored or edited four books, including Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago and Gates of Harvard Yard. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, his awards include the George Polk Award for Criticism and a share of a National Magazine Award as part of the staff of Architectural Record.

Owen Keehnen’s novels include Young Digby Swank, The Sand Bar, and Doorway Unto Darkness. He co-wrote three LGBT biographies on Chicago leaders Chuck Renslow, Jim Flint, and Vernita Gray. Other titles include the AIDS era writer/activist interview collection, We’re Here, We’re Queer and The LGBT Book of Days. He is co-founder of the LGBT history/education organization The Legacy Project and was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2011.

Scott Kenemore, bestselling horror novelist, is the author of such spine-chilling works as The Grand Hotel, Zombie Illinois, and his latest book Zombie-in-Chief: Eater of the Free World.

Greg Kot is the pop music critic at the Chicago Tribune and the co-host of the nationally syndicated public-radio show “Sound Opinions.” He has written several books, including Learning How to Die, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, and the current One Book, One Chicago selection I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers and the March up Freedom’s Highway.

Bill Kurtis is an author, television journalist, news anchor and producer. Currently he is heard on “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me” on NPR, and as a host of “Through the Decades” on the Decades Channel. His 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.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of twenty books in poetry, prose and children’s literature. He teaches in the Writing Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is a former faculty member of the Drama Division of the Julliard School. Lansana is the last protégé of Gwendolyn Brooks.

Victoria Lautman has been a print and broadcast journalist for over 25 years, specializing in arts and culture. After receiving an M.A. in Art History, she worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden before seguing into journalism. A visit to India in 1985 led to travels throughout the country, and she frequently writes and lectures about the subcontinent. She is the author of The Vanishing Stepwells of India and The New Tattoo.

Zachary Leader is a professor of English Literature at Roehampton University in Great Britain, where he has resided for over 30 years, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Previously, he has taught at Caltech and the University of Chicago. Leader was educated at Northwestern, Cambridge, and Harvard universities and is the author of Reading Blake’s Songs, Writer’s Block, Revision and Romantic Authorship, and The Life of Kingsley Amis, which was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Biography.

Howard Levy is a 2- time Grammy Award® winner, master of the diatonic harmonica, accomplished pianist, innovative composer, bandleader, teacher, producer, and Chicago area resident. Equally at home in Jazz, Classical, Rock, Folk, Latin, and World Music, he has recorded with Kenny Loggins, Dolly Parton, Paquito D’Rivera, Styx, Donald Fagen, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, and many other artists. He has also released 9 CD’s and a DVD on his own label, Balkan Samba Records.

Tony Licata is the Partner in Charge of the Chicago law office of Taft Stettinius & Hollister.  He serves on numerous charity and private company boards, and is a trustee of a number of trusts.  Tony’s first published novel is Hannibal’s Niece, a work of historical fiction set in Ancient Rome, during the legendary war with Carthage.  Tony lives in Highland Park with his wife Susan.  Their daughter and her husband live in Chicago.

Richard C. Lindberg is an award-winning author and journalist who has written and published 18 books about Chicago history, politics, criminal justice, sports, and ethnicity. Lindberg is a past president of the Society of Midland Authors and the Illinois Academy of Criminology and is currently a speechwriter for Alderman Edward M. Burke. Mostly recently, he published his personal memoir The Whiskey Breakfast: My Swedish Family, My American Life, which was named Non-Fiction Book of the Year by the Chicago Writer’s Association.

David Stuart MacLean is a PEN/American award-winning essayist. His essays have appeared in Ploughshares, Bennington Review, The New York Times, The Guardian, and on the radio program This American Life. He is the author of the memoir The Answer to the Riddle Is Me, which was named one of the Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus Reviews. He was a Fulbright Scholar and a co-founder of the award-winning Poison Pen Reading Series in Houston, TX.

