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For someone who loves books and reading, Donna Seaman has a couple really sweet gigs. She’s an associate editor at Booklist, the review magazine published by the Chicago-based American Library Association, and since 1994 she’s hosted Open Books, an hour-long WLUW radio program whose mission, Seaman says, “is to bring as many literary writers to the attention of as many readers as possible.” In her new book, Writers on the Air: Conversations About Books (Paul Dry Books), Seaman has culled 32 interviews from the multitude she’s conducted over the years to present a diverse group of authors discussing inspiration, working methods, and art and life in general. Among many interesting factoids: Aleksandar Hemon insists “nonfiction is for cowards”; Alex Kotlowitz, whom one might assume is a naturally talented listener, says “listening doesn’t come easily”; and Lynda Barry reveals that she got over the hump while writing Cruddy by handwriting the first successful manuscript in watercolor. Seaman knows her stuff and is likable and engaging in person; it’s easy to understand why writers are comfortable opening up to her. Mon 12/5, 5:30 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago Authors Room, 400 S. State, 312-747-4050. Open Books airs at 8 PM every second and fourth Sunday on 88.7 FM and at wluw.org.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Amanda Perry.