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Bad Love Strikes
Who is Dr. Kevin Schewe and why is he winning all these awards?
Shelf Life is lucky to have Guest Blogger Kathy Tretter, co-publisher and editor of the Ferdinand News and Spencer County Leader, two award winning newspapers in Southern Indiana, to answer that question. The following is from her column which ran in the Ferdinand News.
Kevin L. Schewe, MD, FACRO, is the brilliant, rather dignified (but not stuffy) board-certified radiation oncologist serving Southern Indiana at Memorial Hospital and Health Care’s Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center in Jasper. For 35 years his work and focus revolved around saving the lives of cancer patients.
You can and should, of course, call him Dr. Schewe (rhymes with “chewy”), but for those who knew him when, his moniker is a tad less, ah, shall we say reverential?
“If history was taught this way in school, everyone would be a scholar and educating ourselves not only about our accomplishments but the horrors of the past that should awaken and give insight to the path of a better future. A rare gem!”
—David Holladay, MD, 5-Star
His wife Nikki, a radiation therapist, probably calls him Kevin, but his old friends know him as Bubble Butt!
Dr. Schewe discovered, rather late in life, that he possesses both a passion and a talent totally unrelated to the medical profession — and that talent is, quite literally, winning him accolades across the globe.
At last count he has been honored with over one-hundred international awards for his screenplay, Bad Love Tigers (he’s over 200 honors thus far) — not to mention raves for the four books he wrote on which the screenplay is based. Some of his awards include Best Original Story at the Cannes World Film Festival, Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Screenplay at the Vegas Movie Awards, Best Screenplay at the London Classic Film Festival and Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Movie Awards. Most recently he earned the Best Screenplay Award at the East Coast Movie Awards.
A partial list of his wins appears at the end of this article and the scope is quite simply astonishing.
According to his publicist, “In less than six months on the international screenplay circuit, Kevin Schewe’s Bad Love Tigers generated momentum on its whirlwind sweep of the globe, finding acclaim at film festivals spanning from Los Angeles to Hong Kong and dozens of locations in between.” That quote came at the end of June after the screenplay had amassed, by that point, 83 awards, and the list continued to grow from there.
So how did this all transpire? It’s not every day someone wholly ensconced in a profession as intense as medicine suddenly clicks on his brain’s right hemisphere (creative side) to become a novelist and screenwriter, although the left (logical) side is responsible for language and probably had something to do with both his careers.
Here’s what happened.
Dr. Schewe is a history buff and reads everything he can get his hands on concerning World War II. He came across a true military history story that happened on a late afternoon in November of 1944, as the war in the European Theater was starting to wane. A brand new B-17G Flying Fortress (four-engined heavy bomber with a 104 foot wing span), known as the Phantom Fortress, landed at a British air base in Belgium. These bombers were a proud symbol of American air strength during World War II and there were several iterations, the B-17G being the last.
As this colossus was coming toward the landing strip with no warning, the tower kept trying to radio the pilot, to no avail.
The landing had not been perfect. There was some damage to one engine when the bomber end-rolled in, touched down, spun around, dipped, and hit the runway, but it landed and came to a halt, the remaining three engines still turning.
Gunnery crews on the ground were scratching their heads trying to figure out what was going on. Was everyone inside dead? But then how did the bomber land? Was this a proverbial Trojan Horse, a trick of the Nazis?
Apparently British Lieutenant John Crisp drew the short straw and went out to the plane to investigate about half an hour later when no one disembarked.
What he found was surreal. No one was in the cockpit or anywhere else in the bomber. Parachutes were lined up along the fuselage, while a leather flight jacket and candy bars littered the floor.
As could be expected, an investigation ensued. The man who was supposed to be piloting the B-17G (on only its third mission) was later located and said he and the crew had been en route to bomb the Leuna Synthetic Oil Refinery — Nazi Germany’s second largest synthetic oil plant and second biggest chemical operation — when an engine failed. The B-17 was losing altitude and destined to crash, so the crew abandoned the mission and bailed out in the clouds.
But it didn’t crash — it landed on Allied soil and only one engine — the one damaged on landing — had failed.
Which, Dr. Kevin “Bubble Butt” Schewe realized made absolutely no sense. Why would the crew not have used parachutes and why would anyone depart without his jacket as the air outside would have been frigid? The only engine that failed was the one damaged during touchdown in Belgium.
Please note, B-17Gs were not drones, nor were they equipped to land themselves, so those facts alone would seemingly constitute a miracle.
This is where the whole right brain/left brain scenario comes in — this true tale lit an imaginative spark in Dr. Schewe. His mind then took a slight right to his undergrad roots as a physics major. “When I read this story it was like I was struck by lightening,” he recalls. He sat down and began penning the first novel, developing the characters based on his childhood friends with a couple of fictional personages added for good measure.
What resulted is a superlative blending of fact and fiction, and it’s highly tempting to give everything away.
But here’s a taste.
Dr. Schewe grew up in St. Louis (his Dad served under General MacArthur in World War II) and his friends did indeed (and still do) call him Bubble Butt. Many of those friends appear in the books and script — their nicknames intact as well. The protagonist is Bubble Butt, but with a different surname. The action happens in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, which everyone who has read even a little bit of history knows was the epicenter for the Manhattan Project leading to the development of the atomic bomb.
The fiction is fascinating and partially based in reality, such as the discovery of exotic matter (a focus of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity), also a necessary component of time travel (oops, getting close to spilling the beans).
The year is 1974 and Bubble Butt and friends accidentally come across a secret, cavernous vault known during WWII as the White Hole Project near the Oak Ridge complex. This dynamic group of young adventurers, known as the Bad Love Gang, use a time machine to travel back to the World War II era.
So there, you got it out of me.
One feature of the first book, Bad Love Strikes, will surely provide the soundtrack for the movie (if it gets made and surely it will). On the first pages Dr. Schewe gives a list of songs to play while reading every chapter, from “Born To Be Wild” in chapter one to “Shambala” in chapter 20. Each chapter also begins with a quote such as “Put your hand on a hot stove for one minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” — Albert Einstein. Or the one prior to the epilogue, “OK, I will admit that I am having some memory issues. I can do pretty good with the past, it’s the future I’m having trouble remembering …” — Larry W. Schewe, father of the author when his memory was beginning to fail.