Barbara Mahany writes these days about stumbling on the sacred amid the cacophony of the modern-day domestic melee. She was a writer at the Chicago Tribune for 30 years, and before that a pediatric oncology nurse at Children’s Memorial Hospital. In her latest book, Motherprayer: Lessons in Loving, she turns her attention to the sacred mysteries of mothering. She and her husband, the Tribune‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic, Blair Kamin, have two sons.

Eric Charles May is author of the novel Bedrock Faith, and the 2015 recipient of the Chicago Public Library and Foundation’s 21st Century Award. An associate professor of fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago and a former reporter for The Washington Post, his short fiction has appeared in Fish Stories, F, and We Speak Chicagoese.  His nonfiction has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, and the essay anthology Briefly Knocked Unconscious By A Low-Flying Duck.

Elizabeth McChesney is the Director of Children’s Services for the Chicago Public Library System.  She is the creator of Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge which has won numerous national awards.  Along with her co-author and collaborator, Bryan Wunar, she widened the lens on summer reading to include key 21st Century learning skills that include STEM and art/maker activities.  Summer Matters is her first book.

For her first book Miles from Nowhere, Nami Mun won a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Public Foundation and Library’s 21st Century Award and was a finalist for the Orange Prize for New Writers and the Asian American Literary Award. Previously, Mun has worked as an Avon Lady, a photojournalist, a waitress, a criminal investigator and a professor. She has been published in The New York Times, Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and elsewhere.

Dr. Karl T. Muth teaches in a wide variety of areas at Northwestern University, holding appointments in economics, public policy, and law. He also teaches philanthropists (particularly foundation executives and endowment managers) in Northwestern’s non-profit management curriculum. The lead author of Charity and Philanthropy for Dummies (Wiley), Muth is a contributing author in a variety of books from Controversies in Globalization (CQ Press) to The Oxford Handbook of Transnational Administration (Oxford University Press).

Paul Natkin began his career working with his father as the team photographer of the Chicago Bulls. Natkin then discovered music photography, and since 1976 he has photographed most of the major music stars of the last half of the 20th century. Among his many credits, he has had the covers of Newsweek (Bruce Springsteen), Ebony (Tina Turner), People (Prince) and other music magazines from around the world. Natkin also worked as the official photographer for the Oprah Winfrey Show and now spends his time photographing many of the new young bands of today.

Poet and editor Elise Paschen was born and raised in Chicago. She earned a B.A. at Harvard University and went on to receive a Ph.D. in 20th century British and American Literature at Oxford University. Paschen has published several collections of poetry, including Bestiary, Infidelities, and The Nightlife, and her work has been included in numerous anthologies. Paschen lives with her family in Chicago, where she teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Following a first career as a stage actor, Arthur Melville Pearson shifted gears to write about environmental issues. As Director of Chicago Program for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, he helps guide the foundation’s support for the arts, land conservation and archival collections. To celebrate the publication of Force of Nature: George Fell, Founder of the Natural Areas Movement, he has embarked upon a quest to visit all 400+ dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves:

Dr. Suzanne Penn is the author of The Pink Corner OfficeWomen Achieving Power In The Workplace. She is a successful entrepreneur and has taught in some of America’s leading colleges for over 27 years. She was awarded as one of fifty “Women of Power in Business” by Minority Advocate Magazine. Her focus is in the field of work-life balance.

Eric Posner is Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law, University of Chicago. His research interests include financial regulation, international law, and constitutional law. His books include Radical Markets (with Glen Weyl); Last Resort: The Financial Crisis and the Future of Bailouts and The Twilight of International Human Rights (2014). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute.

Lori Rader-Day is the author of the Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning novel Little Pretty Things and The Black Hour, winner of the Anthony Award for Best First Novel. Her third novel, The Day I Died, was an Indie Next Pick. Lori’s short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Time Out Chicago, Good Housekeeping, and others. She lives in Chicago, where she is the president of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter.

Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of historical fantasy novels: Ghost Talkers, and The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a three-time Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction appears in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago.

Kathleen Rooney is the author of eight books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Mostly recently, she was co-editor of Rene Magritte: Selected Writings, and her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2017. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, writer Martin Seay, and teaches at DePaul University.

Augustus Rose is a novelist and screenwriter. He was born in the northern California coastal town of Bolinas, and grew up both there and in San Francisco. He is the author of The Readymade Thief, Christ is Christianity and Inspirational Poem. He lives in Chicago with his wife, novelist Nami Mun, and their son, and teaches fiction writing at the University of Chicago.

Erika L. Sánchez grew up in the Mexican-American working-class town of Cicero, Illinois, which borders the city’s southwest side. A poet, novelist, and essayist living in Chicago, she is the author of the poetry collection Lessons on Expulsion, and her debut young adult novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, was recently published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. She was recently named a 2017-2019 Princeton Arts Fellow.

Donna Seaman is Editor, Adult Books, for Booklist; a member of the Content Leadership Team and National Advisory Council for the American Writers Museum, and a recipient of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism and the Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award. Her new book is Identity Unknown: Rediscovering Seven American Women Artists.

Dick Simpson is the author of numerous books, journal articles, book chapters, and documentary films. He is former Alderman of the 44th Ward of Chicago and is a professor and former head of the Political Science Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His works include Rogues, Rebels, and Rubber Stamps: The Politics of the Chicago City Council from 1863 to the Present and Corrupt Illinois.

Peter Slevin spent a decade on the national staff of The Washington Post before moving to Northwestern University, where he is on the faculty at the Medill School of Journalism. He has written extensively about Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as political campaigns and policy debates from one end of the country to the other. His portrait of Michelle Obama, which delves deeply into her Chicago life, was a finalist for the PEN America biography prize in 2016.

David Smallwood is a veteran print journalist in Chicago media. He is a founding member and long-time editor of N’DIGO, as well as a former Chicago Sun-Times reporter and Jet Magazine editor. Smallwood is co-author of three books: The Cool Gent: The Nine Lives of Radio Legend Herb Kent; co-author with former Illinois State Senator Rickey Hendon of Black Enough/White Enough: The Obama Dilemma; and co-author with Stan West and Allison Keyes of Profiles of Great African Americans.

Christine Sneed is the author of the novels Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts, and the story collections Portraits of a Few of the People I’ve Made Cry and The Virginity of Famous Men. Her work has been included in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, New York Times, and a number of other periodicals.  She’s received the Grace Paley Prize, the Society of Midland Authors Award in Adult Fiction, the 21st Century Award, and Book of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association. She lives in Evanston and is the faculty director of Northwestern University’s MA/MFA program in creative writing.

Patricia Balton Stratton was born in Cincinnati and received both her undergraduate and graduate education at Northwestern University, where her master’s thesis in art history concentrated on the acquisition, construction, and iconography of the Chicago Picasso. She is the recent author of The Chicago Picasso: A Point of Departure. She divides her time between Chicago and Naples, Florida.

Geoffrey R. Stone is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He is the author of many books on constitutional law. His most recent work, Sex and the Constitution (2017) deals with the history sex, religion, law and constitutional law from the ancient world to the present. Among his many other books on constitutional law, Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime (2004) received eight national book awards.

Scott Turow is the author of 10 bestselling works of fiction, including Identical, Innocent, Presumed Innocent and The Burden of Proof, and two nonfiction books, including One L, about his experience as a law student. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, and have been adapted into numerous movies and television projects. Turow is the recipient of the 2016 Carl Sandburg Literary Award in Fiction.

Bryan Wunar is the Director of Community Initiatives for the Museum of Science and Industry.  He and his partner Liz McChesney have collaborated to provide STEAM programs to thousands of children across the city and trained library staff across the nation.  He is a noted and award-winning science educator and co-author of Summer Matters.