Past Events


Iliana Regan • Tim Johnston • Chelsea Wagenaar • Heather Shumaker • David Treuer • Andrea Warren

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, 7-8:15 p.m.
Marlene Brill, moderator, Midland Authors Vice President and Awards Chair


Chelsea Wagenaar, The Spinning Place, a beautiful, intelligent, capacious book exploring a mother-child relationship.

Andrea Warren, Enemy Child: The Story of Norman Mineta, a Boy Imprisoned in a Japanese American Internment
Camp During World War II, a vivid narrative with plentiful, telling photographs that convey a tragic story from a child’s point of view.

David Treuer, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present,a searing, multilayered, memoir and investigation of one of the least understood massacres in the history of American and Native American relations.

Heather Shumaker, The Griffins of Castle Cary, a delightfully written ghost story filled with mystery and humor.

Iliana Regan, Burn the Place: A Memoir, an original voice, as author seeks her sobriety, identity, passion and life partner.

Tim Johnston, The Current: A Novel, an intricately woven tale of crimes that plagued a small Minnesota town.

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For more information, contact event chair Greg Borzo at (312) 636-8968 or

Rick Perlstein discusses Reaganland

NewYorkTimes bestselling author and Chicago’s own Rick Perlstein discusses his new book

Reaganland: America’s Right Turn, 1976-1980

Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, 6:00 – 7:15 p.m


Free; open to the public. Join us via Zoom with this link: 

Perlstein is the author of: The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of ReaganNixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America, picked as one of the best nonfiction books of 2007 by over a dozen publications; and Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, which won the 2001 Los Angeles Times Book Award for history.

He’s a contributing editor and board member of In These Times magazine.

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For more information, contact event chair Greg Borzo at (312) 636-8968 or

The World of Juliette Kenzie: Chicago Before the Fire March 10, 2020

eminent historian Ann Durkin Keating in conversation with Greg Borzo, Midland Authors Event Chair.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020  at the Cliff Dwellers

See the video here, recorded by CAN-TV

      Juliette Kinzie is one of Chicago’s forgotten founders. She arrived in Chicago in 1831 and not only witnessed the city’s transition from Indian country to industrial center, but was also instrumental in its development. The World of Juliette Kinzie offers a new perspective on Chicago’s early history and is a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman who was an astute observer of early Chicago, an influential contributor to the city, and even one of the first women historians in the United States. This book brings Kinzie to life.

Ann Durkin Keating, who teaches history at North Central College, is one of the foremost experts on 19thcentury Chicago. She has volunteered extensively with the Chicago History Museum, Illinois State Historical Society and Naper Settlement. The World of Juliette Kinzie was published by the University of Chicago Press (2019), as were Keating’s previous books, including her very well reviewed  Rising Up from Indian Country:  The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago.

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Mystery Writing Panel Feb. 11, 2020


Lori Rader-Day; Patricia Skalka; Tracy Clark; Sam Reaves

  The Mystery Behind Mystery Writing 

Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020; Cocktail hour: 6-7 pm;  Panel discussion: 7-8 pm

Free, open to the public.    Free appetizers, cash bar.  at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave. 


Lori Rader-Day:  The Lucky One

Lori Rader-Day has been leading a “life of crime” since age seven, when she wrote a piece of Beverly Cleary fan-fiction. Today she’s co-chair of the mystery readers’ conference Murder and Mayhem in Chicago and the national president of Sisters in Crime, a 4,000-member crime writers organization.

Patricia Skalka:  Death By the Bay

Patricia Skalka is the award-winning author of the Dave Cubiak Door County Mysteries, which pit a former troubled Chicago cop against a roster of clever killers in northern Wisconsin. She’s the immediate past president of the Chicagoland Chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Tracy Clark:  Borrowed Time

Tracy Clark, a native Chicagoan, is author of the critically acclaimed Chicago Mystery series, which features Cassandra Raines, a former Chicago homicide cop turned intrepid private investigator. She’s a member of the national board of Boucheron, the annual world mystery convention.

Sam Reaves, moderator:  Homicide 69

Sam Reaves has written crime novels including the Cooper MacLeish series, the Dooley series and the stand-alones Mean Town Bluesand Cold Black Earth, as well as a true crime memoir Mob Copwith Fred Pascente. He’s a polyglot who has traveled widely in Europe and the Middle East and has worked as a teacher and a translator. And Reaves is a board member of Midland Authors.

