Dr. Eve L. Ewing is a sociologist of education and a writer from Chicago. She is the author of Electric Arches and Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side and the co-author of No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. She is a scholar at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and many other venues.
We talked to Dr. Ewing in advance of her event at the American Writers Museum to promote Electric Arches. Learn more about her in her own words below, and come meet her Tuesday, February 13 at 5:30 p.m. RSVP here
If you could meet one American author from the past, who would it be and why?
Sometimes I feel sad that I never got to meet Gwendolyn Brooks. But I am grateful to connect with her spirit in so many ways– through her work, through her amazing daughter Nora Brooks Blakely, and through her legacy and impact.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
Every book! I started reading when I was four and never stopped. I would read anything. I would read the back of a cereal box. I would read the fine print on the back of a parking ticket. But the first books I remember being deeply moved by were probably The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. When I finished The Last Battle I slept with the book in my bed in lieu of a stuffed animal for weeks because I didn’t want to let it go.
Where do you prefer to write?
I can write anywhere, but my very favorite place to write is Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boston. They have an upstairs bar area with everything I need: they’re open late, they have a wide menu with everything from tea to beer to bagels, they have a million outlets, the waiters will either talk to you or leave you alone depending on what you want, and my favorite part is they always have movies on silent. It’s usually something I love– The Iron Giant, Lord of the Rings, Kiki’s Delivery Service— and it’s not distracting, but it’s quietly soothing somehow. My other favorite place to write is the Harold Washington Library. It’s comfortable, I like being around a diverse set of Chicagoans, it’s free, the tables are big, and I have an emotional attachment to it because I’ve been doing work there since I was like 12 years old and was working on my science fair project.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading the first volume of a comic series called Mech Cadet Yu by Greg Pak, and The Hate U Give, a young adult novel by Angie Thomas.