According to his publicist, “Schewe’s Bad Love Tigers is a feel-good, action-adventure, sci-fi blend of Stand by Me meets Raiders of the Lost Ark or Back to the Future meets Goonies. The energetic and fun screenplay has strong appeal and great potential to attract an audience of all ages to the big screen. This incredible display of worldwide interest shows that Bad Love Tigers is already a global phenomenon, crossing cultures and borders and demonstrating its potential to be a feel-great-again, big-screen blockbuster.”
Which is why it has garnered so many awards.
So who exactly is Kevin Schewe, physician author and screenwriter, and where did he come from?
He moved to Jasper after the clinic at which he had worked in Colorado changed hands. He was extremely attracted to the radiology equipment at Memorial, noting some very generous donors made the Cancer Clinic at the Jasper-based hospital top of the line. The fact the move would allow for more time to write also appealed as Bubble Butt has plotted eight more books in the series.
“I plan to be here for the next seven years [until retirement],” he notes. Then with a cheeky smile adds, “Unless Stephen Spielberg calls.”
The 72 National and International Awards won (so far) by Bad Love Tigers (a partial list out of more than 200)
· Best Screenplay, Eastern Europe International Movie Awards (Izmir, Turkey)
· Best Original Story, Cannes World Film Festival (Cannes, France)
· Best Feature Screenplay, HALO International Film Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia)
· Best Feature Script and Best Action Screenplay, Top Film Awards Film Festival
· Best Feature Screenplay, Golden Nugget International Film Festival (London, UK)
· Best Screenplay, 52 Weeks Film Festival (Thousand Oaks, CA)
·Best Original Story, Cannes World Film Festival (Cannes, France) Vegas Movie Awards (Las Vegas, NV)
· Best Screenplay, Indo-Global 2022 Film Festival (Mumbai, India)
· Best Sci-Fi Screenplay, Masters of Cinema International Film Festival (Rome, Italy)
· Best Sci-Fi Screenplay, Stardust Films and Screenplays Festival (New York, NY)
· Best Feature Screenwriting, Red Moon Film Festival (New York, NY)
· Outstanding Achievement, Swedish International Film Festival (Arkiva, Sweden)
· Best Script Award for Best Sci-Fi Screenplay, London Film Festival (London, UK)
· Best Screenplay, The Gladiator Film Festival (Istanbul, Turkey)
· Best Screenplay, Inca Imperial International Film Festival (Lima, Peru)
· Best Unproduced Script, Indiefare International Film Festival
· Best Sci-Fi Script, Hong Kong World Film Festival (Hong Kong)
· Honorable Mention, Los Angeles Movie Awards (Los Angeles, CA)
· Best Feature Script, New York Neorealism Film Awards (Rome, Italy)
· Best Screenplay, London Classic Film Festival (London, UK)
· Best Sci-Fi Screenplay, Stardust Films and Screenplays Festival , Best Original Screenplay, and Best Poster, Golden Giraffe International Film Festival (Nice, France)
· Best Sci-Fi Short Script, Red Dragon Creative Awards (Dallas, Texas)
· Best Short Screenplay, Silver Mask Live Festival (Los Angeles, California)
· Best Script Written During Pandemic, Redwood Shorts & Scripts (Sunnyvale, California)
· Critic’s Choice Award for Best Feature Script/Screenplay, International Motion Picture Festival of India (Pondicherry, India)
· Best Sci-Fi Script, Mykonos International Film Festival (Mykonos, Greece)
· Best Sci-Fi Screenplay, Thinking Hat Fiction Challenge (Punjab, India)
· Outstanding Achievement for Feature Script, Luis Bunuel Memorial Awards (Kolkata, India)
· Best Feature Screenplay, South Film and Arts Academy Festival (Rancagua, Chile)
· Best Sci-Fi Script, Gold Star Movie Awards (Newark, New Jersey)
· Best Sci-Fi Screenplay Award, BRNO Film Festival (Brno, Czech Republic)
· Best Feature Screenplay, Filmmaker Life Awards (Hollywood, CA)
· Best Story Screenplay Award, The Madrid Art Film Festival (Madrid, Spain)
· Best Feature Screenplay, White Unicorn International Film Festival (Hong Kong, India, Japan)
· Feature Script Audience Choice Award, Black Swan International Film Festival (Kolkata, India)
· Best Feature Script/Screenplay, Indo French International Film Festival (Pondicherry, India)
· Best Script, New York Independent Cinema Awards (New York, NY)
· Best Script in a Feature Film, World Indie Film Awards (Chongqing, China)
· Best Script (Sci-Fi), Los Angeles Film & Script Festival (Los Angeles, CA)
· Best Screenplay for Young Adults, Bridge Fest Film Festival (Vancouver, Canada)
· Best Thriller Screenplay, Adbhooture Film Festival (West Bengal, India)
· Feature Script Outstanding Achievement Award, Royal Society of Television and Motion Picture (Kolkata, India)
About Kathy Tretter
Kathy Tretter with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb .
Active in her community, Kathy Tretter is President, Editor/Co-publisher at Dubois-Spencer Counties Publishing Co., Inc., is former Chair of the Spencer County Chamber of Commerce, past president of the Hoosier State Press Association and remains on their board. An award winning editor, Tretter was the winner of the 2014 Rotary Club of Jasper’s ATHENA International Leadership award. The ATHENA Award, an international honor, recognizes women who have demonstrated excellence in professional leadership, community service, and the mentorship of future women leaders and also have been active in community service and show professional excellence.
Tretter is also the editor of Santa’s Daughter, the autobiography of Patricia Yellig Koch, who an nductee into the International Santa Claus Hall of Fame and founder of the Santa Claus Museum. The museum’s mission is to preserve the history of the community of Santa Claus and the attractions that helped build “America’s Christmas Hometown.”
Murder and Mayhem by Malware … Bits and Bytes That Steal and Kill…
Ross Carley’s first four novels feature PI and computer hacker Wolf Ruger, an Iraq vet with PTSD. Dead Drive (2016) and Formula Murder, set in the formula racing industry (2017) are murder mysteries.
Cyberthrillers Cyberkill (2018) and Cryptokill (2020) are books one and two of the Cybercode Chronicles. His fifth novel, The Three-Legged Assassin, featuring assassin Lance Garrett, was released in February 2022. Ross is an artificial intelligence and cybersecurity consultant. He and Francie split their time between Indiana and Florida.
Ross Carley, a former engineering professor who served as a military intelligence officer and was the CTO of a defense contractor, is also the author of four books in the computational intelligence area.
