Authors 2021


North Shore Authors Showcase 

We are proud to announce our full 2021 program series which contains a variety of eclectic and engaging topics. All programs will again be live, virtual online so you can join us from WHEREVER you are!

The North Shore Authors Showcase series features authors from greater Chicago and beyond, hosted by North Shore Unitarian Church as part of its engagement with the broader community. Each program begins with an informal, live talk by the author, followed by audience Q&A.  

Advance registration is required. You may subscribe to the entire series or to single events.
To subscribe to the 2021 series: The 2021 series of 8 events is now available for $30 — a 25% savings. Plus you receive the December 2020 special bonus event. To subscribe, click here.
To subscribe to single eventsplease use the link provided at the end of each program description below.
Please note that series subscriptions and single tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable.

For copies of the authors’ works, please support the local, independent bookstore that has collaborated with our series: Book Bin Northbrook. Orders may be placed at their website (click here) or by calling them at 847-498-4999. During the current public health crisis, they offer books by mail and by contactless curbside pickup.

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, November 2, at 7:00 p.m. Janet McCracken, Professor of Philosophy, Lake Forest College, The Aesthetics of Lost

From 2004-2010, ABC’s Lost was a TV phenomenon. As Bill Keveney of USA TODAY wrote, however, on the fifteenth anniversary of the series premiere (9/20/19) “unfortunately, the impressive accomplishments of ” Lost” are sometimes eclipsed by the dissatisfaction with the 2010 series finale.” On this account, Professor Janet McCracken argues, the aesthetic contribution of Lost to TV and streaming video has been underappreciated. She will look especially at two aesthetic achievements of Lost: its novel use of the medium as a network TV show in the internet age, and its maintenance of an eerie, unheimlich, sensibility from episode to episode. Professor McCracken returns to the North Shore Authors Showcase following her popular 2020 presentation, “Perry Mason as Greek Tragedy,” in  Perry Mason and Philosophy.  More information and registration for this event will be available in the near future.  For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

*RESCHEDULED* Tuesday, November 30, at 7:00 p.m.  Riva Lehrer, Adjunct Assistant Professor Painting and Drawing, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Golem Girl: A Memoir

What do we sacrifice in the pursuit of normalcy? And what becomes possible when we embrace monstrosity? Can we envision a world that sees impossible creatures?

In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. At the time, most such children are not expected to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to “fix” her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. That she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medical interventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a good patient in the quest to be cured. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.


Previous Events:

Tuesday, September 14, at 7:00 p.m.  Kate Hannigan, History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire: Rising from the Ashes

In History Comics: The Great Chicago Fire, writer Kate Hannigan and illustrator Alex Graudins tell the true story of how a city rose up from one of the worst catastrophes in American history, and how this disaster forever changed how homes, buildings, and communities are constructed. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Free Bonus Event: May 25, at 7: 00 pm.  Jean Laurenz, MAY DESCENDED (film screening) – An abstract art film inspired by the life and writings of Lafcadio Hearn

Lafcadio Hearn was an overlooked 19th century writer and cultural preservationist. His examinations of race, marginalized spiritual communities, and the beautiful strangeness of humankind remain resonant today, 150 years later. Jean Laurenz shares her ghostly film which pays homage to Lafcadio, her great-great-uncle. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.


Tuesday, May 4, at 7:00 p.m.  Joe Meno, Author and Playwright, Between Everything and Nothing: The Journey of Seidu Mohammed and Razak Iyal and the Quest for Asylum

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice, this harrowing true story of two young men from Ghana and their quest for asylum highlights not only the unjust political system of their homeland, but the chaos of the United States’ failing immigration system. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m.  Kathleen Rooney, Senior Professional Lecturer, DePaul University, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey

From the green countryside of England and the gray canyons of Wall Street come two unlikely heroes: one a pigeon and the other a soldier. Answering the call to serve in the war to end all wars, neither Cher Ami, the messenger bird, nor Charles Whittlesey, the army officer, can anticipate how their lives will briefly intersect in a chaotic battle in the forests of France, where their wills will be tested, their fates will be shaped, and their lives will emerge forever altered. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, March 2, at 7:00 p.m.  Amy Stanley, Professor of History, Northwestern University, Stranger in the Shogun’s City:  Japanese Woman and Her World

A vivid, deeply researched work of history that explores the life of an unconventional woman during the first half of the 19th century in Edo—the city that would become Tokyo—and a portrait of a great city on the brink of a momentous encounter with the West. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m.  Rebecca Graff, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Lake Forest College, Disposing of Modernity The Archaeology of Garbage and Consumerism during Chicago’s 1893 World’s Fair (Co-published with The Society for Historical Archaeology)

Through archaeological and archival research from sites associated with the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Disposing of Modernity explores the changing world of urban America at the turn of the twentieth century. Featuring excavations of trash deposited during the fair, Rebecca Graff’s first-of-its-kind study reveals changing consumer patterns, notions of domesticity and progress, and anxieties about the modernization of society. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, January 5, at 7:00 p.m.  Miles Harvey, Professor of English, DePaul University, The King of Confidence A Tale of Utopian Dreamers, Frontier Schemers, True Believers, False Prophets, and the Murder of an American Monarch

In the summer of 1843, James Strang, a charismatic young lawyer and avowed atheist, vanished from a rural town in New York. Months later he reappeared on the Midwestern frontier and converted to a burgeoning religious movement known as Mormonism. In the wake of the murder of the sect’s leader, Joseph Smith, Strang unveiled a letter purportedly from the prophet naming him successor, and persuaded hundreds of fellow converts to follow him to an island in Lake Michigan, where he declared himself a divine king. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Saturday, December 12, at 9:30 a.m, Olivier Lebleu, French writer and novelist (author) and Cynthia Hahn, Professor of French, Lake Forest College (translator for English edition), In the Footsteps of Zarafa, First Giraffe in France, a Chronicle of Giraffamania 1826-1845

This engaging account traces the remarkable history of France’s first giraffe, a diplomatic gift from Egyptian Pasha Muhammed-Ali to King Charles X in 1826. “Zarafa,” taken by boat from Egypt to Marseilles and walked all the way to Paris, was accompanied by her Arab handlers and a famous French naturalist. She drew vast crowds along her route, sparking a giraffomania that was widely documented in art and literature. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 7 p.m.  Robert Pippin, Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago. The Philosophical Hitchcock.  For more information please click here.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 7 p.m.  Liam Heneghan, Professor of Environmental Science, DePaul University. Beasts at Bedtime, Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children’s Literature. For more information please click here

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 7 p.m.  Sam Brunson, Professor, Loyola University Chicago School of Law. God and the IRS. For more information please click here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 at 7 p.m.  Michael Fisch, Associate Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences, the University of Chicago. An Anthropology of the Machine: Tokyo’s Commuter Train Network. For more information please click here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 at 7 p.m.  Claire Hartfield, Chicago lawyer and author. A Few Red Drops: The Chicago Race Riot of 1919For more information please click here.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2020 at 7 p.m. Janet McCracken, Professor of Philosophy, Lake Forest College, “Perry Mason as Greek Tragedy,” in Perry Mason and Philosophy. For more information please click here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 7 p.m.  John Buehrens, Past President (1993-2001) of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Conflagration: How the Transcendentalists Sparked the American Struggle for Racial, Gender, and Social Justice. For more information please click here.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 7 p.m.  Barbara Risman, Distinguished Professor of Sociology, the University of Illinois at Chicago. Where the Millenials Will Take Us: A New Generation Wrestles with the Gender Structure. For more information please click here.