Authors 2024


North Shore Unitarian Church is pleased to announce North Shore Authors Showcase 2024, our fifth 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, February 6, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Laurie Zoloth, Ethics for the Coming Storm: Climate Change and Jewish Thought

How can we come to understand our existence on this earth, surrounded by air and light and water, while living in a place we deliberately and carelessly abuse, where resources are becoming scarce, and where the well-being and basic health of our neighbors is threatened?In Ethics for the Coming Storm, Laurie Zoloth argues that our debates about environmental issues have largely been driven by the language of economics and political power, and have become both deeply divisive and symbolic, turning our differing truth claims and moral appeals into signs of identity. This discourse has utterly failed to change the human behavior or political and economic structures necessary to face global warming head on. So Zoloth turns to another language, found in the texts and traditions of Jewish thought–the language of Scripture, the Talmud, and philosophy of Judaism–which, she contends, offers a different kind of argument for such a change. In fact, Zoloth claims, the traditions, histories, and texts of Jewish thought address precisely the sort of existential crisis that we now face, and thus deepen and enrich our public discourse about what to do, and who to be.

This book uses a careful attention to rabbinic and philosophical sources in Jewish thought to provide a novel framework through which we can reassess the choices we make that affect our climate, our environment, and our social structures.

Laurie Zoloth is the Margaret E. Burton Professor of Religion and Ethics; also in the College; The Program in Jewish Studies; and the MacLean Center for Biomedical Ethics at the Pritzker School of Medicine. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.


Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Michaela Kleber, Gender Studies in Illinois History

Professor Kleber will speak with us about her work in the history of early America, with a particular focus on Native America, French empire, and gender and sexuality. Her current work centers on the Illinois in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the French who colonized among them. Her project recovers the gender and sexuality structures of indigenous Illinois society in order to explain how these structures guided French colonization.

Michaela Kleber is an Assistant Professor of History at Northwestern University. 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 2, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Joe Small, Bare Witness: Collected Works

“Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.” Carl Sandburg’s quote captures the transcendence one feels when expressing a poem. Each of these poems was lovingly selected from a lifetime of attempts at flight. The observations and reflections are imaginative expressions of the myriad experiences encountered on life’s journey. They resonate with the gamut of human emotions, from love and anger to hope and passing, from breaking and healing to the wonder of being alive. There’s humor too.

You’re invited to strap yourself in and enjoy the flight!

Joe Small studied Poetry writing under the tutelage of Paul Hoover and Paul Carroll while earning a B.A. from Columbia College and an M.F.A. from the University of Chicago. He has continued to write poetry throughout a long career in the travel industry. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.


Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Radcliffe G Edmonds III, Carolina López-Ruiz, and Sofia Toarralas-Tovar, Magic and Religion in the Ancient Med-World

This volume explores aspects of ancient magic and religion in the ancient Mediterranean, specifically ways in which religious and mythical ideas, including the knowledge and practice of magic, were transmitted and adapted through time and across Greco-Roman, Near Eastern, and Egyptian cultures.

Magic and Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World appeals to both specialized and non-specialized audiences, with expert contributions written in an accessible way. This is a fascinating resource for students and scholars working on magic, religion, and mythology in the ancient Mediterranean.

Radcliffe Edmonds is the Paul Shorey Professor of Greek and Professor of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College; Carolina López-Ruiz is Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Mythologies in the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Department of Classics; and Sofia Toarralas-Tovar is Professor of Classics and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.


Tuesday, September 10, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Melissa Macauley, Distant Shores: Colonial Encounters on China’s Maritime Frontier

China has conventionally been considered a land empire whose lack of maritime and colonial reach contributed to its economic decline after the mid-eighteenth century. Distant Shores challenges this view, showing that the economic expansion of southeastern Chinese rivaled the colonial ambitions of Europeans overseas.

In a story that dawns with the Industrial Revolution and culminates in the Great Depression, Melissa Macauley explains how sojourners from an ungovernable corner of China emerged among the commercial masters of the South China Sea. She focuses on Chaozhou, a region in the great maritime province of Guangdong, whose people shared a repertoire of ritual, cultural, and economic practices. Macauley traces how Chaozhouese at home and abroad reaped many of the benefits of an overseas colonial system without establishing formal governing authority. Their power was sustained instead through a mosaic of familial, fraternal, and commercial relationships spread across the ports of Bangkok, Singapore, Saigon, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Swatow. The picture that emerges is not one of Chinese divergence from European modernity but rather of a convergence in colonial sites that were critical to modern development and accelerating levels of capital accumulation.

A magisterial work of scholarship, Distant Shores reveals how the transoceanic migration of Chaozhouese laborers and merchants across a far-flung maritime world linked the Chinese homeland to an ever-expanding frontier of settlement and economic extraction.

Melissa Macauley is Professor of History at Northwestern University. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.


Tuesday, October 1, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Bernard McGinn, Modern Mystics – An Introduction

Mysticism is not just a phenomenon of the past, but has been alive and flourishing in Chistianity, Judaism, and Islam over the past century, as well as in many of the other religious traditions. Best understood as a search for the transforming presence of God, the mystical tradition has necessarily undergone changes and developments as it has confronted modernity and its frequently anti-religious stance. Making use of ten exemplary mystics of the 20th century, including Catholic, Protestants, and Jews, this book argues for the continued importance of mysticism in the modern world and studies its ongoing transformations.

Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the University of Chicago Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on General Studies. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here.


Tuesday, November 12, 2024 at 7 PM CST: TBA



Past 2024 Programs:

Tuesday, January 2, 2024 at 7 PM CST: Kathleen Rooney, From Dust to Stardust

Kathleen Rooney, is a Senior Professional Lecturer at DePaul University. She spoke at the North Shore Authors Showcase in 2021 about her previous book, Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey.

From the bestselling author of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk comes a novel about Hollywood, the cost of stardom, and selfless second acts, inspired by an extraordinary true story.

Chicago, 1916. Doreen O’Dare is fourteen years old when she hops a Hollywood-bound trained with her beloved Irish grandmother. Within a decade, her trademark bob and insouciant charm make her the preeminent movie flapper of the Jazz Age. But her success story masks one of the relentless ambition, tragedy and the secrets of a dangerous marriage.

Her professional life in flux, Doreen traders one dream for another. She pours her wealth and creative energy into a singular achievement: the construction of a one-ton miniature Fairy Castle, the likes of which the world has never seen. So begins Doreen’s public tour to lift the nation’s spirits during the Great Depression- and a personal journey worth remembering.

A sweeping journey from the dawn of the motion picture era through turbulent twentieth-century America, From Dust to Stardust is a breathtaking novel about one determined woman navigating change, challenging the price of fame, and sharing the gift of real magic. The cost to register for this single event is $5. To register for this author talk as a single event, please click here

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