Something Wicked This Way Comes

May 3–5, 2019
Illinois Center, 233 North Michigan Avenue

Registration for Great Books Chicago 2019: Something Wicked This Way Comes has been humming along nicely. Don’t miss your chance to join us May 3–5, 2019, for great discussions and fine fellowship in the heart of downtown Chicago. We have a few spots left, but we will cap registration at sixty, so please don’t delay!

We’ve put together a fantastic agenda around this theme, exploring the wickedness that people contemplate and perpetrate. The readings are:

There will also be two talks—including extensive audience Q&A—by two notable Chicago authors, Alex Kotlowitz and Nina Barrett. Kotlowitz will speak about An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago on Friday, May 3, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Barrett will delve into her book The Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Infamous Crimes on Saturday, May 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Both authors will greet attendees after their talks.

The registration fee of $450 includes:

  • Welcome reception dinner at Pinstripes Chicago on Friday evening
  • All readings to be discussed at the event (to be shipped approximately one week after you register)
  • Saturday evening outing to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Interactive talks by two noteworthy authors

You will love this weekend of growth, friendship, and great discussion. Call Dan Lindstrom with any questions at 312.646.7116.

Saturday Evening Outing

Riccardo Muti leads an evening of dramatic and evocative works, pairing Respighi’s captivating Pines of Rome with a rare performance of Bizet’s own portrait of the great city. Celebrated mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns for Berlioz’s poignant cantata based on the ill-fated Cleopatra. “The staggering, joyful artistry of Joyce DiDonato—one of the finest singers of our time—compels us to listen actively, to hear things anew” (Gramophone).

Alex Kotlowitz

Photo by Kathy Richland

Alex Kotlowitz
An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago

Friday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from gun violence and whose stories capture the capacity—and the breaking point—of the human heart and soul. After his talk, Kotlowitz will be interviewed by Nina Barrett, who will open the floor to questions from attendees.

For forty years, Kotlowitz has been telling stories from the heart of America, deeply intimate tales of struggle and perseverance. He is the author of three books in addition to An American Summer, including the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, which the New York Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. It received the Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and was adapted as a television movie produced by and starring Oprah Winfrey.

Kotlowitz’s second book, The Other Side of the River, received the Chicago Tribune‘s Heartland Prize for Nonfiction. His 2004 book, Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago, will soon be released in paperback.

Nina Barrett

Photo © Ned Schaub

Nina Barrett
The Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Infamous Crimes

Saturday, May 4, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The 1924 murder of fourteen-year-old Bobby Franks by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb and their defense by Clarence Darrow raised profound and disturbing questions about social class, criminal psychology, morality, justice, and mercy. Join us as Barrett discusses why, ninety-five years later, these issues continue to haunt us—and remain relevant—today.

Nina Barrett, a graduate of both Yale University and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, is the author of three books and numerous articles, essays, and reviews. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Nation, among other places.

In 2009, she curated an exhibition called The Murder That Wouldn’t Die, which inspired The Leopold and Loeb Files. Barrett is also the founder and co-owner of Bookends & Beginnings, an independent bookstore in Evanston, Illinois.