Jimmy Carter,
PW Bookstore of the Year Nomination, and more!
March Events
at Women & Children First
PW Bookstore of the Year Nomination


Women & Children First has been named one of five finalists for this year's Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year Award. We are delighted that our hard work and vision is being recognized by our industry peers in this way. Other finalists this year include Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle; Green Apple Books, San Francisco; McLean & Eakin, Petosky, Michigan; and Prairie Lights, Iowa City. We are proud to be included in their company. The Publishers Weekly Bookstore of the Year Award will be presented during BookExpo America in New York City in May. 


Read Local

This month we are launching a new brand, "Read Local," to call attention to the many events we do with local literati--authors, editors, and publishers. Women & Children First has always taken great pride in working with the local writing community. We hope our new Read Local designation will help build audiences for and focus attention on the work of the extraordinarily talented writers of Chicago, now and into the future.  


Wednesday, March 5th - 
Editor Avital Norman Nathman and contributors
Deborah Siegel and Gina Crosley-Corcoran

7:30 pm

The Good Mother Myth


As a culture, we are obsessed with the notion of what it means to be a "good" mother. In this refreshingly honest collection of essays, The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality, wonderful writers reflect on and challenge the stereotypes and expectations about what it means to be a mother today and encourage women to form a community that refuses to compete against societal expectations-or one another. Avital Norman Nathman is a writer whose work places a feminist lens on a variety of topics, including parenting, maternal health, gender and reproductive rights. She has been featured in Bitch magazine, the New York Times, CNN.com, among others. In addition to her blog, The Mamafesto, she has a regular series, "The Femisphere," for Ms. Magazine's site, and a regular feminist parenting column, "Mommie Dearest," for The Frisky. The Good Mother Myth is her first book. Please join her, along with contributors Deborah Siegel and Gina Crosley-Corcoran, for a reading, discussion, and signing.


Thursday, March 6th - 
Editor Janet Burroway,  
with contributor Rosellen Brown

7:30 pm

A Story Larger than My Own: Women Writers Look Back on Their Lives and Careers


This collection celebrates a critical generation of women writers who challenged the status quo and helped pave the way for future generations--in addition to finding success for themselves. The essayists and poets featured in A Story Larger than My Own describe the pressure, the highs and lows, the all-too-frequent crises of confidence, the challenges of a changing publishing scene, and the difficulty of combining writing with the ordinary stuff of life--family, marriage, jobs. The contributors, all now over the age of sixty, also confront the effects of aging, with its paradoxical duality of new limitations and new-found freedom. Taken together, these stories offer advice from experience to writers at all stages of their careers and serve as a collective memoir of a truly remarkable generation of women. Janet Burroway lives in Lake Geneva. Rosellen Brown is the author of many books, including Before and After and Half a Heart, and now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A Read Local event.


Sunday March 9th - Patrick Dati

4:30 pm

I Am Me: A Survivor of Child Abuse and Bullying Speaks Out


When he was nine years old, Patrick Dati was raped by notorious serial killer John Wayne Gacy. After surviving this horrific ordeal, Patrick's trauma continued, as he became the target of his older brother's constant bullying. Overwhelmed by shame and guilt, Patrick hid that he was gay, which led to two heterosexual marriages, both ending in disaster. In this memoir, Patrick shares his story of self-discovery in hopes that others will find strategies for recovery and healing. Patrick graduated with a BA in Broadcast Communications from Columbia College and has spent the last decade as a marketing professional in the publishing industry. He is now a nationally recognized child advocate. Read Local event.


Sunday, March 16th -
Katey Schultz

4:30 pm

Flashes of War



From the perspectives of a U.S. soldier, a pragmatic jihadist, an Afghan mother, a ghost, and others, this short story collection questions stereotypes by bearing witness to the shared struggles of those touched by the War on Terror. Through personal moments of fear, introspection, confusion, and valor, Flashes of War serves as a universal plea for reconnection. Katey Schultz earned her MFA from Pacific University and is the recipient of the Linda Flowers Literary Award from the North Carolina Humanities Council. Flashes of War, her first book, won the 2013 Gold Medal Book of the Year for literary fiction from the Military Writers Society of America. She lives in a 1970 Airstream trailer bordering the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.


Tuesday, March 18th - Rachel Herron

7:00 pm

Pack up the Moon


Three years after a horrible tragedy took her son and tore her family apart, artist Kate Monroe is beginning to pick up the pieces of her life and move on. Then, Kate's world is rocked once more when the daughter she gave up for adoption twenty-two years ago suddenly reenters her life. In this novel by Rachel Herron, creator of the popular blog Yarnagogo.com, a family must confront its long-buried secrets and haunting betrayals. Rachel's previous titles include the romance novels Wishes and Stitches and How to Knit a Love Song, as well as the memoir A Life in Stitches. She is an accomplished knitter and lives in Oakland with her wife, Lala, and their menagerie of cats and dogs.


Wednesday, March 19th - Achy Obejas and Megan Bayles, joined by contributors Aleksandar Hemon and

7:00 pm

Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Stories


As debates about immigration rage across America's political spectrum, twenty-first-century immigrant literature both reflects and shapes the shifting definition of American identity. Immigrant Voices: 21st Century Stories, the newest publication by the Great Books Foundation, showcases fresh perspectives on the immigrant experience by writers from around the world. Join the co-editors, award-winning author Achy Obejas and cultural studies scholar Megan Bayles, for a reading and discussion. Megan Bayles is a freelance editor and a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Davis. Achy Obejas is the author of Ruins, Days of Awe, and other novels. Her Spanish translation of Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was a finalist for Spain's Esther Benítez Translation Prize from the National Translator Association. Refreshments will be served. Read Local event.