Follow Ross at:
The Best Book and Song Pairings from Taylor Swift’s New Album, Midnights
Didn’t get a ticket for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour? Don’t despair. Think of all the money you saved when jamming out instead to Midnights along with a good book instead. The librarians at Libby, an app for borrowing ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more that let’s you borrow from your local library for free, went track by track to come up with pairings to go along with the new album, check out that list here.
The best part? Unlike a $700+ floor seat and hours of Ticketmaster torture, these books are free. So instead of a credit card, just whip out your library card.
Give credit to Joe Skelley (see his bio below) who works for Libby.
Midnights Book/Song Pairings
♫ Lavender Haze
📚 It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey
Piper Bellinger is an Instagram wild child with a trust fund and a penchant for riling up the paparazzi. A lot of people make assumptions about her, including Brendan—at first. Both characters show that there’s more than meets the eye and they don’t give a darn what people think if they’re meant to be together.
📚 The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
No spoilers here but IYKYK—this song fits the bill.
📚 New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Jokes about Jacob Black and Renesmee aside, this song captures the vibe of the franchise and the era of the books and movies so well. Whether it evokes Bella’s four-month depression (Hello, One day I’ll watch as you’re leaving / And life will lose all its meaning), Edward feeling like “a monster on the hill” and a danger to his love, or truly the “covert narcissism” disguised “as altruism” from just about every Cullen, this song has the Twilight franchise covered.
♫ Snow on the Beach
📚 The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Addie makes a deal with the devil and lives forever, but is forgotten by everyone she meets. That’s until she meets a man who remembers her name. A lot of her life and loves feel like snow on the beach: weird but beautiful and, often, impossible.
♫ You’re On Your Own, Kid
📚 I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
With lyrics like, I didn’t choose this town, I dream of getting out and I hosted parties and starved my body / Like I’d be saved by a perfect kiss down to the repetition of You’re on your own, kid, you always have been, this song evokes so many of the feelings Jennette describes throughout her book: navigating life with her mother, being forced into Hollywood and just doing her best to survive.
♫ Midnight Rain
📚 The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass
Micah is the “Prince of Chicago.” He runs a popular (anonymous) Instagram filled with drawings of his numerous, imaginary boyfriends. He’s got it all, but knows he’s so much more than that. When Boy 100 turns into his very first boyfriend, he finds that love is so much more than what’s been living in his head. He has to fight the hurt as he tries to make his own name while Boy 100 is chasing the fame.
📚 Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Auden spends a lot of nights reading or walking around town—basically doing anything but sleep. She runs into a fellow night owl, Eli, and they form a friendship as they both try to work through their stuff. These lyrics match perfectly:
Good girl, sad boy, big city, wrong choices. We had one thing goin’ on I swear that it was somethin’ / ‘Cause I don’t remember who I was before you painted all my nights / A color I’ve searched for since.
♫ Vigilante Sh*t
📚 Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
There are so many strong, powerful and amazing women in literature who could absolutely “draw the cat eye, sharp enough to kill a man,” but from the jump, this song evokes thoughts of sticking it to The Capitol. Whether dressing for revenge, or taking down the corrupt system from the inside, Katniss Everdeen and her crew are up to some vigilante sh*t.
📚 Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Daisy has a way of capturing the attention of everyone in the room when she walks in. She shimmers and shines, but there’s more to her than meets the eye.
📚 Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Isla is a hopeless romantic who might finally have a chance with Josh, a guy she’s had a crush on forever. But they have a lot of obstacles to overcome in this sweet and intense romance.
I’ll be gettin’ over you my whole life.
📚 It Starts with Us by Colleen Hoover
We could totally imagine “Karma” as Lily’s anthem as she navigates the tricky dynamics of her ex, Ryle, and the feelings she has for Atlas as they meet again as adults. Lily deserves her second chance at love despite the others that keep trying to bring her down.
♫ Sweet Nothing
📚 Beach Read by Emily Henry
Beach Read follows January, a romance author who doesn’t believe in love anymore, and Augustus, a literary author who’s a bit of a cynic. A romance, yes, but you’ll need the tissues ready!
All that you ever wanted from me was sweet nothin’.
📚 Before the Devil Breaks You, Diviners Series Book 3 by Libba Bray
This is such a magical and spooky series by Bray, filled with love and mysterious powers. There are so many moments in this book that feel like they only happen when all the stars aligned, and the love story of Theta and Memphis is surely one of them. From their chance meeting during the raid of the Hotsy Totsy club in Book 1, to discovering Theta’s past in Book 3, this pair absolutely embodies “the first night that you saw me nothing was gonna stop me.”
After you soak in the new album, head over to the Libby reading app to find the perfect book match.
About the Author
Joe Skelley has always been a lover of reading and passionate about the library. His love of libraries brought him to OverDrive where he works on the Events team, working with the Digital Bookmobile and co-hosts the Professional Book Nerds podcast. Joe loves thrillers, magical realism and the broad spectrum of YA. When he’s not working, Joe loves to listen to audiobooks and podcasts, watch YouTube, get too involved in a DIY project and (most importantly) play with his Boston Terrier, Roscoe.
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Twin sisters, once extremely close when growing up in an eccentric household with a demeaning and scolding mother, alcoholic grandfather, and absent father, are now separated by thousands of miles and endless anger.
Cat lives in Los Angeles in an apartment overlooking the water. But it’s not hers, and she’ll have to move soon when the owner returns. A lifestyle writer, her finances are precarious, and she’s unsure of what she’ll do next when she gets a call from Edinburgh, Scotland. El, her twin, has failed to return from a solo sailing trip.
El is much more stable—at least on the surface. An artist, she’s married to Ross and living in the grand but uber Gothic home where the twins grew up—a place they called Mirrorland. It’s all dark passageways, closed off dusty rooms, hidden cupboards, nooks, and cobweb filled crannies. Here the two invented an alternate universe of hovering evil, wicked clowns, a ghoulish Tooth Fairy, and blood thirsty pirates all populating their elaborate stories that had them plotting their survival in a hostile and shadowy world. Not for them were the typical indulgences of young girls such as soccer or hosting tea parties with their favorite stuffed animals. It was not in any way an idyllic childhood.
