Authors 2023


North Shore Unitarian Church is pleased to announce North Shore Authors Showcase 2023, our fourth year (wow!) offering monthly Zoom online programs (10 each year) featuring presentations by Chicago area authors of recent nonfiction books across a wide range of topics. The informal remarks of the author are followed by live Q&A with our Zoom audience. All programs are open to the public by reservation each month.

Register for a season subscription today! Click here to get started.  Interested in a single event? Please click on the links below.

For questions, please email .  

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 at 7 PM CST: Don Meyer, Souvenir Music from the Columbian Exposition.

To celebrate the 125th anniversary, this album offers 18 pieces of “souvenir music” from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. The tracks have little to do with the music actually heard at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition; instead, the music on this album capitalized on the Fair craze in Chicago and across the country. Along with buttons, medals, brochures, postcards, and other memorabilia that flooded the market, this sheet music offered a musical “souvenir” of one’s time at the Fair. Some of these pieces were made popular in local theaters, either played by orchestras or performed by popular singers on the vaudeville stage. Others were simply meant to be taken home and played on the parlor piano. They provide a glimpse into the way the visitors understood and remembered this profound experience. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here

Don Meyer is a Professor of Music at Lake Forest College.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 7 PM CST: Jim Hagy, The Instant Illusionist and the Cleveland Bunch: Dreams of a Vaudeville Life

While vaudeville-era Cleveland, Ohio always brings first to the minds of magicians the legendary Karl Germain, Cleveland had a remarkable number of professional magicians and vaudeville aspirants at the beginning of the 20th Century. Among them was John Grdina, who with no prior experience witnessed a chance performance by a leading 19th century illusionist and then leapt right to attempting his own two-hour stage show, embarking on a vaudeville career and marrying his assistant the same week. He had plenty of friendly competitors right nearby. The Instant Illusionist and the Cleveland Bunch provides a visually rich overview celebrating the lives and work of this close-knit group of hopeful Houdinis with a lifelong love of magic. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.
Jim Hagy is a Distinguished Lecturer in Residence at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Past 2023 Programs:

Saturday, September 9, 2023 at 9 AM CST: Olivier Lebleu Meyer & Schirlitz  [note special day and time]

After the “Overlord” landings in June, 1944, Paris was liberated in August, and the rest of France was freed in the following weeks. So why did two pockets of German resistance along the Atlantic coast, in Royan and in La Rochelle, remain for several months more?

Blocking access to Bordeaux, the city of Royan will end in martyrdom under a carpet of Allied bombs on 5 January 1945. But the fortress of La Rochelle, with its port, submarine base and German garrison of 18,000 soldiers guarding the historic city and its 30,000 civilians, will be delivered intact by the occupier.

By what perilous negotiations were two enemy officers able to avoid the worst in the besieged city? Two men of honor, French Commander Huber Meyer and German Admiral Ernst Schirlitz, strove to see beyond the war towards reconciliation and the reconstruction of Europe. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.

Rejoining us from France will be Olivier Lebleu, together this time with his Chicago-based translator Leonor Adriana Rosado Bonewitz, to take us on the story of Meyer & Schirlitz, or Saving La Rochelle Under Siege (published in French under the title MEYER & SCHIRLITZ, ou Le sauvetage de La Rochelle (sept. 1944 – mai 1945)), where they will also discuss plans for an English edition of this extraordinary story.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023 at 7 PM CST: Jacqueline Alcántara, Illustrator

Jacqueline Alcántara’s first book “The Field” (written by Baptiste Paul, published by North South Books) received 3 starred reviews and won Jacqueline the Sonia Lynn Sadler Award in 2018. Her second book, “Freedom Soup” (written by Tami Charles, published by Candlewick Press) received 4 starred reviews and was a Junior Library Guild, Indiebound and Amazon selection in 2019.  “Jump at the Sun” (written by Newbery honoree Alicia D. Williams, published by Cailtyn Dlouhy/Antheneum Books ) and “Your Mama” ( written by NoNieqa Ramos, published by Kwame Alexander’s imprint Versify Books / HMH), were both released in 2021 and received a total of 7 starred reviews. 

In addition to the children’s illustration field, Jacqueline has worked with other clients including Obama Foundation, NPR, The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Foundation for Women, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Elle Decor, and University of Chicago creating illustrations for a range of editorial and promotional projects. She has a never ending interest in learning new skills and taking on new challenges. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 at 7 PM CST: Sarah Federicks, Environmental Guilt and Shame: Signals of Individual and Collective Responsibility and the Need for Ritual Responses.

