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April Events at

Women & Children First


April is National Poetry Month! In celebration, we'll be having
a poetry reading and special displays of our favorite poetry!

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TONIGHT! - Thursday, March 28th - The Cure for the Common Book Club
7:30 p.m.

Linda Bubon and Lynn Mooney


Join Linda and Lynn (who, combined, have more than 30 years' experience leading book groups) for an evening of wine and cheese and a discussion of what's working, and what isn't, in your book groups. We'll compare strategies for selecting books, keeping discussions on track, and more. We'll also preview the best new books for book groups from publishers' spring/summer 2013 lists (and will be giving away advance copies of some of them!). Come prepared to share your experiences of great books and not-so-great ones.  


Wednesday, April 3rd - Urvashi Vaid in Conversation with Kate Clinton

Irresistible Revolution turns an experienced and thoughtful lens onto many important questions that face the LGBTQ movement, including: Should we pursue broad or narrow agendas? How can we best integrate economic and racial justice issues into our goals? And how do we see beyond the short term to secure gains made for the long run? Urvashi Vaid is one of the nation's best-known social justice leaders and community activists. Her partner, Kate Clinton, has been a humorist and entertainer for more than thirty years, specializing in political commentary from a lesbian point of view. This is a free event, but reservations are recommended. Contact Tom Elliott at telliott@centeronhalsted.org or 773-472-6469. To pre-order a copy of the book, contact W&CF at 773-769-9299 or wcfbooks@gmail.com.  


Sunday, April 7th - Mary Driver-Thiel
4:30 p.m.

The World Undone


When Sylvia, a lonely only child in a world of privilege, discovers that her mother once had another daughter whom she gave up for adoption, Sylvia decides to go in search of that girl. That girl, Callie, has rarely allowed herself to think about why she was given away at birth, and Anne, their mother, has closed the door on her past and all of her feelings associated with it. So the dramatic and unexpected consequences of Sylvia's discovery change the lives of all three women forever. Mary Driver-Thiel holds degrees in both fine art and teaching. Her work has been published in various literary magazines. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Jerry, and Woki, the Wonder Dog. Her work time is divided between writing and private tutoring. The World Undone is her first novel; she is currently working on the sequel. 

Tuesday, April 9th - Jody Williams

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

My Name Is Jody Williams: A Vermont Girl's Winding Path to the Nobel Peace Prize

This event is co-sponsored by UIC's Social Justice Institute. 


From her modest beginnings to, in 1997, becoming only the 10th woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, Jody Williams takes the reader through the ups and downs of her tumultuous and remarkable life. In a voice that is at once candid, straightforward, and intimate, she relates how, in 1981, she began her lifelong dedication to global activism, battling to stop the U.S.-backed war in El Salvador. Throughout the memoir, Williams underlines her belief that an "average woman"--through perseverance, courage, and imagination--can make something extraordinary happen. She tells how, when asked if she'd start a campaign to ban and clear anti-personnel mines, she took up the challenge, and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) was born. Her engrossing account of the genesis and evolution of the campaign vividly demonstrates how one woman's commitment to freedom, self-determination, and human rights can have a profound effect on people all over the globe. In 2004, Williams was named by Forbes magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in its first such list. Since January of 2006, Jody Williams' work has continued via the Nobel Women's Initiative, which she chairs.   


Thursday, April 11th - Offsite Event with Thea Goodman

Offsite Event at Studio 110, 110 E. Delaware Place, Chicago

4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Meet Thea Goodman, author of The Sunshine When She's Gone 


The Sunshine When She's Gone is a fresh, funny, and wisely observed debut novel about marriage and parenthood--about the love, longing, and ambivalence exposed when a husband takes the baby on a highly unusual outing. Originally from New York City, Thea and her family now live in Chicago. She has published many short stories and has taught writing at New York University, the New School, and the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Thea will read read from her very funny debut novel, and then sign books. W&CF will the bookseller for this event. Books can be pre-ordered by phone at 773-769-9299. For more details about this event, call Salon 110 at 312-337-6411.  

Thursday, April 11th - Lucy Knisley
7:30 p.m.



Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe--many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions. Relish is a graphic novel for our time: it invites the reader to celebrate food as a connection to our bodies and a connection to the earth, rather than an enemy, a compulsion, or a consumer product. Lucy Knisley lives in a tiny apartment in New York City, where she can be close to her mom's cooking. Her comics about life, food, and travel have gained her a devoted audience on the Internet, and she is now doing food comics for the magazine Saveur. Lucy's first book, French Milk, is a travelogue about a trip to Paris. Relish is her most recent work.


