Local Authors Take Note: The Evanston Literary Festival Book Fair Needs You

March 13, 2019

Great news for writers in town. For the second year in a row the Evanston Literary Festival (or ELF) will feature a book fair where local authors can present their titles. The 2019 ELF Book Fair will take place at the Evanston Public Library on Saturday, May 11, 2019 from 2-5 pm and is intended to showcase Evanston authors, presses, and literary organizations. Tables are provided free of charge.

To apply for a table at the 2019 ELF Book Fair, please complete the form found at https://goo.gl/forms/6VigHvYZOtjyRj4D3. Note that space is limited and submitting an application does not guarantee a spot at the fair. All types of books (including books for all ages) will be considered and authors, presses and literary organizations who apply will be selected to participate based on the following criteria:

1) The significance of their connection to the Evanston community. For example, authors who live or work in Evanston, presses and organizations that are based in Evanston and books about an Evanston topic will be given preference.

2) The ready availability of their books or services. Authors and presses offering print books and organizations currently serving the Evanston community will be given preference.

3) The publication date of their books. Preference will be given to books published after January 2018.

The deadline for applying is April 1, 2019. Applicants will be notified by April 15, 2019 if they’ve been selected for a spot at the fair. If selected, exhibitors are encouraged to sell their books at the event but will be responsible for handling all sales. They must also attend all 3 hours of the fair.

Know a local author? Let them know about our fair! Consider this a great way to buy local, meet writers, and connect to the Evanston literary scene.

They’re In Evanston?!?

February 14, 2018

I get very attached to my adopted homes. Evanston is probably the smallest of the cities I’ve lived in for long periods of time and, for that reason, I find it the most fascinating. Sitting like a little hat on the top of Chicago, it seems to have this odd ability to pull in talent from all walks of life. Recently I heard about a new author resident, recently relocated to town, and I got to thinking about all the writers that currently live here. Curious? Here’s a quick list of some of our most famous literary residents (just the ones living here today). And, naturally, you can find their books at the Evanston Public Library.

Natasha Tretheway

This Pulitzer Prize winner is a recent transplant to the area, all thanks to a job relocation to Northwestern. Amongst her many accomplishments, you’ll find that she was appointed United States Poet Laureate in 2012 and again in 2014. There’s nothing worse than having an accomplished writer move to your city only to find you don’t have any of their books in your library collection. Happily we have a large swath of books. Catch up on your reading and check out her books Thrall, Native Guard, or Domestic Work.

Scott Turow

The New York Times bestseller isn’t easy to spot around town, but his books certainly are. Haven’t read his stuff? Why not start with his most recent titles. We have Testimony, Identical, and Preseumed Innocent as well as a slew of his other books. Good for the thriller inside you.

Joseph Epstein

A frequent patron of the library, to his credit, and a charming individual to boot. This  essayist and short-story writer was the editor of the magazine The American Scholar for more than twenty years. Treat yourself to Frozen In Time: Stories, Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays, or Gossip: The Untrivial Pursuit for starters.

Garry Wills

Ms. Tretheway is not the only Pulitzer winner in town, of course. In 1993 Mr. Wills won the prize for General Non-Fiction and unless Wikipedia is leading me much astray (not an impossible probability) he is currently an Emeritus Professor of History at Northwestern University. His most recent titles include What the Qur’an Meant and Why It Matters, The Future of the Catholic Church With Pope Francis, and Making Make-Believe Real: Politics as Theater in Shakespeare’s Time.

Laurence Gonzalez

Dividing his time between Evanston and Sante Fe, you’ll find such titles as Surviving Survival,Flight 232, and the bestseller Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why in the Evanston Public Library Collection.

And by the way, if you want to travel down a rabbit hole from which you will never emerge, I highly suggest that you check out the Wikipedia pages List of People From Evanston, IL  and the Evanston Township High School Alumni list as well. Warning: You may never emerge again.

Local Authors and Book Connections You May Not Know

May 25, 2017

Once in a while we here at Evanston Public Library like to highlight the local authors and legends that make it onto our shelves.  We particularly like it when we learn something new in the process.  The other day I received a very interesting email from a Professor of History at Texas Southern University.  She wrote:

I would like to suggest that you consider adding the following historic novel to your collection: Angie Brown: A Jim Crow Romance (Outskirts Press, 2017), by Lillian Jones Horace (1880-1965), the US South’s earliest known African American female novelist, editor, Karen Kossie-Chernyshev, PhD, foreword by Michon Benson, PhD.

Angie Brown: A Jim Crow Romance is a coming of age migration novel in which the protagonist journeys midwestward in search for a better life. Part of the story unfolds in Illinois, which your readership may appreciate.

Suggesting is gradual positive reception, Angie Brown: A Jim Crow Romance recently won the Hungry Monster Gold Book Award, sponsored by a review service affiliated with Amazon.com.

