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What Took You So Long?
A talk by Mary Morris on the writing of The Jazz Palace

Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015
Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 N. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor
penthouse (with great views) , Chicago
A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. Mary Morris will speak will speak at 7 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

Morris began writing The Jazz Palace 18 years ago. Over almost two decades she wrote many drafts, did enormous research—including studying jazz piano, suffered dozens of rejections, and wrote other books. But she kept coming back to this one. Though she jokes that she’s the poster child for perseverance, one may wonder.… Why did it take her so long to finish it? Why did she stick with it? In her talk Morris will discuss the long process of writing The Jazz Palace and the satisfaction, as well as the trepidation, that comes from, at last, seeing it going out into the world.

mary_morris-222x300.jpg                             he Jazz Palace by Mary Morris

The Jazz Palace is a novel that tells the story of two families struggling in Chicago during the Jazz Era. The Lehrmans, who run a hat factory, lost their son in a blizzard. The Chimbrovas, who run a saloon, lost three sons on the SS Eastland when it sank in 1915. Each family hopes that one of their remaining children will rise to carry on the family business. But Benny Lehrman has no interest in making hats. His true passion is piano—especially jazz piano.

“Through the eyes of immigrants and gangsters, blacks and whites, the dreamers and those who have lost themselves, Morris sings us the story of Chicago at the start of the 20th century, underscored by the rise of jazz.” – Jodi Picoult, bestselling author (Storyteller and Leaving Time)
Born in Chicago, Morris lives in Brooklyn. She’s the author of more than 13 books, including novels, travel memoirs and collections of short stories. Whether writing fiction or non-fiction, Morris sees herself as a storyteller, weaving tales. The New York Times Book Review said Morris has “talent for depicting ordinary Americans living through difficult times.” Join us to hear why Morris never gave up on this book, or, as she sometimes puts it, the book never gave up on her.


Contact Greg Borzo: (312) 636-8968;


Using all senses, not just sight, to study Chicago history

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015
Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 N. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor
penthouse (with great views) , Chicago
A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. Adam Mack will speak at 7 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

A hundred years ago, a walk down a Chicago street invited an assault on the senses. Untiring hawkers shouted from every corner. The manure from thousands of horses lay on streets pooled with molasses and puddled with kitchen grease. Odors from a river gelatinous and lumpy with all manner of foulness mingled with the all-pervading stench of the stockyard slaughterhouses.

mary_morris-222x300.jpg                             he Jazz Palace by Mary Morris

In his new book, Sensing Chicago, Adam Mack explores the role of the senses in the rise of Chicago from the Civil War through the end of World War I. He examines from a sensory rather than purely visual perspective five events: the Chicago River; Great Fire; 1894 Pullman Strike; publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle; and rise and fall of the White City amusement park. His vivid recounting of the smells, sounds and tactile miseries of city life reveals how input from the five human senses influenced the history of class, race and ethnicity in Chicago. At the same time, he transports readers to an era before modern refrigeration and sanitation, when to step outside was to be overwhelmed by the odor and roar of a great city in progress.

One review says Sensing Chicago “changes our understanding of the history and particularly the experience of life in the industrial city.” Mack is a cultural historian at the School of the Art Institute.

Traditional histories place an overemphasis on the visual dimension of an urban landscape and “mirror a set of modern cultural values that valorize the eye as the barometer of truth and reason, and tend to devalue the proximate, ‘lower’ senses as crude and less rational,” Mack says in his introduction. This presentation will help you “see” history differently.




Chicago as a vital transportation hub

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015
 (6:00PM – 7:30PM)

Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State St., Chicago
Free and open to the public

The Society of Midland Authors presents its monthly meeting, focusing on transportation this time with three authors. Christopher LynchNeal Samors and Joseph Schwieterman discuss Chicago's extraordinary role as a travel center based on their new books, Now Arriving (the story of air travel in the Windy City over the past 90 years) and Terminal Town (an illustrated guide to Chicago's airports, bus depots and train stations). The presentation will include stunning images and memorable stories of great transportation landmarks, past and present...and the millions who used them.

Christopher Lynch is has spent most of his life around Midway Airport, where his family ran Monarch Air Service, which serviced aircraft for more than 60 years. He has written two books on Midway Airport and is co-founder of the Midway Historians Club.

Neal Samors is an award-winning author, co-author and/or publisher of 24 books about Chicago. His books have won three Independent Publisher Awards and several Illinois State Historical Society awards.

Joseph Schwieterman is a professor at DePaul University and a nationally known authority on air, bus, and train travel. He has spent more than three decades studying the Chicago's ever-changing transportation system and regularly appears on WBBM News Radio 780, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and FOX 32 Chicago Television.

Seating in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium is available first come, first served, 385 max. Books may be purchased and the authors will sign books at the program's conclusion.





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