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May 1 Awards Banquet

On Friday, May 1, the Society of Midland Authors will celebrate its annual awards banquet — honoring the best 2014 books by Midwestern authors — at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago, with a 6 p.m. cocktail hour and a 7 p.m. dinner, followed by the awards presentation.

The master of ceremonies will be Robert K. Elder, the author of six books, including Last Words of the Executed and The Film That Changed My Life, and director of digital product development and strategy at Crain Communications Inc.

Tickets to the awards banquet can be purchased two ways: Buy tickets for $76 each through PayPal at Or print out the reservation form at and mail it to us with a check for $75 for each ticket.

May 2 Centennial Celebration

On Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Society of Midland Authors celebrates its centennial with a day of literary speakers and book signings at University Center, 525 S. State St., Chicago. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.

10 a.m.: Welcoming remarks — followed by Jim Schwab, reading poetry by Vachel Lindsay

10:15 a.m.: Carla Knorowski, CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, presents the new book Gettysburg Replies: The World Responds to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

10:50 a.m.: Richard Lindberg reads a selection by Theodore Dreiser

11 a.m.: Rick Kogan, longtime Chicago Tribune journalist

11:30 a.m.: Haki Madhubuti, poet and publisher of Third World Press

11:50 a.m.: Meg Tebo reads the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks

Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch break

1 p.m.: June Sawyers reads a selection by Harry Mark Petrakis. (Note: Petrakis was originally scheduled to speak but will not be able to attend.)

1:15 p.m.: Edward Burke, author, alderman of Chicago’s 14th Ward and chairman of the Committee on Finance

1:45 p.m.: James Bowman reads a selection by Finley Peter Dunne

1:55 p.m.: Robert Loerzel reads a selection by Nelson Algren

2 p.m.: A conversation between Steve Bogira (Chicago Reader reporter and author of Courtroom 302) and Jonathan Eig (The Birth of the Pill, Get Capone)

2:30 p.m.: Martin Marty, noted University of Chicago scholar on the history of religion

2:50 p.m.: Richard Frisbie reads a selection by Ring Lardner

3 p.m.: A conversation between children’s authors Blue Balliett (Chasing Vermeer) and Ilene Cooper (A Woman in the House (and Senate)), moderated by Marlene Targ Brill

3:30 p.m.: Uptown Poetry Slam founder Marc Kelly Smith

3:55 p.m.: June Sawyers reads a selection by Margaret Anderson

4 p.m.: A panel discussion with novelists Christine Sneed (Little Known Facts), Carol Anshaw (Aquamarine) and Rosellen Brown (Before and After)

Authors will be signing their books at the event throughout the day, including Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Lynn Voedisch, Stan “Tex” Banash, Michael Corcoran, Burt Levy, Genevieve Davis, Steve Bogira, Lucia Mouet, Greg Borzo, Judith Fradin, Joseph Peterson, Patrick McBriarty and Joan Kufrin.

Copies of a short book on the SMA's history will be also available at our May 1-2 events.

Join us for cocktails after 5 p.m. 5 p.m. and later: Join us for the Publishing Cocktails gathering at Hackney’s, 733 S. Dearborn St. See for details.=

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, 6 p.m., at Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago: Cristina Henríquez and Rebecca Makkai: Two Chicago novelists in conversation.
Henríquez’s new novel, The Book of Unknown Americans, was chosen by Amazon as the best novel from the first half of 2014, and it was a recent “Book of the Week” selection at Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine website. Henríquez’s previous books are The World in Half and Come Together, Fall Apart: A Novella and Stories, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker and The Atlantic.
Makkai’s second novel, The Hundred-Year House, is set on Chicago’s North Shore. A Boston Globe critic called the book, which was published this summer, “an entertaining, ambitious saga.” Makkai’s first novel, The Borrower, was a Booklist Top Ten Debut, an Indie Next pick, an O Magazine selection, and one of Chicago magazine's choices for best fiction of 2011. Her short fiction was chosen for The Best American Short Stories for four consecutive years.
The discussion begins at 6 p.m. sharp, followed by a book signing.

Tuesday, Oct. 14, 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. talk, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor. Author Adam Selzer will talk about Chicago ghosts

PLEASE NOTE: The talk by Scott Turow, which was previously announced for this date, has been postponed until early next year.

Selzer’s books include “Ghosts of Chicago,” published by Llewellyn Worldwide in 2013, a critical examination of what we really know — and how we know it — about some of Chicago’s most famous ghost stories from a historian’s perspective. Selzer’s other nonfiction books include “Your Neighborhood Gives Me the Creeps,” “Jerks in Chicago History,” “Fatal Drop” and “The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History.” He has also written young adult novels, including “I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It” and “Play Me Backwards,” “a novel for young adults who worship the devil,” published in August by Simon and Schuster.
Selzer also runs about 300 bus tours a year for Chicago Hauntings, and he writes about forgotten bits of Chicago history, myths, legends and ghost lore at the Mysterious Chicago Blog, For more information on Selzer, visit his website:

Tuesday, Nov. 11, 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. talk, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago: Stuart Dybek.
Dybek, one of Chicago’s most acclaimed writers, has won the Society of Midland Authors’ award for adult fiction two times — for his 2003 book I Sailed With Magellan and his 1980 book Chicago and Other Neighborhoods. This spring, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Dybek’s first books in 11 years: Ecstatic Cahoots, which includes 50 micro-stories, and Paper Lantern, a set of love stories. Booklist critic Donna Seaman called them “two virtuoso story collections.” Dybek is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at Northwestern University.
The talk will begin at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 13, 6 p.m., at Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago: Best-selling author Scott Turow will discusses authors’ rights in the digital age, during a Society of Midland Authors program at the library. Turow is not only the author of 10 best-selling works of fiction, including “Presumed Innocent” and 2013’s “Identical” — he’s also an outspoken advocate for the rights of authors in the digital age, at a time when Amazon dominates book sales and Google pursues the scanning of copyrighted materials.

Turow, a north suburban resident who recently served as president of the Authors Guild, wrote a New York Times op-ed under the headline “The Slow Death of the American Author.” Turow is also a partner in the Chicago office of the law firm Dentons. When Newcity put Turow No. 1 on its 2013 “Lit 50” list, the alternative newspaper said that he “is using his lofty profile to wage war on issues more important to the culture at large than to his personal wellbeing.”

Turow will speak at 6 p.m. He will sign books after his talk. Admission is free, and no advance reservations are required.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. talk, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago: Thomas J. Gradel and Dick Simpson discuss their new book, “Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism, and Criminality,” to be published in February by the University of Illinois Press. Naming names, the authors lead readers through a gallery of rogues and rotten apples to illustrate how generations of chicanery have undermined faith in, and hope for, honest government.

Tuesday, March 10, 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. talk, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago: Patrick T. McBriarty discusses his book, “Chicago River Bridges” — the untold history and development of Chicago's iconic bridges, from the first wood footbridge built by a tavern owner in 1832 to the fantastic marvels of steel, concrete and machinery of today.

Tuesday, April 14, 6 p.m. social hour, 7 p.m. talk, at Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago: Poet Roger Bonair-Agard, winner of the Society of Midland Authors Award for his 2013 book “Bury My Clothes.”