Previous Events

Illinois Libraries Present (ILP) has had many amazing presenters! Here's a look at the talent who have been apart of ILP so far...

Season 3 | Sep 2023 - May 2024

The Power of Story with Colson Whitehead

Kicking off our third season, we hosted two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Colson Whitehead to our Illinois libraries. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, The Nickel Boys, The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and a collection of essays, Whitehead is only the fourth writer to win two Pulitzers in the Fiction category (for Underground Railroad in 2018 and The Nickel Boys in 2020). His latest bestselling novel, Harlem Shuffle, was published in 2021.

Chills & Thrills with Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is the New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians and Don’t Fear the Reaper. He has been an NEA fellowship recipient and been the recipient of several awards including: the Ray Bradbury Award from the Los Angeles Times, the Bram Stoker Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Jesse Jones Award for Best Work of Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, and the Alex Award from American Library Association. He is the Ivena Baldwin Professor of English at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Food Family & Folktales: A Conversation with Grace Lin

The season continues with Food, Family, and Folktales: A Conversation with Grace Lin, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers, and middle-grade novels. 

Lin was recognized in 2016 by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling and, in 2022, was awarded the Children’s Literature Legacy Award from the American Library Association. Her work received the Chinese American Librarians Association Annual Best Book Award.

A Taste of Love with Maya-Camille Broussard

Broussard uses her love of food to positively impact the local community. She offers an “I Knead Love” workshop several times yearly for children from lower-income communities to learn basic cooking skills, healthy eating habits, and nutrition. She founded Justice of the Pies in 2014, to honor her late father, The Pie Master. The bakery with a social mission has partnered with many Chicago area charities to provide meals for communities on the South and West sides and with Frontline Foods, to provide food from restaurants for front-line workers during the COVID pandemic.

Surviving the Holidays with Lori Gottlieb 

Lori Gottlieb, New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, and co-host of the “Dear Therapists” podcast shared stress reducing tools to help in everyday life, especially as we prepare for the holidays. Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone, which has sold over a million copies and is currently being adapted into a television series. In addition to her clinical practice, she is co-host of the popular “Dear Therapists” podcast and writes The Atlantic’s “Dear Therapist” advice column. She has been on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and NPR’s “Fresh Air” as a therapy expert and her 2019 TED Talk was one of the most watched of the year. 

Experience The Nutcracker at Home

Get in the spirit of the season with a recorded virtual performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker performed by the United Kingdom’s internationally renowned Royal Ballet. With sumptuous period designs, spellbinding stage effects, and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, the 2016 performance of The Nutcracker will enchant audiences of all ages. Performed by Britain's flagship ballet company, registrants can expect to see some of the most elite ballerinas in this performance.

Speculating about Our AI Future with Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, and Martha Wells 

This panel discussion featured three best-selling science fiction writers, Cory Doctorow, Ken Liu, and Martha Wells. They will discussed the promise, perils, and possible impacts that AI will have on our future, as well as AI in contemporary and future science fiction writing.

A Conversation with Jerry Craft:
From Mama’s Boyz to New Kid and Beyond

Learn about life, art, and telling your story with bestselling author, illustrator, and syndicated cartoonist, Jerry Craft. Join us for a conversation about his works and journey to success, including a drawing demo that will be fun for the whole family!

Jerry Craft is the author-illustrator of the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novels New Kid, and its companion book, Class Act. New Kid was the first book in history to win the Newbery Medal (2020), The Coretta Scott King Author Award (2020), and the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature (2019). In his latest book, School Trip, Jerry hopes to share his love of travel in order to inspire kids and their families to see the world and embrace new cultures. Craft is also the creator of Mama’s Boyz, an award-winning comic strip which won the African American Literary Award five times. He is a co-founder of the Schomburg Center’s Annual Black Comic Book Festival.

Romance and Regency with Bridgerton's Julia Quinn 

Julia Quinn, the #1 New York Times bestselling and award-winning romance author, has written close to 40 novels including her popular series about the Bridgerton family which was adapted into an Emmy-nominated series on Netflix. Her newest novel, Queen Charlotte, is co-written with television pioneer Shonda Rhimes. It’s a powerful and romantic novel of Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte and King George III’s great love story and how it sparked a societal shift. 

Quinn has been inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame and was recently named the national ambassador for EveryLibrary, an organization that helps libraries fight censorship. Quinn’s novels have been translated into 41 languages and have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list 19 times. 

Ruth E. Carter: Interweaving Tradition and 

Imagination Through Costume Design

We hosted Ruth E. Carter, two-time Academy Award-winning costume designer. Carter made history as the first Black person to win an Academy Award in Best Costume Design for the film, Black Panther. She received a second Academy Award in the same category for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Ruth E. Carter’s ability to develop an authentic story through costume and character made her one of the most sought after and renowned costume designers today. 

Season 2 | Sep 2022 - May 2023

Braiding Sweetgrass: A Conversation with Robin Wall Kimmerer   

Wed, Jun 21, 2023

A Conversation with Jesmyn Ward   

Tue, Jun 6, 2023

On Being Fabulous with Jonathan Van Ness & Kristi Yamaguchi 

Wed, May 17, 2023

Drawing Comics with Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

Sat, May 6, 2023

Will Shortz: Secrets of a Puzzle Master  

Tue, Apr 25, 2023

Danny Trejo Talks Tacos, Hollywood, & Redemption  

Tue, Apr 4, 2023

The Weird & Wonderful World with Mary Roach  

with Annalee Newitz

Wed, Mar 1, 2023

Kwame Alexander: Saying Yes to Your Story 

Wed, Feb 8, 2023

A Conversation with Ross Gay 

with Dan "Sully" Sullivan

Wed, Jan 11, 2023

A Conversation with Shauna Sever 

with Louisa Chu

Tue, Dec 13, 2022

A Conversation with Caitlin Doughty 

with Mark Bazer

Wed, Nov 16, 2022

Marlee Matlin: From Oscar to West Wing and Beyond

Wed, Sep 17, 2022

Pilot Season Events | Jan - Jun 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