| Aug 11, 2013
Susan O'Halloran writes about searching as a child for "models of whiteness to be proud of."
She was an Irish-Catholic kid growing up in the '50s and '60s on Chicago's vehemently segregated Southwest Side. She recalls her neighbors and relatives...
| Jan 21, 2013
| 1:08 PM
Today the nation honors the life of Martin Luther King Jr., the reverend and activist who led the American civil rights movement. As King studied nonviolence as practiced by Gandhi and imagined by Henry David Thoreau, now his own life and work are the...
| Mar 26, 2013
| 2:03 PM
These are very sweet days for Sugar Blue.
In a few months, he'll be a father once more, his wife and bass player Ilaria Lantieri expecting their first child together in late May or early June.
In the meantime, the two — who own a home in...
| Jun 14, 2013
| 8:12 AM
Genre mash-ups are de rigueur these days. Of course, writers like Margaret Atwood have been tight-roping the misty border between literary fiction and speculative fiction, fantasy and mystery for years. But a new outcropping of younger upstarts, such as...
| Feb 19, 2013
| 6:00 AM
It's almost as if Kevin Smokler found himself in 30-something detention: well into adulthood, he was sentenced to go back and re-read the books he read in high school English class. He might have escaped if he hadn't been passing notes in class written...
| Jun 4, 2013
| 7:59 AM
He is the poet laureate of Chicago jazz and blues, a man who conveys in words as much melody and rhythm as the musicians he immortalizes in print.
For more than four decades, Sterling Plumpp has transformed the sounds of Chicago jazz giants – such...
| May 20, 2013
| 4:10 PM
A committee building a new memorial in Annapolis has extended the deadline for names of those who took part in the August 1963 March on Washington, where the Rev. Martin Luther King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
The committee had initially...
| Jul 4, 2012
| 4:36 PM
The Library of Congress' list of 88 books that shaped America includes poetry, novels, nonfiction, a play, a polemic, books of science and grammar, cookbooks and children's books. What's it missing?...
| Mar 28, 2012
In the words of renowned author James Baldwin, March’s Teacher of the Month, Susan Steinmiller, rejects making peace with mediocrity.
The devoted teacher drives 100 miles daily from Rockford to Gage Park High School on Chicago’s south side,...
| Sep 22, 2012
| 6:47 AM
VINCENNES, France -- I am one of about five dozen invitees to the biennial Festival America book fair just outside Paris. Toni Morrison is the guest of honor at the event, which brings together authors from the Americas. Jennifer Egan is here too, along...
| Dec 7, 2012
| 12:13 PM
Every journalist's nightmare is the interview with the subject who responds to questions with one-sentence (or even one-word) answers. Fortunately, the writer Nathan Englander — who was in Chicago recently as the inaugural Crown Speaker Series...