How and Why To Write and Publish a Memoir

Margaret McMullan • Rich Lindberg • Donna Urbikas • David W. Berner

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, at the Harold Washington Library 

McMullan: Where the Angels Lived: One Family’s Story of Exile, Loss and Return

“McMullan has written a beautiful and heartrending account of her pilgrimage to Hungary in the hope of retrieving what she can of the story of a relative lost in the Holocaust. Written with her usual vividly realized, emotionally engaging prose, (this book) is a powerful testament of familial mourning as well as a vision of 20th century European history that is searing and uplifting.” — Joyce Carol Oates, Pursuit: A Novel of Suspense

Lindberg: Whiskey Breakfast: My Swedish Family, My American Life

“Lindberg does not spare himself or his ancestors in this poignant, powerful memoir of his family’s entry to
the United States. He evokes the haunted landscape of poverty and superstition from which his ancestors fled
to America…only to suffer different demons in that new land.” — Harry Mark Petrakis, Collected Stories

Urbikas: My Sister’s Mother: A Memoir of War, Exile and Stalin’s Siberia

“This stunning, heartfelt memoir looks unflinchingly at the scars borne by one Polish immigrant family as
their daughter tries to become a normal American Girl in Chicago. …a must-read for World War II history
buffs.” — Leonard Kniffel, author of A Polish Son in the Motherland

Moderator, Berner: The Consequence of Stars: A Memoir of Home

“Reflective, engaging…Berner’s authentic storytelling takes you with him on his travels through the chapters of his life where in the end, he reveals connections to finding a place to be, his home under the stars.” — Nancy Chadwick, author of Under the Birch Tree

CAN-TV recorded this panel discussion about memoirs. Watch it here:


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.
Free, open to the public. Free appetizers, cash bar.

Authors Michael C. Dorf and George Van Dusen draw on scores of interviews and unprecedented access to private papers to illuminate the life of a political icon. Dorf is a practicing lawyer and adjunct professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Van Dusen is Mayor of Skokie and adjunct professor at Oakton Community College.

“Clear It with Sid! offers a close look at one of America’s political titans. It’s an indispensable resource for understanding post-World War II America because it reveals the nitty-gritty of how national politics was done over five decades.” — Gary Johnson, President, Chicago History Museum

Sidney Yates was born in Chicago, the son of a Lithuanian blacksmith, and rose to the pinnacle of Washington power and influence. Wise, energetic, charismatic, petty, and stubborn—Yates presented a complicated character to constituents and colleagues alike. Yet his get-it-done approach allowed him to bridge partisan divides in the often-polarized U.S. House of Representatives. He was a preeminent national figure involved in issues that ranged from the environment and Native American rights to Israel and support for the arts. Speaker Tip O’Neill relied on him and advised anyone with controversial legislation to first “clear it with Sid!”

CAN-TV recorded this presentation about Sid Yates. Watch it here:


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.
Free, open to the public. Free appetizers, cash bar.

Join Stuart Dybek (author of several books, including The Coast of Chicago), Dominic Pacyga (author of several books, including American Warsaw: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of Polish Chicago) and Sandra Colbert (discussion moderator and author of several books, including Chicago Bound) as they discuss the rich history of Chicago’s ethnic neighborhoods, with an emphasis on Polonia, Chicago’s Polish-American community.

Watch the CAN-TV video recording of this event about Polonia:


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Harold Washington Library Center Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
400 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

Authors Flint Taylor, Ed Bachrach and Austin Berg discuss Chicago’s torturous past—and its chances for reform. Author and former alderman Dick Simpson moderates the presentation.

This event is presented by the Midland Authors in collaboration with the Chicago Public Library and in conjunction with the Burge Victims Speak exhibit at Harold Washington Library Center.

Taylor is the author of “The Torture Machine: Racism and Police Violence in Chicago.” “Written in a straightforward style by someone on the frontlines of a 50-year fight (for justice), the book recounts the courageous persistence of both the lawyers fighting for victims of state-sanctioned abuse and the victims themselves,” says Mary Wisniewski, author of Algren: A Life.

