Season 2 Upcoming Events
Tuesday, April 4 at 7 p.m. CST
Actor, author, and restaurateur Danny Trejo will discuss how he developed a prolific career in the entertainment industry with a hard-earned and atypical road to success. From years of imprisonment to helping troubled youth battle drug addictions, from acting to producing, and now on to restaurant ventures, Trejo’s name, face, and achievements are well recognized in Hollywood and beyond, but it is his continuous role as a devoted father of three and an intervention counselor that bring him the most satisfaction.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023 at 7 p.m. CST
Will Shortz, the editor of The New York Times crossword puzzle, and the world’s only academically accredited puzzle master, discusses crossword puzzles. The author/editor of more than 500 puzzle books, Shortz is also the puzzle master for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday and the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, held annually for more than 40 years. Through his championing of puzzles Will has earned admiring fans from all over the world.
In honor of this event, Will Shortz has created a special crossword puzzle all about Illinois. The puzzle will be emailed to all registrants after March 14!
Saturday, May 6 at 10 a.m. CST
Celebrate Free Comic Book Day with New York Times bestselling author and illustrator, Jarrett J. Krosoczka! Perfect for the entire family, this live, virtual drawing workshop is sure to inspire the inner artist in everyone. Jarrett creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores over the past twenty years. So sharpen your pencils, bring out the paper, and join us on Saturday, May 6 at 10a.m for this can’t miss event!
Jarrett J. Krosoczka, known since boyhood as "JJK," is the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist.
RESCHEDULED: Tuesday, June 6, 2023 at 7 p.m. CST
Hailed as “the new Toni Morrison” by the American Booksellers Association, Jesmyn Ward discusses how her literary vision and personal experiences address urgent questions about racism and social injustice. Her latest book, Navigate Your Stars, is an adaptation of her 2018 commencement address at Tulane University that championed the value of hard work.
A professor of creative writing at Tulane University and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Ward’s many honors include the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, a MacArthur Genius Grant, and a Strauss Living Award. In 2017, she became the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice. The standout writer of her generation, Ward’s stories are largely set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where she grew up and still lives.
Season 2 Past Events
Wednesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. CST
Experience an entertaining and hilarious evening with New York Times best-selling science author, Mary Roach - despite her claim that “people call me a science writer, though I don't have a science degree and sometimes have to fake my way through interviews with experts I can't understand”! Roach will discuss her frank approach to science, the importance of humor, and explore the weird, wonderful world in which we live.
Annalee Newitz will join Mary Roach in conversation. Newitz has a Ph.D. in English and American Studies from UC Berkeley and is one half of the hilarious podcast, Our Opinions are Correct. On their show, Newitz delves into the weird, wonderful, and nerdy framework of science in pop culture.
Wednesday, February 8 at 7 p.m. CST
Join us for an evening of inspiration and conversation with best-selling and award-winning children’s and young adult author and poet, Kwame Alexander, author of the Newbery Award winning book, The Crossover, Newbery Honor/Caldecott Medal winning book, The Undefeated, and most recently, An American Story, for an Illinois Libraries Present event for young people and their families. Kwame will share ways to say yes to your story and persist in the face of rejection as he shares his own publishing journey. As a creator of more than 36 books, Kwame will energize our community to harness the power of words and storytelling for change!
Please note that this program will be presented live without a recording.
Wednesday, January 11 at 7 p.m. CST
Kick off your new year with a conversation about joy with best-selling essayist and award-winning poet Ross Gay. An exploration of the joy we incite when we turn our attention to what we love and what brings us together, Ross will discuss his most recent collection of essays, Inciting Joy, with performance poet Dan “Sully” Sullivan.
Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller.
Dan “Sully” Sullivan is a three-time Chicago Poetry Slam Champion. His poems and performances have been featured on HBO Def Poetry Jam, WGN Morning News, and National Public Radio. Sully’s first full-length book of poems, The Blue Line Home, is available from EM-Press.
Tuesday, December 13th at 7 p.m. CST
Join Shauna Sever, cookbook author, TV and radio contributor, and daughter of the great Midwest as she shares her love of food, baking, and tips to make holiday gatherings delicious. Her cookbook, Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland, was named one of the Best Baking Cookbooks by The New York Times.
In conversation with Chicago Tribune food critic Louisa Chu, co-host of the Chewing podcast, graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, and a James Beard Foundation nominee.
Wednesday, September 14th at 7 p.m. CST
In celebration of Deaf Awareness Month, Marlee Matlin joins Illinois Libraries Present to share the highs and lows of her Hollywood career and journeys as an activist. The youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar, Matlin’s acting career recently achieved another milestone as her 2021 film CODA swept every category it was nominated in at the 2022 Academy Awards.
A longtime advocate for deaf rights, Matlin continues to break down barriers for herself and others through her acting, awareness, and writing. As she has so aptly stated, “The only thing I can’t do is hear. The rest is there for the taking.”
This program will be offered in ASL and translated through an interpreter.
Pilot Season Events | 2022
An Evening with Michelle Zauner
with Jessica Hopper
Thursday, June 30, 2022
An Evening with Chef Kwame Onwuachi
with Erick Williams
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
Jessamine Chan & Emily Maloney
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Nick Offerman & Jeff Tweedy
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
An Evening with Jenny Lawson
with R. Eric Thomas
Wednesday, March 30, 2022
An Evening with Jasmine Guillory
with Morgan Rogers
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
An Evening with Silvia Moreno-Garcia
with Gus Moreno
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Membership Info Sessions
Watch a recording of our recent Info Sessions to meet members of the steering committee and learn what's next, including opportunities to join ILP committees and details of our 2022 membership launch.
Watch the September 27 recording here
Watch the October 1 recording here