Printers Row Lit Fest Reading List

See these writers and more at the American Writers Museum / Feinberg Foundation Stage at Printers Row Lit Fest

This weekend is the return of Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest literary and book festival in the Midwest. The American Writers Museum will be there both days, September 11 and September 12, presenting a stellar lineup of writers and their work. Find us at the AWM / Feinberg Foundation Stage at the corner of Polk St. and Dearborn St. at Printers Row Lit Fest. All events are free, so come on down say hi, listen to these writers discuss their craft, snag some books, and fulfill your literary heart!

All times listed below are in CDT and all events will take place at the AWM / Feinberg Foundation Stage. Visit Printers Row Lit Fest for more information.


Dawn Turner
Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood
in conversation with Mary Schmich
Saturday, 9/11, 10:15am—11:30am

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner book cover

For a brief, wondrous moment three Black girls from the storied Bronzeville neighborhood are all giggles and dreams and promises of “friends forever.” And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why? Three Girls from Bronzeville is a piercing memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s at once a celebration of sisterhood and friendship, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption.


Lemony Snicket
Poison for Breakfast
Saturday, 9/11, 12:00pm—1:00pm

Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket book cover

For more than twenty years, Lemony Snicket has led millions of young readers through a mysterious world of bewildering questions and unfortunate events. With this latest book–a love letter to readers young and old about the vagaries of real life–longtime fans and new readers alike will experience Snicket’s distinctive voice in a new way. This true story–as true as Lemony Snicket himself–begins with a puzzling note under his door: You had poison for breakfast. Following a winding trail of clues to solve the mystery of his own demise, Snicket takes us on a thought-provoking tour of his predilections: the proper way to prepare an egg, a perplexing idea called “tzimtzum,” the sublime pleasure of swimming in open water, and much else.


Wayétu Moore
The Dragons, The Giant, The Women: A Memoir

in conversation with Donna Seaman
Saturday, 9/11, 1:30pm—2:30pm

The Dragons, The Giant, The Women: A Memoir by Wayétu Moore book cover

As a young girl, Wayétu Moore and her family are forced to flee their home on foot when the First Liberian Civil War breaks out. Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore’s early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist’s eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and the stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.


Koa Beck
White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind
in conversation with Natalie Moore
Saturday, 9/11, 3:00pm—4:00pm

White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind by Koa Beck book cover

Addressing today’s conversation about race, empowerment, and inclusion in America, Koa Beck, writer and former editor-in-chief of Jezebel, boldly examines the history of feminism, from the true mission of the suffragists to the rise of corporate feminism with clear-eyed scrutiny and meticulous detail. She also examines overlooked communities—including Native American, Muslim, transgender, and more—and their ongoing struggles for social change…Beck meticulously documents how elitism and racial prejudice have driven the narrative of feminist discourse. Blending pop culture, primary historical research, and first-hand storytelling, she shows us how we have shut women out of the movement, and what we can do to correct our course for a new generation.


Scott Turow
The Last Trial
Sunday, 9/12, 10:00am—11:00am

The Last Trial by Scott Turow

At eighty-five years old, Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, a brilliant defense lawyer with his health failing but spirit intact, is on the brink of retirement. But when his old friend Dr. Kiril Pafko, a former Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, is faced with charges of insider trading, fraud, and murder, his entire life’s work is put in jeopardy, and Stern decides to take on one last trial…Stern’s duty to defend his client and his belief in the power of the judicial system both face a final, terrible test in the courtroom, where the evidence and reality are sometimes worlds apart. Full of the deep insights into the spaces where the fragility of human nature and the justice system collide, Scott Turow’s The Last Trial is a masterful legal thriller that unfolds in page-turning suspense — and questions how we measure a life.


Dantiel W. Moniz
Milk Blood Heat
Sunday, 9/12, 11:30am—12:30pm

Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz book cover

A livewire debut from Dantiel W. Moniz, one of the most exciting discoveries in today’s literary landscape, Milk Blood Heat depicts the sultry lives of Floridians in intergenerational tales that contemplate human connection, race, womanhood, inheritance, and the elemental darkness in us all. Set among the cities and suburbs of Florida, each story delves into the ordinary worlds of young girls, women, and men who find themselves confronted by extraordinary moments of violent personal reckoning. These intimate portraits of people and relationships scour and soothe and blast a light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, consumption, and what we may, or may not, owe one another…Wise and subversive, spiritual and seductive, Milk Blood Heat forms an ouroboros of stories that bewitch with their truth, announcing the arrival of a bright new literary star.


Jonathan Alter
His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, A Life
Sunday, 9/12, 1:00pm—2:00pm

From one of America’s most-respected journalists and modern historians comes the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth president of the United States and Nobel Prize–winning humanitarian. Jonathan Alter tells the epic story of an enigmatic man of faith and his improbable journey from barefoot boy to global icon. Alter paints an intimate and surprising portrait of the only president since Thomas Jefferson who can fairly be called a Renaissance Man, a complex figure—ridiculed and later revered—with a piercing intelligence, prickly intensity, and biting wit beneath the patented smile. Here is a moral exemplar for our times, a flawed but underrated president of decency and vision who was committed to telling the truth to the American people…This engrossing, monumental biography will change our understanding of perhaps the most misunderstood president in American history.


Colson Whitehead
Harlem Shuffle
in conversation with Dr. Ivy Wilson
Sunday, 9/12, 4:00pm—5:30pm

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, comes a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s…Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem. But mostly, it’s a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.


Visit our Reading Recommendations page for more book lists.

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