Once again, the Printers Row Lit Fest, the midwest’s largest literary festival, takes over Dearborn Street from Congress to Polk. There are books to buy, lectures to listen to, and autographs to obtain. If you haven’t bought your tickets yet, here are some of our suggestions for the weekend’s best bets.
Marilynne Robinson in conversation with Mary Schmich, Saturday 10 AM Robinson, author of the classic Housekeeping and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Gilead, has, throughout her career, written about faith and spirituality honestly, without resorting to easy “inspirational” bromides. She’ll discuss her life and work with Tribune columnist (and fellow Pulitzer laureate) Schmich.
Thomas Frank, Listen Liberal, Saturday 10 AM The former Chicagoan and Baffler editor takes on the decline of the Democratic Party in his latest, Listen Liberal. We talked to him in April. Now you can talk to him too.
How to Represent the Contemporary War Experience?: Kim Barker and Maximilian Uriarte in conversation with Colin McMahon, Saturday 10 AM In her memoir The Taliban Shuffle, Hollywoodized as Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Kim Barker provided a distinctly unheroic view of life as a foreign correspondent during her stint in Afghanistan for the Tribune. Uriarte did a tour of duty as a U.S. marine in Iraq and now draws the comic Terminal Lance. McMahon, another former Tribune correspondent, now an editor, moderates the conversation.
Welcome to the Neighborhood, Saturday 10:30 AM Five writers tell stories about their neighborhoods for Paul Dailing and Rachel Hyman’s continuing itinerant live-lit series.
Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players, Saturday 11 AM and 2 PM Two years ago, Roberts’s Grammy nomination for Best Children’s Album for his record Recess (he lost) sparked a spirited debate on this very website about the necessity of music written especially for children. Go see them and draw your own conclusions.
Justin Peters in conversation with Owen Youngman, Saturday noon Slate correspondent Peters discusses his book The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet with former Tribune editor and current Medill prof Youngman.
KissCon, Saturday 12:30 PM If you adore romance, here’s your chance to chat with an all-star panel of writers, amid lots of love and laughter.
R.L. Stine, Saturday 12:30 PM If any adult in your life ever gave you crap for compulsively devouring Stine’s Goosebumps series, the Tribune has now provided you with an airtight justification for your reading habits: Stine is this year’s Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award winner. That makes Goosebumps officially Literature, and award-winning literature at that. Stine will accept his award and then discuss scary things with the Tribune‘s Stevens.
The Monster Gasped, OMG!, Saturday 2 PM Students at Brentano Math and Science Academy read from their new collection of monster stories, published in collaboration with 826CHI. If you would like to give money to this worthy cause and also meet NPR’s Peter Sagal, you can attend Prologue, 826’s literary cocktail party, on Friday night.
Seymour Hersh in conversation with Rick Perlstein, Saturday 2 PM Chicago journalist and historian Perlstein interviews reporting legend Hersh about his latest book, The Killing of Osama Bin Laden, an investigation of what really happened, on the ground and behind the scenes at the White House, on the night in 2011 when Bin Laden was killed.
Anne Elizabeth Moore and Andi Zeisler, Saturday 2:15 PM Feminist authors and publishers Moore and Zeisler discuss who creates visual culture and who profits from it, one of the themes of both their new books, Threadbare: Sex, Clothes, and Trafficking and We Were Feminists Once, respectively.
Mystery Writers of America Flash Fiction Contest, Saturday 3 PM Can you create a mystery based on a prompt from the Mystery Writers of America and solve it in 500 words and impress Sara Paretsky and Lori Rader-Day with your dramatic reading? Now’s your chance to give it your best shot.
LaShonda Katrice Barnett, Rebecca Traister, and Lindy West in conversation with Greta Johnsen, Saturday 4 PM Among feminist writers, West, author of the new memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, is a folk hero; Barnett, playwright, author of the novel Jam 0n the Vine and a prof at Northwestern, is a force to be reckoned with; and Traister, author of the history All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, is a rock star. With Hillary Clinton poised to become the first female presidential nominee from a major political party, this seems like an auspicious time for a state-of-the-union conversation, with Nerdette‘s Johnsen, about women in America.
Ruth Reichl in conversation with Bill Daley, Sunday 11:45 AM Reichl’s first memoir, Tender at the Bone, is one of the most charming books ever written about learning to eat. Now she’s got a cookbook out, My Kitchen Year, a collection of the recipes she cooked during the year after she was laid off as editor of Gourmet, and she’s here to demonstrate her kitchen skills with the Tribune‘s Bill Daley.
“If I Can’t Timejump, I Don’t Want to Be in Your Revolution”: Charlie Jane Anders, Kameron Hurley, Annalee Newitz, and Dan Sinker, Sunday 12:30 PM Remember Sinker’s @MayorEmanuel Twitter account, and how it said more about both Rahm and the 2009 mayoral election than most conventional news reporting? Now Sinker joins science and science fiction writers Newitz, Anders, and Hurley for a discussion about all the ways speculative fiction can capture the bizarre world we live in.
Marcia Clark, Michael Harvey, and David Swinson in conversation with David Heinzmann, Sunday 1:30 PM Yes, that’s the Marcia Clark, once a prosecutor, now a mystery author, in conversation with local authors Harvey, Swinson, and Heinzmann.
Ethan Michaeli and Natalie Y. Moore in conversation with Lolly Bowean, Sunday 2 PM Leave Printers Row, walk two miles south, and you’ll be in Bronzeville. Journalists Michaeli and Moore discuss their new books, The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America and The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation, and the history and future of the south side and Chicago’s African-American community.
Buzz Aldrin in conversation with Christina Korp, Sunday 2:30 PM Because how can you pass up the chance to see a man who walked on the moon?
Printers Row Lit Fest, Sat 6/11-Sun 6/12, 10 AM-6 PM, Dearborn between Congress and Polk, printersrowlitfest.org, fest passes sold out, single events $3.