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Feature Thu Jun 05 2008

GB Book Club Guide to the 2008 Printers Row Book Fair

The 24th annual Printers Row Book Fair takes place this weekend in the South Loop, on Dearborn, between Congress and Polk. It is the biggest literary extravaganza in the city, and admission to all the events is free. More than 200 authors and 150 booksellers are scheduled to participate in this year's fair, so we've put together this guide to highlight the best of the best of the fair, pointing out authors of current and past Book Club selections appearing at the fair, don't-miss events and our favorite local booksellers and publishers.

Tell Them You Read It for the Book Club

How many of these books did you read along with us? Meet the writers of some of our past (and future) book club picks. You might even get your books signed.

Achy Obejas – Saturday at 11am at the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Stage
Memory Mambo by Achy Obejas was our April 2006 selection, and the novel's unforgettable climax still gives me the willies. But in addition to writing award-winning novels, Obejas is also an accomplished poet. She will be giving a poetry reading this morning as the fair gets underway.

Alex Kotlowitz – Saturday at Noon at the Heartland Stage
Kotlowitz talks to author Nancy Horan during this event about her debut novel Loving Frank, which tells the true story of the affair between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Borthwick Chesney. We just read Never a City So Real by Kotlowitz for our January 2008 book.

Studs Terkel and Rick Kogan – Saturday at 3pm at the Harold Washington Library Center Cindy Pritzker Auditorium [Ticketed Event]
The venerable Studs Terkel holds court at the Chicago Public Library Saturday afternoon. His most recent book is his long-awaited memoir Touch and Go, but we read his first book, Division Street: America, in February 2006. Terkel never fails to entertain, and his wit is still sharp as a tack at 96 years old. He'll be talking to another favorite Chicagoan, Tribune journalist and WGN radio personality Rick Kogan. We read his book A Chicago Tavern: A Goat, a Curse, and the American Dream for our April 2007 meeting, and Kogan's appearance at and participation in our discussion was one of our most memorable book club meetings. This event will draw a big crowd, so be sure to reserve your free tickets ASAP.

Kevin Guilfoile – Saturday at 4pm at Grace Place, Sanctuary, 2nd Floor
Kevin Guilfoile moderates a discussion titled "Murder Most Foul," featuring a panel of fellow local crime writers, including Libby Fischer Hellman, Marcus Sakey, Sean Chercover and Michael Dymmoch. Guilfoile joined the book club for a highly memorable meeting when we read his first novel Cast of Shadows in November 2006.

Elizabeth Berg, Elizabeth Crane and Amy Krouse Rosenthal – Sunday at 11am at the Heartland Stage
Three – yes, three – book club authors in one great event! Don't miss this one as Amy Krouse Rosenthal moderates a discussion with Elizabeth Berg and Elizabeth Crane. Bestselling author Elizabeth Berg's new book is Dream When You're Feeling Blue, and we read her novel The Year of Pleasures in May 2007. Crane is promoting her new story collection titled You Must Be This Happy to Enter. We read her previous book All This Heavenly Glory for our February 2007 meeting. And Rosenthal's unconventional memoir Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life was our June 2006 selection.

Karen Abbott in conversation with Rick Kogan – Sunday at 3pm at the Heartland Stage
Abbott will be talking to Rick Kogan about her best-selling nonfiction work Sin in the Second City about Chicago's infamous Everleigh Club. The book is coming out in paperback now, and we'll be reading Sin in the Second City for our November 2008 meeting.

Aleksandar Hemon – Sunday at 3:30pm at the Harold Washington Library Center Multi-Purpose Room [Ticketed Event]
Hemon is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The Question of Bruno and Nowhere Man, which was our October 2005 selection. Now he's due to repeat that success with his new book The Lazarus Project. Reserve your free tickets for a chance to see this still-rising local literary star.

Audrey Niffenegger and Elizabeth Crane – Sunday at 4pm at the Heartland Stage
If you go to see Karen Abbott at 3pm, don't get out of your seat, because Audrey Niffenegger and Elizabeth Crane are up next, participating in the Other Voices finale reading along with fellow local writers Billy Lombardo and Gina Frangello. Niffenegger is the author of the best-selling novel The Time Traveler's Wife, our June 2005 book club book, and this is your second chance to see Crane at the fair (see above).

More Local Authors and Don't-Miss Events

Scott Turow – Saturday at 10am at the Harold Washington Library Center Cindy Pritzker Auditorium [Ticketed Event]
Turow is a prominent Chicago lawyer and author of such wildly popular novels as Presumed Innocent and Reversible Errors. This year he is receiving the Harold Washington Literary Award.