Bloggers confessing that they waste food, non-governmental organizations naming corporations selling unsustainably harvested seafood, and veterans apologizing to Native Americans at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation for environmental and social devastation caused by the United States government all signal the existence of action-oriented guilt and identity-oriented shame about participation in environmental degradation. Environmental Guilt and Shame demonstrates that these moral emotions are common among environmentally friendly segments of the United States but have received little attention from environmental ethicists though they can catalyze or hinder environmental action. Concern about environmental guilt and shame among “everyday environmentalists” reveals the practical, emotional, ethical, and existential issues raised by environmental guilt and shame and ethical insights about guilt, shame, responsibility, agency, and identity. A typology of guilt and shame enables the development and evaluation of these ethical insights.

Environmental Guilt and Shame makes three major claims: first, individuals and collectives, including the diffuse collectives that cause climate change, can have identity, agency, and responsibility and thus guilt and shame. Second, some agents, including collectives, should feel guilt and/or shame for environmental degradation if they hold environmental values and think that their actions shape and reveal their identity. Third, a number of conditions are required to conceptually, existentially, and practically deal with guilt and shame’s effects on agents. These conditions can be developed and maintained through rituals. Existing rituals need more development to fully deal with individual and collective guilt and shame as well as the anthropogenic environmental degradation that may spark them. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.

Sarah Federicks is an Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics and the University of Chicago Divinity School.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023 at 7 PM CST: Benjamin Zeller, “The Fraternité Notre Dame: From Emergence in Fréchou to Sojourn in Chicago”

The Fraternité Notre Dame is a traditionalist Catholic Marian movement founded in 1977 by Bishop Jean Marie Kozik, né Roger Kozik. Kozik received monthly visions, primarily of the Virgin Mary, and established the Fraternité as a Marian devotional movement in Fréchou, southern France. This article analyzes and contextualizes the history of the Fraternité Notre Dame and its founder Bishop Jean Marie, showing how Jean Marie and his movement responded as religious entrepreneurs, innovating in response to the growing tension between the Fraternites and their religious-cultural context, which culminated in their choice to leave France and reestablish themselves in Chicago. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.

Benjamin Zeller is a Professor of Religion, Chair of Religion, and Chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College.

February 7, 2023 at 7 PM: Deborah Cohen, Last Call at the Hotel Imperial

Last Call at the Hotel Imperial is the extraordinary story of John Gunther, H. R. Knickerbocker, Vincent Sheean, and Dorothy Thompson. In those tumultuous years, they landed exclusive interviews with Hitler and Mussolini, Nehru and Gandhi, and helped shape what Americans knew about the world. Alongside these backstage glimpses into the halls of power, they left another equally incredible set of records. Living in the heady afterglow of Freud, they subjected themselves to frank, critical scrutiny and argued about love, war, sex, death, and everything in between.

Plunged into successive global crises, Gunther, Knickerbocker, Sheean, and Thompson could no longer separate themselves from the turmoil that surrounded them. To tell that story, they broke long-standing taboos. From their circle came not just the first modern account of illness in Gunther’s Death Be Not Proud—a memoir about his son’s death from cancer—but the first no-holds-barred chronicle of a marriage: Sheean’s Dorothy and Red, about Thompson’s fractious relationship with Sinclair Lewis.  The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.

Deborah Cohen, the Richard W. Leopold Professor of History and Department Chair (2020-2023) at Northwestern University, is a historian of modern Britain and Europe. 

Her interests run the methodological gamut, from social science-inspired comparative history to biography.  Trained as a modern Europeanist (with specialties in Germany and Great Britain) she has recently published on Anglo-Argentines and the history of family capitalism and on American foreign correspondents.  Although her subjects have varied, a few thematic interests run through:  state and society, the public histories of private lives, and material culture.  

January 3, 2023 at 7 PM: Jeff Deutsch, In Praise of Good Bookstores

At our inaugural Authors Showcase event of the year, Jeff Deutsch, the Director of the Seminary Co-Op Bookstores, will talk about his recent book, In Praise of Good Bookstores. 

Our ongoing program series for 2023 is in development. Additional programs will be announced soon.

To view an archive of all past showcase programs, please click here.