Bachrach and Berg are the authors of “The New Chicago Way.” “This book reveals how serious Chicago’s government problems are and how they are related to each other. More important, it provides a comprehensive solution to those problems. It should be read by scholars, public interest groups and the public,” says Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose books include “The Good Fight: Life Lessons from a Chicago Progressive.”

Doors to the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium open at 5 p.m., and seating is first come, first served. Books are available for purchase, and the authors will autograph books at the conclusion of the program.

Listen to an audio recording of the event:



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Cocktail hour: 6-7 pm; Panel discussion: 7-8 pm
Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.
22nd floor penthouse—with a terrific view of Millennium Park!
Free, open to the public. Free appetizers, cash bar.

Come hear acclaimed author Rosellen Brown discuss her new novel, “The Lake on Fire,” published by Sarabande Books. Set in Chicago in the 1890s, the novel is an epic narrative in which two young Jewish immigrants discover that the Gilded Age and the beautiful Columbian Exposition are the façade of a desperately impoverished city. The question they must answer—as relevant now as it was then—is how one can live an honest and useful life

In a review for Booklist, Donna Seaman wrote: “In an astute and enrapturing variation on Edith Wharton’s foundational Gilded Age novel, ‘The House of Mirth,’ and in accord with Dickens, Dreiser, and Doctorow, Brown imaginatively, compassionately, and spellbindingly dramatizes timeless questions of survival and social conscience.”

Entertainment Weekly listed the novel as one of “20 Fall Books Not to be Missed” and wrote: “Brown is one of our best living fiction writers, spending much of a career well under-the-radar. Her new novel, remarkably her first in nearly twenty years, is an epic that questions the American dream in a 19th-century immigrant saga.”

Brown will be interviewed by D.M. Pirrone, the author of the Hanley and Rivka Mysteries (published by Allium Press of Chicago), which are set in Chicago immediately after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and feature an Irish-American detective, Frank Hanley, and a young Jewish woman, Rivka Kelmansky.

In addition to her six novels, Brown has published widely in magazines and her stories have appeared frequently in such collections as O. Henry Prize Stories and Pushcart Prizes. One is included in “Best Short Stories of the Century,” edited by John Updike. She has been the recipient of an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and others. She was selected as one of Ms. Magazine’s 12 Women of the Year in 1984. Her novel “Civil Wars” won the Janet Kafka Prize for the best novel by an American woman in 1984, and her novel “Before and After” was adapted into a film starring Meryl Streep and Liam Neeson. After many years on the faculty of the University of Houston, she now teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Hyde Park.

Pirrone is the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman, the author of three novels: “No Less in Blood” (Five Star/Cengage, 2011), “Shall We Not Revenge” (a Kirkus Prize nominee), and “For You Were Strangers.” The latter two are the start of the Hanley and Rivka mysteries, and she is currently working on the next book in the series. A Chicago native, she is also an accomplished editor and audiobook narrator.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Cocktail hour: 6-7 pm; Panel discussion: 7-8 pm
Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.
22nd floor penthouse—with a terrific view of Millennium Park!
Free, open to the public. Free appetizers, cash bar.

Bryan Smith will discuss “The Breakaway: The Inside Story of the Wirtz Family Business and the Chicago Blackhawks” during a Society of Midland Authors program on Tuesday, March 12 at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago. The discussion will start at 7 p.m. A social hour, with complimentary snacks and a cash bar, begins at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. No advance registration is required.

The book reveals the untold story of the Wirtz family, offering an insider’s view of a family empire held tightly by one generation and suffering a loss of control by the next. And it documents in gripping detail how that empire came together—fell apart—and came together again. The turnover would trigger a father-son and brother-against- sibling drama of Shakespearean proportions.

Smith is senior staff writer at Chicago magazine and contributor to other magazines (Men’s Health, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly and Reader’s Digest). He has twice been named national Writer of the Year by the City and Regional Magazine Association and has won numerous Lisagor awards, from feature writing to in-depth reporting to sports.

“The Breakaway,” Smith’s first book, debuted as a No. 1 Amazon bestseller in three categories and continues to garner five-star reviews. The Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan says: “This is a terrific book—a dramatic family saga told in artful prose and filled with emotional turmoil, a few surprisingly touching moments, but enough dysfunction for a couple of Eugene O’Neill plays.”