Authors 2022


We are pleased to announce our full 2022 program series which contains a variety of eclectic and engaging topics. All of our 2022 programs will again be via Zoom online, so that you can listen and participate from wherever you are. We look forward to having you join us!

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 2022 series: The 2022 series of 8 events is now available for $30 — a 25% savings. To subscribe, click here.
To subscribe to single events: please 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:



Past Events in the 2022 Authors Showcase:

Saturday, November 5, 2022 at 9 AM (note special day and time). Jori Lewis, Slaves for Peanuts: A Story of Conquest, Liberation, and a Crop That Changed History

 Americans consume over 1.5 billion pounds of peanut products every year. But few of us know the peanut’s tumultuous history, or its intimate connection to slavery and freedom.
Lyrical and powerful, Slaves for Peanuts deftly weaves together the natural and human history of a crop that transformed the lives of millions. Author Jori Lewis reveals how demand for peanut oil in Europe ensured that slavery in Africa would persist well into the twentieth century, long after the European powers had officially banned it in the territories they controlled.
Delving deep into West African and European archives, Lewis recreates a world on the coast of Africa that is breathtakingly real and unlike anything modern readers have experienced. Slaves for Peanuts is told through the eyes of a set of richly detailed characters—from an African-born French missionary harboring runaway slaves, to the leader of a Wolof state navigating the politics of French imperialism—who challenge our most basic assumptions of the motives and people who supported human bondage.  For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022 at 7 PM.  Spencer Tweedy & Lawrence Azerrad, Mirror Sound

Everywhere you look, musicians are creating, recording, and selling their music without the help of big-name studios, producers, or labels. This book offers tangible–and visually stunning–proof that self-recording is a path to artistic freedom. Each chapter takes on a specific aspect of self-recording through original interviews with musicians and all new photography, revealing the joys and complications of recording music on one’s own terms. You’ll learn how some of your favorite musicians charted their path to self-recording and how they use emerging technologies to make exceptional music. The book features intimate shots of artists recording in living rooms, backyards, and garages–such as Eleanor Friedberger, Mac DeMarco, Vagabon, Tune-Yards, Yuka Honda, and more. The first book devoted entirely to the practice of self-recording, Mirror Sound charts a way forward for any musician who aspires to make their own music and those who just love to listen. Mirror Sound is a visual portrait that delves into the people and processes behind self-recorded music, featuring some of the biggest names in music today.

Spencer Tweedy is a musician and writer from Chicago, has collaborated on albums by Mavis Staples, Norah Jones, and Beck with his father, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy.

Lawrence Azerrad is a Los Angeles-based graphic designer, has created album art for bands including Wilco and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Azerrad is also the author of Supersonic: The Design and Lifestyle of Concorde (Prestel). For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at 7 PM.  Robert Gross, The Transcendentalists

The Transcendentalists and Their World offers a fresh view of the thinkers whose outsize impact on philosophy and literature would spread from tiny Concord to all corners of the earth. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Alcotts called this New England town home, and Thoreau drew on its life extensively in his classic Walden. But Concord from the 1820s through the 1840s was no pastoral place fit for poets and philosophers.

Robert A. Gross is the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Professor of Early American History Emeritus at the University of Connecticut. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at 7 PM. Lori Rader-Day, Death at Greenway

Lori Rader-Day is the Edgar® Award-nominated and Anthony and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author of Death at Greenway (forthcoming October 2021), The Lucky One, Under a Dark Sky, The Day I Died, Little Pretty Things, and The Black Hour. She lives in Chicago, where she is co-chair of the mystery readers’ conference Murder and Mayhem in Chicago and the immediate past national president of Sisters in Crime. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 7 PM. Jude Stewart, Revelations in Air

In Revelations in Air, Jude Stewart takes us on a fascinating journey into the weird and wonderful world of smell. Beginning with lessons on the incredible biology and history of how our noses work, Stewart teaches us how to use our noses like experts. Once we’re properly equipped and ready to sniff, Stewart explores a range of smells—from lavender, cut grass and hot chocolate to cannabis and old books—using smell as a lens into art, history, science, and more. With an engaging colorful design and exercises for readers to refine their own skills, Revelations in Air goes beyond science or history or chemistry–it’s a doorway into the surprising, pleasurable, and unfamiliar landscape of smell.

Jude Stewart writes about design and culture for Slate, the Believer, The Atlantic, Fast Company, Design Observer and other publications. She is also a contributing editor at PRINT magazine. She is also the author of ROY G. BIV and Patternalia. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 7 PM. Benjamin Lenhardt, Jr., Gardens of the North Shore of Chicago

Ben Lenhardt, an avid gardener and preservationist, explores the rich tradition of gardening along the shore of Lake Michigan from Evanston to Lake Bluff. This area, which includes Winnetka, Highland Park, and Lake Forest, is one of the most affluent in the United States, and the gardens are verdant retreats, lushly planted and meticulously maintained. Twenty-five gardens are included, organized according to their design — classic, naturalistic, country, and experimental. Lenhardt’s authoritative and engaging descriptions, based on detailed interviews with the owners, are complemented by vivid images by noted landscape photographer Scott Shigley.

Benjamin F. Lenhardt is Chair Emeritus of the Garden Conservancy, where he served on the board for more than fifteen years and as chair from 2011 to 2018. An avid gardener and preservationist in both Charleston, South Carolina, and Winnetka, Illinois, Lenhardt serves on the boards of Drayton Hall, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Preservation Society of Charleston, and the Chicago Botanic Garden. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 7 PM.  David Berner, Walks with Sam

A man, his dog, and a long walk can lead to unexpected discoveries. In the tradition of many literary walkers, David W. Berner sets out on foot hoping to reexamine his life, look back and forward, and most importantly, through the help of his young dog, Sam, try to find harmony in new beginnings and the uncertainties of the present.

David W. Berner’s memoirs reflect on our collective relationships and how those experiences link us to the world we share. David’s stories are about fathers and sons, the redemptive power of road trips, travel, music, and the sage-like connections we share with pets. He has been the Writer-in-Residence for the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, and the Writer-in-Residence at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois. Along with his writing credentials, David has had a distinguished career as a broadcast journalist, reporting for the CBS Radio Network, WBBM Radio Chicago, and public radio outlets throughout America. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 at 7 PM.  Susan Kerns, I’d Like Everything That’s Bad for Me, Tank Girl’s Cracks in Patriarchal Pop Culture

Professor Kerns will share perspectives about the indie countercultural comic phenomenon Tank Girl from her recent work, featured in The Routledge Companion to Gender and Sexuality in Comic Book Studies.

Susan Kerns is an Associate Professor at Columbia College. She is also a filmmaker, writer, and film festival programmer. She is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Chicago Feminist Film Festival and formerly was Education Director at the Milwaukee Film Festival. She serves regularly on juries of national and international film festivals. For more information, or to register for this as a single event, click here.