I am pleased to announce that I will be teaching a seminar on Ben Hecht’s book “1001 Afternoons in Chicago” at the Newberry Library in five Thursday evening sessions, starting February 15 and ending March 15, from 5:45 to 7:45. The sixty-four incredibly imaginative sketches in the book capture the heart and soul of Chicago’s bustling urban landscape during the early 1920s. There couldn’t be more of an appropriate venue to have this seminar, since the Hecht archives are housed at the Newberry, and Walnut and Dearborn, where the library is located, is designated “Honorary Ben Hecht Way” by the city of Chicago. For registration information go to http://www.newberry.org or call 312-255-3700.
A long overdue homage to Ben Hecht will take place in Chicago at the Cliff Dwellers, the evening of Friday, November 15, 2013, as a prelude to his induction into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on December 7. Hecht’s impact on the Chicago literary scene was monumental. As a journalist, his memorable 1001 Afternoons in Chicago columns, written in the early Roaring Twenties of the last century, and eventually published as a book, describe ordinary Chicagoans in ordinary situations in the most extraordinary picturesque language. In his nearly fifteen years in Chicago, Hecht established himself as one of the top literary figures in the nation.
Distinguished Chicago literary personalities, Bill Savage and Paul Durica will be featured in the program. Cliff Dweller members, Jack Zimmerman, Eve Moran and myself will read stories from 1001 Afternoons in Chicago. The cost of the event is $45, which also includes a full dinner. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.