Painting of Bozo's Circus
Painting of Bozo's Circus
Don laughing

Coming Events


Saturday, February 23, 2019
10 a.m.

Newberry Library, Ruggles Hall
60 West Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Back of the Yards

The Shakespeare Project of Chicago reads Kenneth Goodman’s 1914 play Back of the Yards; Florice Whyte Kovan (Snickersnee Press) and June Sawyers (The Phantom Collective) give related presentations. I'll lead a talkback with director Peter Garino and actors from the reading. The event is free and open to the public but requires registration.

Sunday, March 10, 2019
5-7:30 p.m.

Private Home
Hyde Park

Great Chicago Books Club: Rosellen Brown

Rosellen will be our special guest at this fundraiser dinner. Ronne Hartfield is hosting at her place in Hyde Park, and in the second half of the evening I'll lead a discussion with Rosellen about her historical novel, The Lake on Fire. Registration information for the event is on the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame website.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
7 p.m.

Facebook Live!

The Wednesday Cafe

My good friend and fellow writer JoAnn Fastoff hosts a weekly author chat live on Facebook. She's invited me to be her guest on Wednesday, March 27, and I'm honored to do it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019
6-8 p.m.

City Lit Books
2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647

Chicago By the Book: The Federal Writers Project’s Illinois Unit

The Caxton Club put out a fantastic collection about Chicago books last year, and one of the entries is on a subject that fascinates me: the Federal Writers Project. At City Lit on this night, I'll lead an incredibly smart group of authors and scholars—Sandi Wisenberg, Liesl Olson, Kenneth Warren, and Mary Wisniewski—in a discussion about the governmental program that employed Chicago writers ranging from Nelson Algren to Margret Walker. Sandi did an AWP panel about this years ago, and created a handy website highlighting the topic. Free and open to the public, including a modest reception.

Saturday, May 4, 2019
10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Kenwood United Church of Christ
4600-08 S. Greenwood Ave.
Chicago, IL 60653

Chicago’s Black Literary Renaissance Bus Tour

I'm going to lead a bus tour of the South Side, and along the way we'll visit foundational places and their associations with important Chicago writers during the Renaissance.
We'll meet at Kenwood United, across the street from Gwendolyn Brooks Park. There is a registration fee; you can find all the details on the CLHOF website.

Sunday, May 5, 2019
1-3 p.m.

Oak Park-River Forest High School
210 Scoville Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302

Oak Park Literary Walking Tour

This tour, which explores Oak Park’s signicance in literature for more than a century, includes a visit to Jane Hamilton’s girlhood home, in honor of her GCBC appearance later that night. Registration fee required; details available on CLHOF website.

Sunday, May 5, 2019
5:30-8 p.m.

Private Home
Oak Park

Great Chicago Books Club: Jane Hamilton

Jane Hamilton is coming in from Wisconsin to visit her hometown and help the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame raise some money. This dinner/diiscussion will center around her novel Disobedience. Registration information is on the CLHOF website.

Thursday, May 9, 2019
1:30-3:30 p.m.

Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Chicago’s Gold Coast Walking Tour

This tour takes us to former author homes, old gathering spots, current institutions, and even certain legendary mansions. Registration fee required; details available on website. Join me for the tour, and then stick around for the Fuller Award to honor Sara Paretsky shortly after the tour.

Sunday, July 28, 2019
5-7:30 p.m.

Private Home

Great Chicago Books Club: Audrey Niffenegger

The great Audrey Niffenegger will be our special guest for this evening of dinner and conversation. We'll talk about her hit novel The Time Traveler's Wife while raising money to fund all the other programming we do at the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. Registration details are available on the CLHOF website.


Sunday, February 17, 2019
1 p.m.

WCGO, 15990
2100 Lee Street
Evanston, IL

Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall

Bill and Kerry are having me on; I'm looking forward it. Playtime is a show dedicated to the arts, and both hosts do a really nice job covering a broad range of topics and supporting many, many individuals and organizations. Hopefully we'll have time to talk about the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame calendar for 2019, which kicks off in earnest less than a week later with a staged reading at the Newberry Library.

Sunday, January 27, 2019
6-8:30 p.m.


Great Chicago Books Club: Nate Marshall’s Wild Hundreds

Our first 2019 installment of our fundraising author event features a recent poetry collection that is already a Chicago classic. Nate Marshall will be the honred guest as we discuss Wild Hundreds, a book that explores the rapper and breakbeat artist's far South Side terrain between 100th and 130th Streets. The event will be held in a private home; we'll provide the location if you inquire or register. The first half of the evening is a cocktail party; in the second half, I'll lead a discussion of Nate's career and book. Registration fee is $40. The money raised supports the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's other programming, including free events like exhibits, lifetime achievement ceremonies, and youth workshops. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019
2:30 p.m.