You might also appreciate knowing that Lillian Horace spent considerable time in Evanston, IL, as her husband, J. Gentry Horace, once served as pastor of the historic Second Baptist Church, where he is still honored for helping marshal the church through the Great Depression.

Please consider also adding Recovering Five Generations Hence: The Life and Writing of Lillian Jones Horace (Texas A & M University Press, 2013) to your collection as well. It contains an annotated version of Horace’s historic first novel, Five Generations Hence, and a collection of scholarly essays treating various aspects of her work. Perhaps most importantly, it contains a biographical essay on Horace that examines her life in Chicago and Evanston.


I am happy to report that we will indeed be adding Ms. Horace’s books, both the new publication of Angie Brown and Recovering Five Generations Hence.  Look for these on the EPL shelves soon.

Meanwhile, local photographer Mark Swanson was in the library the other day.  He contacted me to let me know that he has a wide range of absolutely stunning nature books taken in our very own neck of the woods.  In fact he personally donated the following items:

  • Animals of North Park Village Nature Center
  • Birds of North Pond Nature Sanctuary
  • Birds of Montrose Point
  • Moments in Nature, Vol. 1: Birds of Chicagoland
  • Moments in Nature, Vol. 2: Insects of Chicagoland
  • Moments in Nature, Vol. 3: Butterflies & Moths of Chicagoland
  • Moments in Nature, Vol. 4: Damselflies of Chicagoland
  • Moments in Nature, Vol. 5: Dragonflies of Chicagoland

Because these items don’t have an ISBN our talented catalogers will have to take a little extra time to add them to our collection.  Rest assured that it will be worth the wait, however.  The critters on these pages are rendered in all their magnificent splendor.  Here are some sample images from his pages:

Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood? Local Evanston Authors On Our Shelves

January 20, 2017

book coverWhen I tell you that Evanston is full of local authors, that information should hardly shock you.  Being as literary a community as we are, writers are liable to spring up whenever possible.  And, whenever possible, we do try to add their books to our library.  Of course, there are authors like Laurence Gonzales and Joseph Epstein, but you tend to already know about them.  Let’s highlight some of the books and authors you may not be quite as aware of.

Here is a very small sampling of books by your friends and neighbors that you can certainly check out and read whenever you care to:

The Experimental Society by Marshall S. Shapo

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This book examines society’s responses to many kinds of experimentation, focusing on both creation of and assessment of risks. As people seek new ways to make their lives safer and happier, the widespread process of experimentation claims victims. Some of these are people who directly and willingly accept the risks of experiments. By comparison, some are effectively experimental subjects in the hands of others who often may not even think of themselves as experimenting with the lives of consumers.

Intricacies: Poems of the Heart by Joanna Kurowska

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“Joanna Kurowska’s latest collection of poems, Intricacies, burrows inside the heart and mind with spare, elegant writing, compact narratives of life, and lovely, lyrical language. In her quiet, soulful writing, Kurowska shines a light on the intricacies of life, faith, and our flawed humanity. The philosopher, poet, and academic, she composes vignettes of life that allow for nuance, while being rich in detail and wisdom. Kurowska has you questioning life, celebrating it, too. Boldly introspective, her poems linger with that rare combination of vision and intelligence.”

-Terry Loncaric
Author of Crashing in Velvet, Finishing Line Press

Brown Sky by David Covin

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David Covin was raised in Evanston and is a graduate of ETHS.  In this book Negro Sgt. Wilderness Jones introduces Negro 2nd Lt. Stephen Wenders to the reality of the U.S. Army, circa World War II, thus opening the b ook on the exploits of one of the most unique military outfits in American fiction- the Third Platoon of Company C of the 4748th Quarter -master Truck Battalion, headquartered at Camp Robinson, Arkansas . Unlike most Negro soldiers of World War II – whether of the real of fictional variety – men of the Third Platoon do not accept the illogic and idiocy of the Brown Sky philosophy . Instead, under the leadership of Stephen and Wilderness, the Third Platoon subverts segregation, disrupts army maneuvers, and faces down southern lawmen and hostile civilians.


Getaway with God by Letitia Suk

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What if there was a way to plug in and recharge your soul, not just your smartphone? What if a simple day away could transform your life? Getaway with God invites readers to step away from the incessant pressure of deadlines and demands to spend time with God. More to the point, it walks women through each step of designing their own retreat—whatever kind is needed. Content includes:

  • Step-by-step guidance and the necessary tools to enable any woman to plan an extended time away on any budget.
  • Detailed steps for preparation for a retreat.
  • Descriptions of three different kinds of retreats.
  • Templates for how to use each hour.
  • Guidance for how to design a five-day life-review retreat, including guided questions and ways to bring the retreat home.
  • Links for how to locate retreat centers nationwide.
  • Checklist for what to bring.


This title is currently in processing and is not in the library system quite yet.

Parables from the Outskirts of Polite Society by J.R. Summers

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Self Help, Life lessons, and Parables about relationships, money and wealth, forgiveness, and ultimately freedom. It’s like a reference manual for your life.


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