In Carole Johnstone‘s Mirrorland house of mirrors book, it’s been almost 20 years since Cat was last home, but much is the same. Memories tug at her as she wanders through the darkened rooms of her old home, and she at times feels catapulted back into feelings of being haunted and hunted. But there are new problems to face as well. As the days go by and neither El nor her boat are found, the police give her up as lost at sea. But Cat believes she is still alive and continuing one of the many games they played when young. How else to explain the clues she keeps finding, ones that would only mean something to the two of them?
Cat is an unreliable narrator—she drinks way too much, and she keeps slipping into the past, but whether that past is what really happened long ago, one of the many convoluted stories the sisters made up in Mirrorland, her own perceptions of what was happening around her back then, or a combination of all three, it’s hard to tell.
Also in the house, El’s husband Ross waits for news as well. Here, too, are complications. We learn quickly that Cat was—and still is—in love with Ross, but how she lost him to her sister takes longer to unfold. She receives emails—from El, she is sure—that lead her to places where she discovers torn pages from El’s diary. Someone else is leaving warning notes, telling Cat she’s in danger and insinuating that Ross is not to be trusted—that he harmed El and possibly killed her. That warning though may have come too late because Cat and Ross have rekindled their old romance.
It’s easy to enter Cat’s world, to feel the burden of being watched by unseen eyes and experience her fear as she struggles to determine whether El’s really dead, and who, if anyone, she can trust. And, of course, as readers we wonder if we can trust her.
This review originally appeared in The New York Journal of Books.
About the Author
Carole Johnstone’s award-winning short fiction has appeared in annual “Best of” anthologies in the United States and United Kingdom. She lives with her husband in an old farmhouse outside Glasgow, Scotland, though her heart belongs to the sea and the wild islands of the Hebrides. She is also the author of The Blackhouse.
Girl in Ice
A gifted linguistic professor who is fascinated by such extinct languages as Old Norse and Old Danish, Val Chesterfield is so frightened of the world that she has immured herself at the university where she teaches and treats her overwhelming anxiety with pills and bottles of Amaretto and merlot.
Beyond that, she’s mourning the loss of her marriage and the death and possible suicide of Andy, her twin brother who died of exposure on Taaramiut Island off Greenland’s northwest coast.
And so, when an email from Wyatt Speeks who is overseeing the scientific lab on Taaramiut, pops up in her inbox, Val’s first thought is to hit delete. But despite her own initial forebodings, she opens it instead.
So begins Girl in Ice (Simon & Schuster), the a fascinating thriller by Erica Ferencik who also authored Into the Jungle and The River at Night.
Wyatt is asking her to listen to the attached vocalizations of a girl they extracted from the ice and who has, amazingly and impossibly, thawed out alive. Playing the sounds over and over again, Chesterfield is intrigued. The girl is not speaking any of the Greenlandic dialects spoken in the frigid part of the world where Wyatt is located. Indeed, despite Val’s vast repertoire and knowledge, she cannot recognize the language at all.
Wyatt wants Val to fly out and study the girl’s language. But that entails she leave her office, her shelves of books, and her everyday routines. When Val visits her elderly father, a noted climate scientist who has always been disdainful of her, he dismisses that the girl could have been thawed out alive and that his daughter has the spunk to travel so far away.
“You’ve never been out of Massachusetts,” he tells Val. But he also wants her to go, to find out the truth about Andy’s death and delivers an ultimatum. If she doesn’t journey to Greenland, then he doesn’t want to ever see her again.
The winds blow over 50 miles an hour on Taaramiut across a landscape barren of anything but snow, glaciers, water pocked with ice floes, deep seemingly bottomless crevasses, and herds of caribou. No native people live this far north so where did the girl come from and how long was she encased in ice?
Totally isolated, the small community consists only of Wyatt and his assistant Jeanne, Val and a young couple who have won a coveted spot to dive in the frigid waters for specimens. And, of course, the girl who once was frozen and is now strangely alive.
But it’s not just the isolation, the young girl who speaks a strange language, and being where her brother died outside, alone in the bitter cold, that is unnerving. Wyatt seems to have other hidden agendas and Jeanne may be too good with knives—and she has so many. Even the couple become uneasy, urging Val to just play along until the plane arrives to take them home.
With the disappearance of her anti-anxiety medication, Val is unable to sleep and maybe unable to reliably process what is happening around her. She takes risky chances and she also has become maternally attached to the young girl as she learns the meaning of her words. What is part of Val’s uneven emotional state and what is real become less defined. She believes Wyatt’s stated quest–to learn how to prevent a cataclysmic climate change, one where sudden outbursts of frozen winds are freezing people to death almost instantaneously around the world–parallel Andy’s own dedicated studies.
But Val also senses a scary undercurrent and the more she learns, the more she wonders if Andy really committed suicide by wandering off into the cold or whether someone locked him outside. To add to her distress, the young girl is ill and is trying to tell Val in her own language what she needs to survive.
What can she do to save her? And what can she do to save herself?
This review originally appeared in The New York Journal of Books.
Girl in Ice is also available as a Kindle, Audio CD, Audible and in paperback.
About the Author
Erica Ferencik is the award-winning author of the acclaimed thrillers The River at Night, Into the Jungle, and Girl in Ice, which The New York Times Book Review declared “hauntingly beautiful.” Find out more on her website EricaFerencik.com and follow her on Twitter @EricaFerencik.
The Marsh Queen
Far from the marshland where her family grew up and that claimed her father’s life, Loni Mae Murrow has found a quiet niche where she creates intricate life-like drawings of birds for the Smithsonian. It’s a rare talent and a job that Murrow, who started drawing at an early age, loves. But there are undercurrents in her job and life starting with a new administrator talking of budget cuts and disdaining Murrow’s need to return home to deal with her aging mother. Making it all more complicated is that she also is confronted with her brother and his controlling, avaricious wife both of whom seem more intent on cashing in on what little money there is in their mother’s portfolio than in helping her. Murrow has just a short time to take care of family business and to sort out messy family entanglements. If she doesn’t return in time, she’ll no longer have a job.
But the pull of her mother’s needs, a compelling job offer from a good friend, veiled hints at mysteries unsolved along with her realization that her father’s death may be less straightforward than it seemed at the time jarringly jeopardize the peace and tranquility that Murrow has achieved. She finds herself deeper and deeper into the place of her youth and the marshes, both of which she thought—hopefully–she had left behind for good.
Author Virginia Hartman convincing portrays the beauty of the marshes, creating an atmosphere of serene beauty but also one full of surprises and ultimately danger in The Marsh Queen (Simon & Schuster). She also conveys how easily Murrow falls into the patterns of her father who knew the waterways so well he could navigate the countless channels and inlets without a map. Hartman’s love of this landscape, full of unexpected wonders, is inherent in her writing.
