The Book Cellar
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Please join us at The Book Cellar to welcome author Colin Winnette as he discusses his new book The Job of the Wasp with local author Jac Jemc.
About The Job of the Wasp: A new arrival at an isolated school for orphaned boys quickly comes to realize there is something wrong with his new home. He hears chilling whispers in the night, his troubled classmates are violent and hostile, and the Headmaster sends cryptic messages, begging his new charge to confess. As the new boy learns to survive on the edges of this impolite society, he starts to unravel a mystery at the school's dark heart. And that's when the corpses start turning up. A coming-of-age tale, a Gothic ghost story, and a murder mystery all in one, The Job of the Wasp is a bloodcurdling and brilliantly subversive novel about paranoia, love, and the nightmare of adolescence.
About Colin: Colin Winnette is from Denton, Texas. He is the author of Revelation (Mutable Sound), Animal Collection (Spork), Fondly (Atticus Books), Coyote (Les Figues), and Haints Stay (Two Dollar Radio). His novels have been translated into Italian and French. His latest novel, The Job of the Wasp, is forthcoming from Soft Skull Press in 2018. His writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Playboy, Lucky Peach, The Believer, and others.
About Jac: Jac Jemc lives in Chicago. Her novel The Grip of It from FSG Originals (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) came out in August 2017. She was named as one of 25 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex and one of New City's Lit 50 in Chicago. She's taught English and Creative Writing at the University of Notre Dame, Northeastern Illinois University, Loyola University Chicago, Lake Forest College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Story Studio Chicago, and The Loft Literary Center. She currently serves as a web nonfiction editor for Hobart.
Our monthly Local Author Night returns featuring Sahar Mustafah (Code of the West), Patricia McNair (And These Are the Good Times: A Chicago Gal Riffs on Death, Sex, Life, Dancing, Writing, Wonder, Loneliness, Place, Family, Faith, Coffee, and the FBI), Christine Rice (Swarm Theory) and Cyn Vargas (On the Way).
About Code of the West:
"The native and immigrant Palestinians in Sahar Mustafah's Code of the West live in a world where the threat of violence is part of their existence. Some of these characters exist within their own ethnic enclave, while others travel beyond to unexpected locations. What deeply resonates are the ways Mustafah captures the textures of her characters' lives, the atmosphere of their homes and families, certain quiet scenes where some unexpected connection or depth of feeling enters, and we are reminded of Chekhov's observation that heartbreak or great changes can arrive at the most ordinary of moments." David Mura, author of Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei and Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire (a novel).
Sahar Mustafah is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, a rich and complicated inheritance. Her short story collection Code of the West (September 2017) won the Willow Books Grand Prize, among which her stories have earned an honorable mention from Best American Short Stories 2016 and two Pushcart Prize nominations. One reviewer describes Mustafah as “...taking America’s current story down to the bone.” She is co-founder of Bird’s Thumb and has been teaching wonderfully misunderstood teenagers for over twenty years in Illinois. She conducts creative writing workshops for youth in partnership with Arab American Action Network and for adults via Radius of Arab American Writers, hoping to forge solidarity and hope amidst a hostile political and social climate. Please visit her at www.saharmustafah.com.
About And These Are the Good Times...:
Short story writer McNair (The Temple of Air, 2011) proves to be an irresistible personal essayist of refreshing candor, vibrant openheartedness, rueful humor, and unassuming wisdom. In the title piece, which opens this companionable, down-to-earth collection, young McNair joins her beloved father at Sullivan's, his favorite Chicago tavern, bugging him for coins for the jukebox and dancing happily by herself. Enthralled by music, hubbub, and motion, McNair remains adventurous and omnivorously curious. Swinging backward and forward in time, she vividly chronicles such indelible experiences as spending her seventeenth summer as a volunteer at a dental clinic in Honduras, how she set about losing her virginity after her father died when she was 15, her bartender days, a fling in Cuba, and marriage. McNair frankly addresses sexuality and sexual abuse, the last two presidential elections, and the lives and deaths of loved ones. Throughout these vital, confiding, potent, and superbly well-crafted essays, McNair also muses on her path to becoming a writer and a writing teacher, generously sharing insights into the creative process and the yearning toward wonder. (Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)
Patricia Ann McNair has lived 90 percent of her life in the Chicagoland area. She’s managed a gas station, tended bar and breaded mushrooms, taught aerobics, and worked on the trading floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Today she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. McNair’s short story collection, The Temple of Air, was awarded Book of the Year by the Chicago Writers Association, Southern Illinois University’s Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award, and named a finalist by the Society of Midland Authors. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have been published widely and received a number of honors including several Illinois Arts Council Awards, and the Solstice Short Story Award. Her most recent book, And These Are the Good Times, is a collection of essays that Booklist calls "vital, confiding, potent, and superbly well crafted."