 Friday, April 12th - Barrie Jean Borich and Melanie Hoffert


7:30 p.m.

Barrie Jean Borich

Body Geographic

Melanie Hoffert

Prairie Silence  


A memoir from the award-winning author of My Lesbian Husband, Barrie Jean Borich's Body Geographic turns personal history into an inspired reflection on the points where place and person intersect, where running away meets running toward, and where dislocation means finding oneself. Between Chicago and Minneapolis Borich maps her own Midwest, a true heartland in which she measures the distance between the dreams and realities of her own life, her family's, and her fellow travelers' in the endless American migration. Covering rough terrain, Body Geographic plots routes, real and imagined, and puts an alternate landscape on the map. Barrie Jean Borich teaches creative writing at Chicago's DePaul University and splits her time between Minneapolis and Chicago.
Growing up on a farm near the small town of Wyndmere, North Dakota, Melanie Hoffert realized at a young age that she had a secret she could not share with her tight-knit, devoutly religious community, or even with her own loving family: she was gay. After college, she moved to Minneapolis, but she continued to yearn for the prairie's comforting earth and wide, quiet main streets. In Prairie Silence Hoffert writes of what it means to long for home, when home isn't where one truly belongs anymore. She explores how confronting uncomfortable realities, rather than avoiding or denying them, can clear the way for personal growth. Melanie Hoffert's work has been published in several literary journals, and she holds an MFA in creative writing from Hamline University. She now lives in Minneapolis and works for Teach For America.


Saturday, April 13th - Nia Vardalos
                                  3:00 p.m.  

Nia Vardalos  

Instant Mom

Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton Street, Skokie  


In Instant Mom, Nia Vardalos, the Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated actress and writer, tells her hilarious and poignant road-to-parenting story that eventually leads to her daughter and prompts her to become an advocate for adoption. Moments after Nia Vardalos finds out she has been nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, she is alone and en route to a fertility clinic, trying yet again for a chance at motherhood. Vardalos chronicles her attempts to have a baby, and how she tried everything--from drinking jugs of green mud tea, to acupuncture, to working with two surrogates. Finally, she and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, decide to try adoption and discover a free service: Foster Family Agencies. Then one day, the social workers match her with an almost-three-year-old girl who she knows, instantly, is her daughter. With her signature wit and candor, Nia Vardalos reveals what really came next--the truth of how she and her husband transitioned a preschooler into their home. Vardalos opens up about the bawling tears and belly laughter that make up what it means to be a parent. W&CF will the bookseller for this event. Books can be pre-ordered by phone at 773-769-9299.    


Wednesday, April 17th - World Book Night Launch Party

7:30 to 8:30 p.m.  


Join us for pizza and refreshments as we celebrate the commitment and hard work of our volunteer Book Givers who will be giving away books on World Book Night, April 23. Joining the party will be past book givers, who will share their inspiring and surprising experiences last year. Tonight is an opportunity for pre-registered Book Givers to pick up their books and meet other Givers. For more information about World Book Night, see the description on our website or go to www.us.worldbooknight.org.

Friday, April 19th - Kerstin Lieff
7:30 p.m.

Letters from Berlin  


As a teenager in Berlin on the eve of World War II, Margarete Dos was preoccupied with school, friends, boys, and sports. But as the stepdaughter of a military officer, she was also aware of a growing air of fear and secrecy among those around her, and she struggled to make sense of what was happening. Margarete lost her brother to the army and treated wounded soldiers for the German Red Cross but eventually ended up in the Russian Gulag after a train she was on was rerouted from Sweden to deep inside Russia. More than 60 years later, her daughter brings her story to light, drawing on taped interviews, family archives, and posthumously discovered love letters to a mysterious soldier on the front written during the final siege of Berlin. Kerstin Lieff was born in Stockholm but was brought to the U.S. as an infant. Letters from Berlin is her first book.


Saturday, April 20th - Sappho's Salon

7:30 p.m. doors open, 8:00 p.m. showtime
Sappho's Salon: A Provocative Night of Lesbian Diversions
Featuring M. Shelly Conner and a Coming Out Stories Open Mic
$7 to $10 admission includes food and wine  


Tonight's installment of our popular salon night for lesbians and their friends features a reading by M. Shelly Conner and a Coming Out Stories Open Mic.  

