Credit: Danielle Scruggs/Sue Kwong


Out of the Wreck I Rise: A Literary Companion to Recovery by Neil Steinberg and Sara Bader
September 8

Sun-Times columnist Steinberg will be conducting numerous readings and discussions of his latest book, a collection of advice, commentary, and helpful quotations to support readers on the journey to sobriety. The tour begins on Thursday, September 8, at 7 PM at the Poetry Foundation, where he’ll be joined by coauthor Bader, Tony Fitzpatrick, Carol Marin, and Rick Kogan. aPublication date Mon 9/5. Thu 9/8, 7 PM, Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior, 312-787-7070,  F

Colson WhiteheadCredit: Madeline Whitehead


Colson Whitehead discusses The Underground Railroad
with Natalie Y. Moore

September 13

Whitehead—the author of Oprah’s latest book-club pick, a literal and metaphorical journey through American slavery—talks about The Underground Railroad with Moore, a WBEZ reporter and author of The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation. aTue 9/13, 6 PM, Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th, 773-752-4381,, $5, $30 with a copy of the book.

Christine SneedCredit: Adam Tinkham


The Virginity of Famous Men by Christine Sneed
September 15

Local author Sneed will also be touring area bookstores, reading from her new collection of short stories. She’ll begin on Thursday, September 15, at 6:30 PM at Bookends & Beginnings. aThu 9/15, 6:30 PM, Bookends & Beginnings, 1712 Sherman, Evanston, 224-999-7722,  F

Gina FrangelloCredit: Blair Holmes


Gina Frangello in conversation with Rachel DeWoskin
September 15

Reader contributor Frangello celebrates the release of her new novel, Every Kind of Wanting, the tale of three Chicago families who contribute to the creation of a baby, with a book party and discussion with novelist and memoirist DeWoskin. aThu 9/15, 7:30 PM, Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, 773-769-9299,  F

Mary WisniewskiCredit: Jean Lachat


Mary Wisniewski and the ghost of Nelson Algren
September 17

Tribune reporter Wisniewski has produced Algren: A Life, a new biography of the writer who once famously compared our city to a woman with a broken nose. She’ll be discussing the book and the man, followed by a trip to the Rainbo Club for a celebratory toast. aSat 9/17, 6:30 PM, Volumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee, 773-697-8066,  F

Jonathan Safran FoerCredit: BEBETO MATTHEWS


Jonathan Safran Foer in conversation with Rebecca Makkai
September 21

After an 11-year hiatus from novel writing, Foer returns with Here I Am, a chronicle of a crisis within a family in Washington, D.C., set against the backdrop of a much larger crisis in the Middle East. aWed 9/21, 7:30 PM, Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, 773-883-9119,, $32 (includes book).

Ann PatchettCredit: Heidi Ross


Ann Patchett in conversation with Nerdette Podcast
October 20

Bookseller and best-selling author Patchett comes to Chicago to discuss her latest novel—Commonwealth, the story of 50 years in the lives of two intertwined families—with Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnsen, the brilliant minds behind Nerdette. aThu 10/20, 7 PM, First Evangelical Free Church, 5255 N. Ashland, 773-769-9299,, $32.

Abbi Jacobson and Samantha IrbyCredit: Brad Barket; EVA BLUE


Abbi Jacobson and Samantha Irby
October 28

This will be, undoubtedly, the funniest literary event of the fall, featuring Broad City‘s Jacobson chatting about her new release, Carry This Book, with Irby, the no-longer-living-in-Chicago-alas writer of Bitches Gotta Eat. aFri 10/28, 7 PM, Senn High School, 5900 N. Glenwood, 773-769-9299,, $30.

Malika AmeenCredit: Michael Jarecki


Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice by Malika Ameen
October 29

If you’ve been inspired by The Great British Baking Show‘s Chetna, Nadiya, and Tamal to use more south Asian flavors in your baking, you could do worse than learn from Ameen, a past Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant and former pastry chef at Aigre Doux who has just published her first book. aSat 10/29, Read It & Eat, 2142 N. Halsted, 773-661-6158,, $30.

Gloria Steinem, Gary Younge, Mary Roach, Mary Gaitskill, Yaa Gyasi, and Grant FaulknerCredit: Annie Leibovitz; Courtesy Internaz; Jen Siska; David Shankbone; Michael Lionstar; Toby Burditt


Chicago Humanities Fest
October 29-November 12

Once again, it’s time for our favorite annual two-week marathon of writers, artists, scientists, philosophers, cooks, and musicians, this year converging to talk about “speed.” Featured speakers include festival opener Gloria Steinem, Gary Younge, Mary Roach, Mary Gaitskill, Yaa Gyasi, and Grant Faulkner, founder of National Novel Writing Month. aSat 10/29-Sat 11/12, various times, various locations, 312-494-9509,, $20-$50, most events $10 for students and teachers.

Credit: Getty


NaNoWriMo at Volumes Bookcafe

The bookstore plans to write a novel this November Exquisite Corpse-style: after collectively deciding on the theme and genre, 28 patrons will each have a day to hang out in the bookstore (with free coffee!) and write a chapter. The staff will post the work in progress on its website, and then, on December 1, print out the whole thing for all to see. aVolumes Bookcafe, 1474 N. Milwaukee, 773-697-8066,

Zadie SmithCredit: Bryan Bedder


Zadie Smith
November 30

Smith returns to Chicago to talk about her latest novel, Swing Time, the story of two brown girls who want to be dancers. Only one has talent; the other has plenty of thoughts. aWed 11/30, 6:30 PM DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl., 773-752-4381,   v