S.E. Hinton – Saturday at Noon at the Harold Washington Library Center Cindy Pritzker Auditorium [Ticketed Event]
This is the event not to miss. The S.E. Hinton, author of the modern classics The Outsiders and That Was Then, This Is Now, will be at the book fair to receive the 2008 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Book Prize. Get tickets now if you still can, otherwise you'll be left standing outside, clutching your dog-eared copy of The Outsiders and telling complete strangers how Pony Boy was your favorite character ever when you were 12.

Chris Ware, Ivan Brunetti and Chris Oliveros – Saturday at 1pm at the Heartland Stage
Well-known local comics artist Chris Ware will be appearing with fellow cartoonist Ivan Brunetti and Drawn & Quarterly publisher Chris Oliveros to talk about "Cartoonists Editing Comics." This event is another don't-miss in my book.

Augusten Burroughs – Sunday at 1:30pm at the Harold Washington Library Center Cindy Pritzker Auditorium [Ticketed Event]
Burroughs is the author of the best-selling books Running with Scissors and Dry. His most recent memoir is A Wolf at the Table. Reserve your tickets now for a chance to see him at the fair.

Alpana Singh and Charles Blackstone – Sunday at 3pm at the Good Eating Stage
Alpana Singh is the host of the popular local PBS series "Check Please!" and the author of Alpana Pours. In this event she talks with hubby Charles Blackstone, author of the novel The Week You Weren't Here.

Local Booksellers, Publishers and Other Friends of the Book Club

Be sure to stop by these booths, and tell them Gapers Block sent you (results may vary).

The Book Cellar – OO
The Book Cellar has been generously hosting the GB Book Club's monthly meetings since our group's inception. Not only is The Book Cellar a great local bookshop (and not a bad place for lunch, either), but the staff also works tirelessly to support and promote local authors through the store's monthly Local Author Night series and other events on its typically packed schedule.

Chicago Writers Association – 245, 247
The Chicago Writers Association is a creative community of hardworking up-and-coming local writers. Members will be manning the tables at the fair. Check out the CWA website to see which writers will be appearing at the fair.

Featherproof Books – 327, 329
Local indie publisher Featherproof Books is gaining a respectable track record for publishing some pretty cool novels by some pretty cool new writers, including its latest, the typographical graphic novel boring boring boring boring boring boring boring by Zach Plague. We read the Featherproof's first publishing effort, The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs by Brian Costello, for our February 2008 book.

Lake Claremont Press – DD
We love local publisher Lake Claremont Press because they publish book about our favorite topic — Chicago. From the city's food to its history, ghosts, culture, music, geography and more, the books from Lake Claremont Press all read like love letters to our city.

The Newberry Library – 142
What is The Newberry Library? Besides being one of the world's leading independent research libraries, it is also host to dozens of events throughout the year, including musical and theatrical performances, exhibits, lectures, workshops and seminars in the humanities. And, best of all, this incredible resource is free and open to the public. The Newberry also holds an annual book fair in July that should not be missed.

The Poetry Center of Chicago – PBP2
The Poetry Center of Chicago is dedicated to supporting and promoting poets and their work throughout the city through regular events, readings and its successful Hands on Stanzas program which places Chicago poets in public school classrooms to encourage students to read and write poetry.

TallGrass Writers Guild – 225
The TallGrass Writers Guild is an active community of local writers that holds regular readings and literary events at venues around the city. The group also publishes an annual anthology of writings in association with Outrider Press.

Third World Press – F
Local publisher Third World Press is one of the country's "oldest and well-respected independent publishers of Black thought and literature." It was founded in 1967 and the publisher's extensive catalog includes works by Gwendolyn Brooks, press founder and author Haki R. Madhubuti, Sterling Plumpp, Tavis Smiley and more.

Women & Children First – PP
Women & Children First is one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country and has been one of Chicago's best-loved indie bookstores since it first opened in 1979. Although the store carries titles on every topic imaginable, its real strengths are in its excellent stock of books by and about women, children's books, and lesbian and gay fiction and nonfiction.

~*~

For complete information about the fair, including the full schedule, maps and ticket information for the special events, visit the official Printers Row Book Fair website.

 
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Book Club is the literary section of Gapers Block, covering Chicago's authors, poets and literary events. More...

Editor: Andrew Huff, ah@gapersblock.com
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