Laurie Levy the Next Featured Author at Max and Benny’s

Laurie Levy is one of Chicago’s great pioneering women journalists. She has contributed to major Chicago and national publications, as well as authored three books of nonfiction and a short story collection. The Stendhal Summer is her first novel. As a journalist, Laurie has demonstrated her versatility by working as a fashion editor, a restaurant critic, a film critic, a book reviewer, travel writer and columnist. She will discuss her career and new book at the Max and Benny’s Authors Series on Monday evening, February 26. Max and Benny’s is located at 461 Waukegan Road in Northbrook. Her presentation begins at 7:00 p.m.


Angela Jackson at the Next Cliff Dwellers Book Club

Angela Jackson, a poet and novelist of great renown, has recently written a remarkable biography of the poet Gwendolyn Brooks entitled “A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun.” Ms. Jackson will be discussing this highly personalized biography at the Cliff Dwellers book club on Saturday morning, February 24, at 11:00 am.
Please join us as the discussion is free and open to the public. Stay for lunch with us if you wish. The Cliff Dwellers is located at 200 South Michigan, across the street from the Art Institute.


March 7 promises to be a fun and informative evening, as Rick Kogan is the featured guest at the next Cliff Dwellers literary salon. I will be engaging Rick in conversation that evening. It should be a blast! We are expecting a nice turnout, so make your reservations early. Here is the info on the event:

DATE: MARCH 7, 2018
RECEPTION: 5:00-6:00 PM
COST: $35.00
The Cliff Dwellers Club 200 S. Michigan, Suite 2200
Chicago, Illinois 60604

Please make your reservations at or by calling 312-922-8080.

Author Renee Rosen at Emanuel Congregation on February 11

Renee Rosen is one of best authors around writing novels based on Chicago’s social history. Her 2014 book, What the Lady Wants, brilliantly tells the story of Marshall Field, both as the great Chicago businessman, as well as a man deeply conflicted in his personal life. Renee’s most recent book, Windy City Blues, is a tale of an interracial love affair set within the contexts of Chicago’s iconic Chess Records and the Civil Rights Movement. Renee is the next featured writer at the Emanuel Congregation’s Speaker Series on Sunday morning, February 11. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 10:15 am. Emanuel Congregation is located at 5959 N. Sheridan Road. If you plan to attend or have any questions whatsoever, please contact me at

Celebrating Chicago Writers

Despite it being a frigid Chicago winter’s night, a full-house assembled at The Book Cellar this past Saturday to participate in the annual Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Awards. My friend Randy Richardson and his fellow board members always put on a great event, and this year was no exception. All four winners were present, and each read from her prize-winning book. It was nice to see so many of the authors who were honorable mentions and finalists also in attendance. The winners in the four categories were:
Traditional Fiction: The Virginity of Famous Men by Christine Sneed
Indie Fiction: Out the Door! By M. L. Collins
Traditional Nonfiction: Algren: A Life by Mary Wisniewski
Indie Nonfiction: Of This Much I’m Sure by Nadine Kennedy Johnstone
The winner of the CWA’s “Spirit Award” was Suzy Takacs, the owner of The Book Cellar, for being a “tireless advocate for Chicago literature and the people who create it.”

Nelson Algren Museum

We really enjoyed Sue Rutsen’s interesting presentation today on Nelson Algren at the Chicago Writers Museum. Sue is the co-founder of the Nelson Algren Museum, located in the Miller Beach community of Gary, Indiana, where Algren once owned a cottage. The museum is housed in the 1928 Telephone Building at 541 S. Lake Street, once the property of Algren’s friend David Peltz.
The presentation was in the gallery showing the temporary exhibit Capturing Stories: Photographs of Writers by Art Shay. Seven of Shay’s photographs of Algren are in the exhibit, which runs through the Spring. Sue invites all to visit the museum in Miller Beach, where she will give you a personalized tour. It’s by appointment only. She can be reached at or by phone at 773-914-2574

Art and Hurricane Maria

Harriet Winograd, my very talented artist cousin, has created a splendid painting/collage diptych, 4’X4’, which she has named “Hurricane Maria.” Harriet, who is based in the Hartford, Connecticut area, would like to exhibit this piece as well as other works of hers in an exhibit, where a portion of the proceeds of the sales would go charitable organizations that help the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane.
If any of my readers know of a possible exhibit venue in New England or the New York City area for Harriet’s exhibit, please email me at, and I will forward the information to her.