“Early morning steam rises from the water,” Hartman writes about one of Murrow’s forays into the marshland. “I paddle to a different part of the swamp today, where the Cypress trees grow, as my dad used to say, ‘keepin’ their feet in the water.’ The canopy is high, like a cathedral, and I glide through the landscape of light and shadow. Ferns cascade from the trunks and pink lichen like measle spots and the Cypress knees stick up from beneath the surface like the hats of submerged gnomes.”
This enchantment of the waterways with all its many unexpected scenes of flora and fauna is something Murrow finds she shares with Adlai, the seemingly gruff proprietor of the canoe shop where she rents her canoe and paddles when she goes in search of such birds to draw as the purple gallinule. Her mother had married down so to speak when she chose Murrow’s father. It is a choice that Murrow ultimately must make as well—to leave a dream job of working at one of the most prestigious museums in the country and life in a bustling cosmopolitan city to return to the backwaters of home.
But first she must follow, however unwillingly, all the clues that keep presenting themselves regarding the past. It’s a matter of connecting the dots to find out what really did happen to here father all those years ago. And if she doesn’t accomplish that soon enough, then there’s more at risk for Murrow than just losing her job. It may mean losing her life.
The Marsh Queen is also available in hardcover, on Kindle, Audible and as an Audio CD.
This review originally appeared in New York Journal of Books.
About the Author
Virginia Hartman has an MFA in creative writing from American University and is on the faculty at George Washington University. Her stories have been shortlisted for the New Letters Awards and the Dana Awards. The Marsh Queen is her first novel.
Virginia Hartman Events
At the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland, Virginia teaches Advanced Fiction Workshop (six weeks). For more information, please contact the Writer’s Center at 301-654-8664, www.writer.org.
- SUNDAY, OCTOBER 23
- THE BOOK GALLERY 12 noon
- 7 N. Loudoun Street Winchester, VA 22601
- FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4
- PALM BEACH BOOK STORE 6pm
- 215 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, FL 33480
- WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9
- BOOKSTORE ONE 2pm
- 17 S Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
- THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10
- MIDTOWN READER 7pm
- 1123 Thomasville Rd, Tallahassee, FL, 32303
- SATURDAY NOVEMBER 12
- THE BOOKMARK 6pm
- 220 First St, Neptune Beach, FL 32266
Kentucky Trinity: Burgoo, Barbecue and Bourbon
Burgoo, barbecue and bourbon, historically acknowledged as the trinity of good taste in Kentucky, have traditional roots going back to the days of Daniel Boone. Albert W.A. Schmid, a chef and food historian, delves deep into the cultural heritage of these foods in his book, Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon: A Kentucky Culinary Trinity (University Press of Kentucky 2021).
Known as “the gumbo of the Bluegrass,” burgoo is a meat stew consisting of a variety of meats that were often smoked as that’s one of the ways they preserved food back then. The list of ingredients included at least one “bird of the air” and at least one “beast of the field.” The latter could include squirrel, ground hog, lamb, pork jowl, and rabbit. Added to that were whatever vegetables (think corn, tomatoes, turnips, potatoes, carrots, onions, okra, and lima beans) were either in season or still stored and edible in the larder. Sometimes oysters, oatmeal and/or pearl barley were thrown in as well. Schmid also includes, among his many burgoo recipes, one that feeds 10,000 which calls for a ton and a half of beef (I’m not including it but if you’re expecting a huge crowd over email me and I’ll send it) and another that makes 1200 gallons.
“Often you’ll find this dish paired with one of the Commonwealth’s other favorite exports, bourbon, and the state’s distinctive barbecue,” writes Schmid, who immersed himself in archives of early cookbooks.
He takes us back to the days of Daniel Boone, uncovering forgotten recipes of regional dishes and such lost recipes as Mush Biscuits and Half Moon Fried Pies. There are numerous recipes for burgoo starting from early pioneer days, each unique depending on the region, food tastes, and what ingredients were easily sourced. Burgoo was an early community dish with people coming together to prepare it in vast amounts for celebrations.
Women would gather for peeling parties which meant endlessly peeling and dicing vegetables while men would stir the ingredients as they simmered in the huge pots throughout the night, most likely with sips of bourbon to keep them enthused about the task. Whether women got to sip bourbon too, we can only hope so. But in an age where water wasn’t safe to drink and even children were given wine, cider, small beer, and the dregs of their parents sweetened spirits to drink, I’m guessing so.
The Mysterious Name of Burgoo
As for the name burgoo, well, no one, not even Schmid is sure where it comes from.
“It may have described an oatmeal porridge that was served to English sailors in the mid-1700s, or it may have come from the small town of Bergoo, West Virginia,” Schmid hypothesized. The word might also be a slur of bird stew or perhaps bulger; it could also be a mispronunciation of barbecue, ragout, or an amalgam of the lot. If the oatmeal story is true, burgoo continued as a military staple as it became a hearty stew for soldiers who could travel light and hunt and gather ingredients ‘from wild things in the woods’ once they stopped moving for the day—so they did not have to move the supplies from one location to another.”
Of course, a hearty burgoo demands a great bourbon drink and Schmid offers quite a few of those as well. One name I’m particularly taken with is called Kentucky Fog, presumably because over-consumption left one in a fog. Other great names for bourbon drinks mentioned in the book are Moon Glow, Bourbaree, and the Hot Tom and Jerry.
The following recipes are from Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon.
- 1 quart Kentucky bourbon
- 1 quart strong coffee
- 1 quart vanilla ice cream
Combine the ingredients in a punch bowl and serve.
- Crushed ice
- 1½ ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces cranberry juice
- 2 ounces orange juice
- 2 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
Pack a tall glass with crushed ice. Add the cranberry juice and the orange juice. Add the maraschino cherry juice. Then add the bourbon. Stir well with a bar spoon and garnish with 2 maraschino cherries and a straw.
This recipe is used at Keeneland, the famous racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky and dates back to 1939.
- 3 pounds stew meat
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 12-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
- 2 16-ounce cans mixed vegetables
- 7-ounce can tomato purée
- 2 pounds fresh okra, sliced
- 1 tablespoon beef base
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup sherry
- 3 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven. Brown the stew meat with the herbs and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients, except the cornstarch, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for at least 3 hours. Adjust seasonings to taste and thicken with cornstarch.