M. Shelly Conner is a fiction writer at the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is revising her novel, everyman. Her short story "Hysteria" is forthcoming in Reverie: Midwest Journal of African American Literature. The second act of tonight's show will feature a Coming Out Stories Open Mic. Women: do you have a funny, weird, furious, unique, heartbreaking, or empowering story about coming out as lesbian or queer to family, friends, spouses, etc.? Whether rendered in poetry, prose, song, or simply sharing your story, all queer, bi, gender-variant, and lesbian-identified women are invited to step up to the mic and participate. Open Mic sign-up begins at 7:30. All proceeds benefit our featured artist and the Women's Voices Fund.

Sunday, April 21st - Meg Wolitzer
4:30 p.m.

The Interestings  

(This event was previously announced for a different date and time.) 


The Interestings chronicles the lives of six teenagers who become lifelong friends--beginning at a summer camp for the artistically talented and following them through adulthood. Over the decades, these characters realize that not everyone can sustain what seemed to be their adolescent specialness, and they can't help but see the divergence in their respective talents, fortunes, and degrees of life satisfaction. Examining the meaning of talent, the nature of envy, and the roles of class, art, money, and power, this ambitious new novel by Meg Wolitzer may well be the literary novel of the season. Meg Wolitzer's previous novels include The Uncoupling, The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, and The Wife. Wolitzer's short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. Refreshments will be served.


Tuesday, April 23rd - World Book Night
World Book Night is a program designed to spread the joy of reading by putting free books into the hands of people who might not normally have much access to them. Tonight book lovers all across the country will each be giving away 20 free copies of a book they love. It's expected that as many as half a million books will be given out tonight! Women & Children First is one of the more than 2,000 official book pick-up sites in more than 6,000 towns and cities around the country; the books are all donated by publishers, and the participating authors waive their royalties. For more information about World Book Night, go to www.us.worldbooknight.org

Wednesday, April 24th - Aleksandar Hemon
7:30 p.m.

The Book of My Lives


The Book of My Lives is part memoir, part love song to Sarajevo and Chicago, part heartbreaking paean to the bonds of family. Hemon's first book of nonfiction defies category and convention. It is a book driven by passions but built on fierce intelligence, devastating experience, and sharp insight. And like the best narratives, it is a book that will leave you a different person, with a new way of looking at the world, when you've finished. For fans of Hemon's fiction, The Book of My Lives is simply indispensable; for the uninitiated, it is the perfect introduction to one of the great writers of our time. Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Question of Bruno, Nowhere Man, The Lazarus Project, and Love and Obstacles. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a "genius grant" from the MacArthur Foundation, and the PEN/W. G. Sebald Award. He and his family live in Andersonville.  


Friday, April 26th - Carol L. Gloor and Susanna Lang of the Egg Money Poets Collective

7:30 p.m.

An Evening of Poetry  

Carol L. Gloor

Assisted Living

Susanna Lang

Tracing the Lines 

Gloor's chapbook Assisted Living was awarded Finishing Line Press's Starting Gate Prize for outstanding first book and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. In this collection, memories of a mother and father intersect and collide, break and melt. A testament to the bonds of family, Assisted Living should be required reading for anyone with parents at or nearing the end of their lives, "fluttering toward death." Carol L. Gloor is a semi-retired attorney in western Illinois who has been writing (mostly poetry) for forty years.
In Tracing the Lines, Lang mines the personal and historical geographies of a global citizenry, our collective missteps, and buried laughter. Lang observes the tenuous ritual of living and our struggle to make sense of it all somehow. Lang is the author of two previously published poetry collections, Even Now and Two by Two. She lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she is a literacy coach in the Chicago Public Schools and offers poetry workshops in public libraries.

Egg Money Poets is a Chicago-area poetry collective.

A Preview of Some of Our May Events

Wednesday, May 8

Carol Horton will be discussing her books Yoga Ph.D. and 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics & Practice.


Friday, May 10

at the Swedish Museum 

Eve Ensler will be reading from her new memoir, In the Body of the World. Seating is limited and tickets are required. Purchase of the book from W&CF comes with a ticket to the event. Companion tickets are available for $10.  


Tuesday, May 14

Audrey Niffenegger will be discussing her new book, Raven Girl.

Book Groups

Tuesday, April 2 at 7:15 p.m.

Classics of Women's Literature Book Group  - Cloud 9 by Caryl Churchill (postponed from last month)


Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 p.m.

Family of Women Book Group  -  Washington Square by Henry James


Sunday, April 14 at 5:00 p.m.

Kids First Book Group  -  Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur and Selection Meeting


Sunday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Feminist Book Group  -  The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf


Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Women's Book Group  -  When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz