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Chicago By The Book: The Federal Writers Project’s Illinois Unit

Thursday, April 25, 2019
6-8 p.m.

City Lit Books
2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647

The Caxton Club's newly-released Chicago By the Book maps out a history of our city through some of its most important literature. For this panel discussion, which includes moderator Donald G. Evans, author Sandi Wisenberg, Newberry Library's Director of Chicago Studies Liesl Olson, University of Chicago scholar Kenneth Warren, and Nelson Algren biographer Mary Wisniewski, we're going to focus on entry #61: Illinois: A Descriptive and Historical Guide. The Illinois unit of the Federal Writers Project's employed some of Chicago's finest literary minds, most before they were known to the general public. Richard Wright, Algren, Studs Terkel, Margaret Walker, Sam Ross, Arna Bontemps, and others turned out narratives for this government agency that included the guide book we'll use as the center piece of our discussion.  We'll explore this government initiative to support artists, as well as other such endeavors, and discuss the impact it had on future careers. Within Chicago By The Book are many examples of FWP's impact: #62 (Wright's Native Son), #71 (Algren's Chicago: City on the Make), #76 (Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March). #84 (Terkel's Division Street). Also, Bellow interviewed James T. Farrell (#51: Studs Lonigan trilogy) for the FWP. Join us at City Lit Books, one of Chicago's finest indepenent bookstores, for a modest reception and then discussion. Free and open to the public, including a modest reception. This event made possible through partnerships with The Caxton Club and City Lit Books.

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