About Swarm Theory:
It was a time of hippies, heroin, and All in the Family. It was a time, in the small town of New Canaan--a fictional town in mid-Michigan--when developers gobbled up farmland and spit out subdivisions. Against this backdrop, Swarm Theory's interlocking narratives reveal the troubled lives of Astrid (a young woman trying to hold her family together), Caroline (Astrid's best friend who has lost her mother to heroin), Will (a soldier struggling to make sense of life after being discharged from the Marines), and Father Maurice Silver (a priest caring for a young man dying of AIDS). Nothing in New Canaan is quite what it seems. Swarm Theory is a book that reveals life's amazing contradictions--the wonderful and the profane, devotion and infidelity, understanding and revenge--through stories told from different perspectives. These stories investigate what happens when people come together--whether to do admirable or horrific things. Here, intimates and strangers alike can't help but be intertwined; their unpredictable journeys providing a backdrop for characters complex, honorable, and not. Swarm Theory reveals our often misguided, dark, and life-sustaining dependency on each other.
Christine Rice's novel Swarm Theory was recently awarded their 2016 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award (Honorable Mention, Fiction), an Independent Publisher Book Award or ‘IPPY’ (Silver for Best First Book), and a National Indie Excellence Award – Winner (Regional Fiction – Midwest). Swarm Theory also made PANK’s Best Books of 2016, was included in Powell’s Books Midyear Roundup, the Best Books of 2016 So Far, and was called “a gripping work of Midwest Gothic” by Michigan Public Radio’s Desiree Cooper (author of Know the Mother). Most recently, Christine's short stories have been published in BELT’s Rust Belt Anthology, The Literary Review, American University of Beirut’s Rusted Radishes, F Magazine, and online at Roanoke Review, Chicago Literati, and Bird’s Thumb, among others. Her essays, interviews, and long-form journalism have appeared in The Rumpus, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Big Smoke, The Millions, the Chicago Tribune, Detroit’s Metro Times, The Good Men Project, The Urbaness.com, CellStories.net, and her radio essays have been produced by WBEZ Chicago. Christine is the managing editor of Hypertext Magazine and director of the social justice storytelling nonprofit Hypertext Studio Writing Center.
About On the Way:
Cyn Vargas's debut explores the whims and follies of the heart. When a mother disappears in Guatemala, her daughter refuses to accept she's gone; a divorced DMV employee falls in love during a driving lesson; a young girl shares a well-kept family secret; a bad haircut is the last straw in a crumbling marriage. "Cyn Vargas brings her readers a whole world of unforgettable women, old and young, tough and getting tougher. Her narrators must continually negotiate with the tragedy, cruelty, and sweetness of their ever-changing lives, against the twin landscapes of America and Central America. In these fresh, sensual stories, Vargas bravely explores family, friendship and irreconcilable loss, and she will break your heart nicely."
--Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River
Cyn Vargas’ short story collection, On The Way, received positive reviews from Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Heavy Feather Review, Necessary Fiction, among others. Book accolades include: Newcity Lit’s Top 5 Fiction Books by Chicago Authors, Chicago Book Review’s Favorite Books of 2015, Bustle’s 11 Short Story Collections Your Book Club Will Love, and Chicago Writers Association 2015 Book of the Year, Honorable Mention. Her prose and essays have been published in the Chicago Reader, Word Riot, Split Lip Magazine, Hypertext Magazine, Midnight Breakfast, Bird’s Thumb and elsewhere. Cyn is the recipient of the Guild Literary Complex Prose Award in Fiction, company member of the award-winning storytelling organization 2nd story, on the Board of Directors for Hypertext Studio Writing Center, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia College Chicago. She is currently working on her novel based in 1980s Chicago. cynvargas.com
Join us at The Book Cellar as acting coach Warner Loughlin presents her new book, The Warner Loughlin Technique: An Acting Revolution.
About Warner Loughlin:
Warner Loughlin has been coaching on set and privately for more than 20 years. Known for her warmth and intuitive approach, her technique shatters the myth that an actor's past emotional traumas must be the fuel or foundation for their work.
In her earlier days in New York, Warner studied theatre with Lee Strasberg, Sonia Moore, and Michael Kahn (head of the drama department at Julliard from 1992-2006). Once in LA, Warner focused on film and TV, working as an actor, director and producer. She opened Warner Loughlin Studios in 1996 and has since worked with and shaped the careers of some of the biggest actors in Hollywood. From Oscar, Emmy and Tony nominees and winners, Warner is a star among the stars.
While the demand for her time and expertise is high, Warner will always have a place in her heart (and schedule) for beginning actors
About The Warner Loughlin Technique:
Warner Loughlin's new book The Warner Loughlin Technique: An Acting Revolution (Howland Tilley Press, January 30, 2018), Loughlin debunks the myth of the tortured actor and guides readers step by step through her groundbreaking technique that allows actors to unlock creativity in a psychologically safe way (as opposed to older acting methods meant for the stage that can lead to burnout and pronounced emotional trauma).
Join us at The Book Cellar for a night of comedy with our favorite funny ladies, The Kates!
The show starts as 7 pm, so be sure to arrive early for seats and drinks!