At Chicago Writers & Readers Weekend at Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, 20 local mystery and history writers will talk about their craft in five panels, for an audience of 30 people. It’s hard to imagine even C & S owner Augie Aleksy, the Chicago area’s most intrepid bookseller, going to so much trouble for the pleasure of so few. “It’s really more of an author’s salon,” Aleksy explains. He issued 60 invitations to prospective panelists and got 40 positive replies, mostly from writers who want to hang around and listen to each other. Except for one session during the second weekend (“Married Couples Who Write”), the panels have no theme and aren’t specific to genre. According to Aleksy, that makes for the liveliest discussion. He’s done this a couple times before, but not since 1997; he says he doesn’t want it to get “ordinary.” Panelists this weekend include mystery novelists Alex Matthews, Alzina Stone Dale, and Barbara D’Amato; historians Harriette Gillem Robinet, Ulrich Danckers, and David Solzman; philosopher and essayist Al Gini; Sun-Times book editor Henry Kisor (himself a mystery writer); and Chicago Historical Society president and biographer Lonnie Bunch. Sessions begin at 10, noon, and 2 on Saturday, April 24, and at noon and 2 on Sunday, April 25, at the bookstore, 7419 W. Madison in Forest Park. See for the full schedule. Admission is $7.50 on Saturday and $5 on Sunday; at press time tickets were still available. The second weekend of panels and workshops will be held May 22 and 23; early registration is available at $10 for the weekend. Call 708-771-7243.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Cynthia Howe.