Newberry Library
Ruggles Hall
60 W. Walton Street
Chicago, IL 60610

Moby-Dick Read-a-Thon

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Herman Melville’s birth, the Newberry Library will host a Moby-Dick Read-a-Thon lasting 25 continuous hours. By the end of the marathon reading, a series of readers-performers will have collectively read Moby-Dick (aloud) cover to cover! I've been asked to read Chapter 14, “Nantucket,” which should take about five minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2019
7 p.m.

The Dial Bookshop
410 S. Michigan Ave. #210
Chicago, IL 60605

Lumpen Radio: Eye 94 Radio (FM 105.5)

Jeremy Kitchen, Mike Sack, and Jamie Trecker asked me on their Eye 94 broadcast from the Fine Arts Building. It will be taped in front of a live audience, so come out and listen. Jeremy, Mike, and Jamie host an interesting and impressive lineup of authors and other artists on their twice-a-week show, and I'm honored to be included. I think we'll talk about my story collection as well as the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.

Saturday, December 22, 2018
3-5 p.m.

Pitchfork Food & Saloon
2922 W. Irving Park Rd.
Chicago, IL 60618

Eckhartz Press: Holiday Author Fair

A host of Eckhartz Press authors, including Richard Reeder, Randy Richardson, and Becky Sarwate, will be hanging out on the eve of Christmas eve. Me, too. Our books will be available for sale, especially for those of you trying to finish your last-minute shopping. Lots of good books. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018
7 p.m.

Volumes Bookcafe
1474 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Our Screwed Up Families: Getting Together for the Holidays

Ben Tanzer, Anne-Marie Akin, Hannah Jennings, and Pete Anderson will join me for a holiday reading at Volumes this Thursday. We're hoping to have fun with this reading, toggling between our own tales of holiday joy/woe and some of the pieces we love, like David Sedaris' “Santaland Diares,” George Saunders' “Chicago Christmas 1984” and Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory. Anne-Marie is bringing her guitar and will sing an off-white Chrismtas tune. Hannah plans to read James Thurber's “A Visit From Saint Nicholas (In the Ernest Hemingway Manner),” which appeared in the Dec. 24, 1927 issue of The New Yorker

Come out—Volumes is such a great place, and with the holiday buying season well under way you can leave with enough books to cross some people off your list. 

Sunday, December 2
3 p.m. (Doors open)
4 p.m. (Performance begins)

Hamburger Mary's
155 S Oak Park Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

Oak Park Festival Theatre Concert Reading

The iconic Oak Park Festival Theater will present a concert reading of my short stories “Bah!” and “Go To the Snow.”  I'm super excited to hear these fantastic actors do this reading. Books will be available for sale, and both Hannah and I will be available to sign.  

Saturday, December 1
2 p.m.

Oak Park Public Library (Main Branch)
834 Lake Street
Oak Park, IL 60302

Off-White Saturday at the Oak Park Library

I'll be doing a reading and Hannah a presenation of her artwork for our own version of Black Friday. Only it's a Saturday. And there really aren't any deals. But we've been talking about making some wrapping paper out of Hannah's glorious illustrations, so maybe you can get your holiday gifts and get them wrapped, too. 

Friday, November 30
7-10 p.m.
Lockport, IL 

Private Book Party: Lockport

My sister Kathy is opening her house as an unofficial launch to the holiday season. She vows to have Christmas decorations up, tree and all, in time for the party. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018
3-5 p.m.

Cliff Dwellers
200 S. Michigan Ave., Penthouse
Chicago, IL

An Afternoon Holiday Tea at the Cliff

Hannah will be a featured guest at this afternoon tea, which is not only a well-known English tradition but part of the Cliff Dwellers history. There will be small cakes, assorted sweets, savory finger sandwiches and fine tea, as well as lively conversation on the books and plays that resonated with us in 2018. Hannah, who of course illustrated An Off-White Christmas, will tell us of the challenges and inspirations for her work. Also, Richard Reeder (moderator of The Cliff Dwellers Book Club) will introduce his recently released 1001 Train Rides in Chicago

Public is welcome to register. Cost: $25 per person

Reservations to Vivian  or call 312-922-8080.

Hannah Jennings Design