Thursday, March 20th - Paulette Livers

7:30 pm

Cementville: A Novel


In late spring of 1969, Cementville, a picturesque southern town, is turned inside out by the deaths of seven young National Guardsmen fighting in Vietnam. The return of the bodies triggers a mounting unease and violence within the town. With the Civil Rights Act only a few years old, a restless citizenry divided over the war, and the Women's Movement beginning to challenge traditional ideas about family life, Cementville

provides a microcosm of a society shedding the old order, echoing issues still being confronted today. Paulette Livers is a Chicago transplant, who was born and raised in Kentucky. She received the 2012 David Nathan Meyerson Prize for Fiction and has completed residencies and fellowships with the Center for the American West, Ox-Bow, and others. A Read Local event.


Friday, March 21st - Elizabeth Earley

7:30 pm

Launch Party

A Map of Everything



When Anne's teenage sister sustains a traumatic brain injury after a car accident, the whole family is thrown into a decades-long struggle for belonging, deliverance, and redemption--with surprising results. A Map of Everything intimately explores the fragility of family dynamics, revealing what is lost and gained after a tragedy. Elizabeth Earley's stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the Chicago Reader, Geek, Outside, the Windy City Times, and Ms. Fit Magazine. Elizabeth has twice been a finalist for the AWP New Journals Award and once for the Bakeless Literary Prize for Fiction. She has received two Pushcart nominations and serves as editor and curator of Bleed, a literary blog from Jaded Ibis Press. This event will also feature musicians Liz Chidester and Dalice Malice, spoken word artist Dasha Kelly, and graphic artist Christa Donner, who created original art for the color edition of A Map of Everything.  


Sunday, March 23rd - Alex Garel-Frantzen

2:00 pm

Gangsters and Organized Crime in Jewish Chicago

Location: Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N. Sheridan Road


Beyond the usual suspects like Al Capone, organized crime in 1920s Chicago also included various little-known Jewish gangsters born from the gritty Maxwell Street ghetto. Their illegal activity sparked rifts between Reform and Orthodox Jews and ignited tensions between city officials and Jewish leaders. This historical account is the result of tireless research from newspaper articles and editorials in the Chicago Tribune and the Yiddish language press, as well as studies by historians, sociologists, and reformers. Garel-Frantzen is a student at the University of Illinois College of Law, where he is a Juris Doctor candidate. Read Local event.


Tuesday, March 25th - Facilitated Discussion of The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich

7:00 p.m.

Discussion facilitators: Abigail Sylvester and Linnea Sandström Lange of Women Employed's Advocacy Council


We can't stop talking about The Good Girls Revolt! If you've read this eye-opening account of the first female class action lawsuit and/or attended Lynn Povich's recent appearance in Chicago, come join us for a discussion hosted by Abigail Sylvester and Linnea Sandström Lange of Women Employed's Advocacy Council. Povich's account of the 1970's lawsuit is framed by the account of three young women writers for Newsweek who, forty years later, are still struggling against a sexist culture.


Thursday, March 27th - Book Signing with President Jimmy Carter


A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power

At the Swedish American Museum, 5211 N. Clark Street


In President Jimmy Carter's travels around the world, he has noted many abuses against women and girls. In A Call to Action, his latest book, he defends the rights of women around the world and in particular challenges the use of religion to deny them equality.


Tickets are required. A purchase of A Call to Action from Women & Children First comes with a free ticket to the book signing. The book publishes on March 25th; the price (including tax) is $30.60. Each adult in the signing line must purchase a book. However, one child between the ages of 6 and 18 may accompany an adult ticketholder. (An infant in arms is also welcome.) Call 773-769-9299 or go to www.womenandchildrenfirst.com for more information or to pre-order a book and secure your ticket. 


Please note that this is a book signing only; you can greet President Carter, but he will not be giving a talk.


Sunday March 30th - Peggy Shinner

4:30 pm

You Feel So Mortal


In You Feel So Mortal, a collection of twelve provocative essays, Peggy Shinner examines her own body, those of her parents, and the collective body, with all its historical, social, and political implications. In trying to discern what this whole mess of bones, muscles, and organs means, Shinner ponders body image, gender, ethnic history, and familial legacy. A lifelong Chicagoan, Peggy Shinner teaches in the MFA creative writing program at Northwestern University and has been awarded two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships. Her work has been published in Fourth Genre, the Gettysburg Review, and the Southern Review, as well as other journals and anthologies. Read Local event.


Book Groups


Family of Women Book Group - Sunday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m. - Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada


Classics of Women's Literature - Tuesday, March 4 at 7:15 p.m. - Waiting for God by Simone Weil


Kids First Book Group (for 8-to-12-year-olds) - Sunday, March 9 at 5:00 p.m. - Remarkable by Elizabeth Foley


Feminist Book Group -

Sunday, March 9 at 6:30 p.m. - Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman


Women's Book Group -

Tuesday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. - Breathless: An American Girl in Paris by Nancy K. Miller


Save the Dates!


Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Anne Balay

Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers


Wednesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Kari Lydersen

Mayor 1%


Thursday, April 17, 7:30-8:30 p.m.

Party for World Book Night
Book Givers

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 local authors reading passages from their favorite books. Tonight is an opportunity for pre-registered "Book Givers" to pick up their books and meet other Givers. Joining us will be local authors, including Jac Jemc (My Only Wife), Claire Zulkey (An Off Year), S. L. Wisenberg (The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, Holocaust Girls), Megan Stielstra (whose essay, "Channel B," appears in Best American Essays 2013), and Sarah Terez Rosenblum (Herself When She's Missing).


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