Spoonbread with Bourbon
- 6 servings
- 2 cups water, boiling
- 1 cup cornmeal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 3 egg whites, stiffly beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons lard
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Boil the water; add the lard and butter; to this mixture add
the cornmeal, egg yolks, and baking soda. Stir in the buttermilk and stiffly beaten egg whites. Add the bourbon and pour into a buttered casserole dish. Bake for 35 minutes.
Original Kentucky Whiskey Cake
- 5 cups flour, sifted
- 1 pound sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ pound butter
- 6 eggs, separated and beaten
- 1 pint Kentucky bourbon
- 1 pound candied cherries, cut in pieces
- 2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pound shelled pecans
- ½ pound golden raisins, halved, or ½ pound dates, chopped
Soak cherries and raisins in bourbon overnight.
Preheat oven to 250–275 degrees F.
Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat well. To the butter and egg mixture, add the soaked fruit and the remaining liquid alternately with the flour. Reserve a small amount of flour for the nuts. Add the nutmeg and baking powder. Fold in the beaten egg whites. Add the lightly floured pecans last. Bake in a large, greased tube pan that has been lined with 3 layers of greased brown paper. Bake for 3–4 hours. Watch baking time carefully.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Richard Hougen was the manager of the Boone Tavern Hotel of Hotel and Restaurant of Berea College and the author of several cookbooks, including Look No Further: A Cookbook of Favorite Recipes from Boone Tavern Hotel (Berea College, Kentucky), Hougen includes the recipe for Boone Tavern Cornsticks. He notes at the bottom of the recipe, adapted here, how important it is to “heat well-greased cornstick pan to smoking hot on top of the stove before pouring in your batter.
Boone Tavern Hotel Cornsticks
- 2 cups white cornmeal
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons lard, melted
Preheat oven to 450–500 degrees F.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, salt, and baking powder together.
Mix the baking soda with the buttermilk, and then add to the dry ingredients; beat well. Add the eggs and beat. Add the lard. Mix well. Pour the batter into very hot well-greased cornstick pans on
top of stove, filling the pans to level.
Place pans on the lower shelf of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Move the pans to the upper shelf and bake for an additional 5–10 minutes.
Printers Row Lit Fest
FULL PROGRAM SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED FOR PRINTERS ROW LIT FEST, THE MIDWEST’S LARGEST LITERARY CELEBRATION, SEPTEMBER 10 & 11
Pulitzer Prize winner and Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey joins over 100 authors including national bestsellers Jamie Ford, Marie Myung-OK Lee, and Danyel Smith in a jam-packed weekend of free programming
This year’s festival highlights Chicago stories and offers fun for all ages, with a poetry tent organized by The Poetry Foundation; a rare presentation from satire writers at The Onion; interactive programs for youth and families; and more
The 37th annual Printers Row Lit Fest, presented by the Near South Planning Board, is pleased to announce the full schedule of participating authors and programs. Printers Row Lit Fest is one of the three largest and oldest literary festivals in the U.S. and stretches across five blocks, along South Dearborn Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Polk Street and on Polk Street from State to Clark, in Chicago’s historic Printers Row neighborhood. The outdoor event is accessible via public transportation and takes place rain or shine from Saturday – Sunday, September 10 – 11, from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The festival kicks off with Evanston-based Pulitzer Prize winner and two-term United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, who will be awarded with this year’s prestigious Harold Washington Literary Award. Chicago authors and stories will be presented during the Printers Row Lit Fest including dozens of new books and anthologies focused on Chicago. From columnist Neil Steinberg’s Every Goddamn Day: A Highly Selective, Definitely Opinionated, and Alternatingly Humorous and Heartbreaking Historical Tour of Chicago and Ray Long’s The House that Madigan Built: The Record Run of Illinois’ Velvet Hammer to fictions set in Chicago neighborhoods such as Toya Wolfe’s Last Summer on State Street, Joe Meno’s Book of Extraordinary Tragedies, and One Book One Chicago author Eric Charles May’s Bedrock Faith, Chicago is a leading character in today’s literary zeitgeist.
Printers Row Lit Fest’s dynamic lineup offers fun for book lovers of all kinds, from poetry and romance to satire and spoken word. Highlights of this year’s festival include a conversation with Danyel Smith, the first Black editor of Billboard magazine, on her recent book Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop; Jamie Ford discussing his current New York Times bestseller The Many Daughters of Afong May; and celebrated author of The Evening Hero, Marie Myung-OK Lee.
New to this year’s festival is a dedicated poetry tent curated by The Poetry Foundation with a lineup of award-winning and emerging poets. Also new to the festival is the laugh-out-loud Literary Death Match, whichpits four local authors against each other in front of a panel of all-star judges, and the Chicago-based, national satirical news site The Onion will present a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the article production process of “America’s Finest News Source” with a post-apocalyptic twist. Visitors can participate in a spoken word workshop and open mic led by EmceeSkool, and The Moth will showcase recent winners from their popular StorySLAM live storytelling competition.
The Printers Row Lit Fest will present powerful voices in social and environmental justice and activism with a series of panels hosted by reporters from Chicago Sun-Times and personalities from WBEZ. The fest includes a timely discussion reflecting on two years of the COVID-19 pandemic with a conversation between Dr. David Ansell, author of The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills, and Dr. Thomas Fisher, author of The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago E.R. In addition, the Chicago Public Library will host Voices for Justice: Natalie Moore’s “The Billboard” including a staged reading of excerpts from the award-winning play.
This year marks the return of children and family-focused programming at Printers Row Lit Fest. Programs include Theatre on the Hill’s Choose Your Own Once Upon a Time, an opportunity for children to decide the fates of their favorite fairy tale characters in a live, interactive theatrical event, and Carlos Theatre Productions which will present a Latin American puppet show for children in Spanish and English. Parents can hear Dr. Dana Suskind in conversation with former Chicago Tribune columnist Heidi Stevens about her recent book Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child’s Potential, Fulfilling Society’s Promise.
Programs are organized by Printers Row Lit Fest Program Director Amy Danzer, assistant director of graduate programs at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies and Board President of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
Including Sandmeyer’s Books and The Book Cellar, Printers Row Lit Fest hosts over 100 booksellers in airy outdoor tents, inviting visitors to peacefully peruse everything from the rare to ‘hot off the press,’ newly published works. All programming, includingfeature presentations by myriad authors, spoken word artists, journalists, comedians, and poets,is 100% free of charge.
Printers Row Lit Fest 2022 Schedule
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
Center Stage – Children’s Programming – Theatre on the Hill Presents Choose Your Own Once Upon A Time
Poetry Foundation – Children’s Programming – A bilingual reading of Pablo Neruda’s Book of Questions, Selections/Libro de Preguntas, Selecciones (Enchanted Lion Books, 2022) by translator, Sara Lissa Paulson.
Main Stage – Welcome by Near South Planning Board Chairman Steven Smutny, Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown, and First Lady Amy Eshleman. Program to follow featuring Natasha Trethewey, Harold Washington Literary Award Winner in conversation with Donna Seaman, Booklist. Program introduced by Natalie Moore, Harold Washington Literary Award Selection Committee Chair.
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – The Deep Creativity of Translation: A Reading and Discussion with Izidora Angel, Mary Hawley, and Alta L. Price. Moderated by Irina Ruvinsky. Presented by Another Chicago Magazine and the Third Coast Translators Collective.
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – Big Shoulders Press Presents Virus City: Chicago 2020-2021. Reading and Discussion featuring Amy Do, Robin Hoecker, Emily Richards, Oscar Sanchez, and Frank Tempone. Moderated by Rebecca Johns Trissler.
Grace Place (1st Floor) – Children’s Programming -10:15am – Doors. 10:30am – Miss Friendship Ambassador 2022 Susan Liu to tell the story of the Moon Festival Presented by the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce. 10:45am – Moon Festival Parade to depart Grace Place.
Center Stage – Welcome by Alderman King One Book One Chicago – Thomas Dyja, The Third Coast and Eric Charles May, Bedrock Faith with Judy Rivera-Van Schage
Poetry Foundation – Children’s Programming – Reading by Julian Randall, Pilar Ramirez and the Escape from Zafa. Emceed by Stefania Gomez.
Main Stage – (11:30 a.m.) WBEZ Presents Adriana Herrera, A Caribbean Heiress in Paris, and Sarah MacLean, Heartbreaker: A Hell’s Belles Novel in conversation with WBEZ’s Greta Johnsen, host of Nerdette
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Ray Long, The House That Madigan Built: The Record Run of Illinois’ Velvet Hammer in conversation with Joan Esposito
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – Unlocking Memories and Uncovering Stories: Bindy Bitterman, Skiddly Diddly Skat (children’s book) and Sharon Kramer, Time for Bubbe (children’s book) in conversation with Chicago author Beth Finke
Grace Place (1st Floor) – Patricia Carlos Dominguez Presents Yo Luchadora (bilingual children’s book) followed by a workshop
Center Stage – Erika L. Sanchez, Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir in conversation with Juan Martinez
Poetry Foundation – – The Chicago Poetry Center – Readings by Mayda del Valle, Aricka Foreman, Tim Stafford, Natasha Mijares, C. Russell Price, and Viola Lee. Emceed by Marty McConnell.
Main Stage – (12:30 p.m) WBEZ Presents Danyel Smith, Shine Bright: A Very Personal History of Black Women in Pop in Conversation with WBEZ’s Natalie Moore
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Deborah Cohen, Last Call at the Hotel Imperial: The Reporters Who Took On a World at War in conversation with Peter Slevin
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – Crises: The All Ages Show – Dan Chaon, Sleepwalk and Jean Thompson, The Poet’s House in conversation with Eileen Favorite
Grace Place (1st Floor) – Writing Overwhelming Realities – Readings by Julia Fine, Dionne Irving, Ananda Lima, Jami Nakamura Lin, and Jeffrey Wolf. Emceed by Ananda Lima.
Center Stage – Debut Fiction: Jessamine Chan, The School for Good Mothers and Shelby Van Pelt, Remarkably Bright Creatures in conversation with Rebecca Makkai
Main Stage – (1:30 p.m.) Chicago Sun-Times Presents The Environmental Justice Exchange: A tribute to Hazel Johnson, the Mother of Environmental Justice. Host: Brett Chase. Guests: Cheryl Johnson, Hazel’s daughter and executive director of People for Community Recovery; Tarnynon Onumonu, poet and author of “Greetings from the Moon, the Sacrificial Side”; Luis Carranza, poet and author of “Viva la Resistencia”.
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – M. Chris Fabricant, Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System in conversation with Rob Warden
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – Sourcebooks Presents – How Books Are Made: Authors Discuss the Publishing Process. Julie Clark, The Last Flight and The Lies I Tell; Ann Dávila Cardinal, The Storyteller’s Death; Iman Hariri-Kia, A Hundred Other Girls. Moderated by Kate Roddy, Associate Editor at Sourcebooks.
Center Stage – Title IX, 50 years later: Women writers, women’s sports – Corin Adams, Tiny Setbacks, Major Comebacks, Julie DiCaro, Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America, and Melissa Isaacson, State: A Team, a Triumph, a Transformation in conversation with Jeanie Chung
Poetry Foundation – Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Wherever I’m At: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry – Readings by Daniel Bortzutzky, Ugochi Nwaogwugwu, Elise Paschen, and Sara Salgado. Emceed by Carlo Rotella.
Main Stage – Chicago Sun-Times Presents Social Justice in Chicago: The Mexican community’s fight to stay in the city. Host: Elvia Malagon. Guest: Mike Amezcua, author of Making Mexican Chicago: From Postwar Settlement to the Age of Gentrification
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Dr. David Ansell, The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills and Dr. Thomas Fisher, The Emergency: A Year of Healing and Heartbreak in a Chicago ER with Katherine Davis, Crain’s
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – Elizabeth Crane, This Story Will Change: After the Happily Ever After with Kim Brooks
Grace Place (1st Floor) – The Onion: America’s Finest News Source In The Post-Apocalypse featuring Skyler Higley and Sammi Skolmosk
Center Stage – PHENOM & EmceeSkool (Open Mic)
Main Stage – (3:30 p.m. ) Joe Meno, Book of Extraordinary Tragedies with Gint Aras
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Beth Macy, Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis with Alex McLevy
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – Leslie Bow, Racist Love: Asian Abstraction and the Pleasures of Fantasy with Michelle Huang.
