Kathleen Rooney Speaks at Emanuel Congregation on December 3rd

Kathleen Rooney, one of Chicago’s most versatile and engaging authors, will be presenting a unique program on the book that she co-edited entitled Rene Magritte: Selected Writings on Tuesday evening December 3 at Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N. Sheridan Road. The presentation, which begins at 7:00, is free and open to the public. Emanuel Congregation has a free parking lot adjacent to the building. Come a bit early before the lot fills up.
This book represents the first time that the great Belgian surrealist’s writings have been translated into English. Kathleen will discuss her special journey of discovering the great Magritte’s written words, many of them as probing and whimsical as is his distinctive art. She will also be discussing her delightful and  innovative book, The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette & Loulou Magritte. It should be a very special event.

Cliff Dwellers Book Club 2020 Reading List

The Cliff Dwellers Chicago-themed book club is now entering our seventh year in January. We meet once a month on Saturday (excluding December). We encourage all who are interested to attend (both club members and non-members). The discussion is free. Non-members are welcome to stay for lunch (credit card only). The discussion starts at 11:00 a.m. and concludes about noon. Here is our 2020 reading list:

January 25-Citizens by Meyer Levin
February 22-A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919 by Claire Hartfield
March 28-The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
April 25-Eros, Magic, and the Murder of Professor Culianu by Ted Anton (author will be present)
May 30-Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather
June 27-Right after the Weather by Carol Anshaw (the author will be present)
July 25-Rose of Dutcher’s Coolly by Hamlin Garland
August 22-Talking to Myself by Studs Terkel
September 26-The World Is Always Coming to an End by Carlo Rotella (author will be present)
October 24-The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
November 21-Deadlock by Sara Paretsky

Bill Savage at the Cliff Dwellers Book Club on November 23rd

In his introduction to George Ade’s The Old-Time Saloon, Bill Savage begins by telling us that Ade “was once one of the most famous writers in America.” And you will see why after reading just a few pages of Ade’s 1931 polemic advocating the repeal of Prohibition. It’s incisive and informative with brilliant understated humor throughout the book.
Bill Savage will be joining us at the Cliff Dwellers book club on Saturday November 23 at 11:00 a.m. in the discussion of The Old-Time Saloon. Bill teaches Chicago literature, history and culture at Northwestern University and the Newberry Library. He will be bringing various Ade and Prohibition-era artifacts for the discussion.
Although the Cliff Dwellers is a private arts club, the Saturday morning Chicago-themed book club is open to all. The book club discussion is free, and non-member attendees are welcome to stay afterwards for lunch (credit card only). The Cliff Dwellers is located at 200 S. Michigan, 22nd Floor, where the view is sensational. Guests for the book club who plan to stay for lunch should make their reservations at reservations@cliff-chicago.org.

The Cliff Dwellers and Chicago Literary History

Liesl Olson (second from the right in the photo), the director of Chicago studies at the Newberry Library, joined us at the Cliff Dwellers book club on October 26, for the discussion of her book Chicago Renaissance: Literature and Art in the Midwest Metropolis. As the discussion ensued in the Sullivan Room, we were reminded by Ms. Olson of the significance of the Cliff Dwellers in the context of Chicago’s rich literary history.

In fact, her book concludes with the great literary gathering held at the Cliff Dwellers on March 1, 1914, sponsored by the guarantors of Harriet Monroe’s Poetry Magazine. Among the literati in attendance was the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, who spoke and encouraged Chicago poets “to strive to become very simple, very humble.” Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay performed his dramatic, and controversial, poem “Congo” that evening. He recalled this event at the Cliff Dwellers “the literary transformation scene of my life.”

Harriet Monroe also experienced the power of that evening. She wrote in her autobiography that the evening was “one of my great days……. which comes to us as atonement for long periods of drab disappointment or dark despair.” Among the other literary notables at the Cliff Dwellers that evening were Henry Blake Fuller, Carl Sandburg and Maxwell Bodenheim.

The Cliff Dwellers remains literary active as we continue to host events and presentations of The Chicago Literary Club, Society of Midland Authors, and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, as well as having an occasional literary salon of our own.

Since 2014, the Cliff Dwellers has had a book club that reads and discusses Chicago-themed classics as well as the works of contemporary Chicago writers such as Ms. Olson. In all, twenty-six writers have been our guests at the book club, which meets at the Cliff Dwellers usually on the fourth Saturday of the month at 11:00 a.m.(excluding December). The discussion ends about noon and is often continued over lunch at the club. Although the core of the group consists of Cliff Dwellers members, we encourage all who have interest about the book and/or author to attend. The 2020 reading list will be coming out soon.