Grace Place (1st Floor) – Rebuilding a Life – Ann McGlinn, Ride On, See You; Alex Poppe, Jinwar and Other Stories; Lynn Sloan, Midstream with Rachel Swearingen
Center Stage – The Chicago Public Library and16th Street Theatre Present The Billboard by Natalie Moore – Staged Reading featuring Ti Nicole Danridge and Felisha McNeal followed by conversation between Natalie Moore, The BillBoard and Kathy Hey, Third Coast Review
Poetry Foundation – RHINO Poetry – Readings by April Gibson, Kathleen Rooney, Jessica Walsh, E. Hughes, Faisal Mohyuddin, Kenyatta Rogers, Jacob Saenz, Maja Teref & Steven Teref. Emceed by Naoko Fujimoto and Elizabeth O-Connell Thompson.
Main Stage – (4:30 p.m.) – Literary Death Match – Presented by StoryStudio Chicago and Near South Planning Board. All-star judges: David Cerda, Julia Morales, and Luis Urrea. Readers: Shannon Cason, Elizabeth Gomez, Mikki Kendall, and Diana Slickman. Emceed by Adrian Todd Zuniga.
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Resistance, Resilience and Surviving the Sex Trade: – Brenda Myers-Powell, Leaving Breezy Street: A Memoir and Hannah Sward, Strip in conversation with Anne Ream, The Voices and Faces Project
Center Stage – The Guild Complex Presents Exhibit B – Reading by CM Burroughs, Ruth Margraff, and Nami Mun. Emceed by James Stewart III
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Ramzi Fawaz, Queer Forms in conersation with Chicago LGBT Hall of Famer Owen Keehnen
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11
Center Stage – Representation in Children’s Books: Reading and Conversation featuring Sam Kirk, The Meaning of Pride; Mrs. Yuka Layme, Co-Producer of Drag Queen Story Hour; Katie Schenkel, Cardboard Kingdom with Barbara Egel
Poetry Foundation – A Poetry Reading featuring Jennifer Steele, 826 Chiand Chris Aldana, Luya Poetry
Main Stage – Pirates, Ghosts, and Loss – Sara Connell, Ghost House and Michael Zapata, The Lost Book of Adana Moreau with Paula Carter
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Kori Rumore and Marianne Mather (authors of), and Rick Kogan (prelude to) He Had It Coming: Four Murderous Women and the Reporter Who Immortalized Their Stories with Mary Wisniewski
Center Stage – Chicago Graphic Novelists – Markisan Naso, By the Horns and Michael Moreci, Wasted Space in conversation with Terry Gant, Third Coast Comics
Poetry Foundation – Chris Abani, Smoking the Bible – Reading followed by conversation with Parneshia Jones
Main Stage – Jamie Ford, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy in conversation with Carey Cranston, President of the American Writers Museum
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Victor Ray, On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care with Cassandra West, Crain’s
Grace Place (2nd Floor) – – Rev. Amity Carrubba in conversation with Tom Montgomery Fate, The Long Way Home: Detours and Discoveries
Center Stage – NU Press Reading, Growing Up Chicago – Second to None: Chicago Stories – Readings by Anne Calcagno, Shelley Conner, and Jessie Ann Foley. Emceed by David Schaafsma
Poetry Foundation – Roger Reeves, Best Barbarian – Reading followed by conversation with Simone Muench. Musical accompaniment, Mai Sugimoto.
Main Stage – Girlhood in Chicago – Illinois Poet Laureate Angela Jackson, More Than Meat and Raiment and Debut Novelist Toya Wolfe, Last Summer on State Street in conversation with Amina Gautier
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Dana Suskind, Parent Nation: Unlocking Every Child’s Potential, Fulfilling Society’s Promise in conversation with Heidi Stevens
Center Stage – City in a Garden of Books: Literary Fellowship Among Independent Publishers and Booksellers – Parneshia Jones, NU Press; Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Third World Press Foundation; Doug Seibold, Agate Publishing with Jeff Deutsch, In Praise of Good Bookstore
Main Stage – Secrets – Bradeigh Godfrey, Imposter and Marie Myung-Ok Lee, The Evening Hero with Kate Wisel
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Kevin Boyle, The Shattering: America in the 1960s in conversation with Elizabeth Taylor
Center Stage – Adam Levin, Mount Chicago in conversation with Jarrett Neal
Poetry Foundation – Young Chicago Authors – Reading featuring The Roots Crew, hosted by E’mon Lauren
Main Stage – The Moth: 25 Years of Live Storytelling featuring Grace Topinka, Melissa Earley, Archy Jamjun, and Jacoby Cochran
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Neil Steinberg, Every Goddamn Day: A Highly Selective, Definitely Opinionated, and Alternatingly Humorous and Heartbreaking Historical Tour of Chicago in conversation with Shermann Dilla Thomas (“6figga_dilla”)
Center Stage – Reading and Conversation featuring Ana Castillo, My Book of the Dead: New Poems with Yolanda Nieves
Main Stage – Romance Panel: Legacy and Love – Ali Brady, The Beach Trap and Natalie Caña, A Proposal They Can’t Refuse with Tanya Lane
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – The Insidiousness of Hatred – Adam Langer, Cyclorama and Jerry Stahl, Nein, Nein, Nein!: One Man’s Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust in conversation with Ben Tanzer
Center Stage – The Crisis in American Democracy – Dick Simpson, Democracy’s Rebirth: The View from Chicago and Michael Dorf, Clear It with Sid!: Sidney R. Yates and Fifty Years of Presidents, Pragmatism, and Public Service with Gerry Plecki, President of The Society of Midland Authors
Poetry Foundation – Reading and Conversation featuring Tara Betts, Refuse to Disappear and Keli Stewart, Small Altars. Moderated by Rachel Jamison Webster
Main Stage – Chloé Cooper Jones, Easy Beauty: A Memoir with Gina Frangello
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – Sarah Kendzior, They Knew: How a Culture of Conspiracy Keeps America Complacent – with Rick Perlstein, Crain’s
Center Stage – Blue Heron Press, Open Heart Chicago: An Anthology of Chicago Writing – Readings by Dorothy Frey, Lorena Ornelas, Joe Peterson, and Sandi Wisenberg. Emceed by Editor Vincent Francone.
Main Stage – Debut YA Fiction – Giano Cromley, The Prince of Infinite Space and Skyler Schrempp, Three Strike Summer with Michelle Falkof
731 S. Plymouth Ct. – A Visual Read of the City – Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times architecture critic; Blair Kamin, former Chicago Tribune architect critic; Dennis Rodkin, Crain’s with Gerald Butters\