Writers for Obama - Fundraiser Sandy Wisenberg

Organized by Sandy Wisenberg (Northwestern University), Writers for Obama features a flock of local writers reading work that is very fun, very interesting, very political and very very brief. Tonight's readers include Sara Paretsky, Stuart Dybek, Haki Madhubuti, Rosellen Brown, James McManus, Jonathan Messinger, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Cris Mazza.  See video

10/15/08 - 10/15/08


To buy your ticket, go to http://my.barackobama.com/page/outreach/view/main/WritersandCartoonists and hit "Donate" on the thermometer

Writers for Obama features a flock of local writers reading work that is very fun, very interesting, very political (in the broadest sense) and very very brief.

Readers include: Sara Paretsky, Stuart Dybek, Haki Madhubuti, Rosellen Brown, James McManus, Jonathan Messinger, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Cris Mazza. The evening's hostess is S.L. Wisenberg.

The evening begins at 530pm with reception reception and silent auction of signed books by featured readers as well as Achy Obejas, Rick Perlstein and Ayun Halliday.

Political cartoons are provided by Nicole Hollander, Tom Bachtell, Pat Byrnes and Jennifer Berman.

The readings begin at 7pm. All proceeds go to the Obama campaign.

Cost is $60/person at the door, $50 in advance, on line. People under 25 can pay their ages.

About the Performers

Roger Bonair-Agard is a native of Trinidad & Tobago, a Cave Canem fellow and author of two collections, tarnish and masquerade (Cypher Books, 2006) and GULLY (Cypher Books, 2009). He is co-founder and artistic director of the louderARTS Project. He lives in Brooklyn.

Rosellen Brown - is the author of ten books, five of them novels, The Autobiography of My Mother, Tender Mercies - not the movie! - Civil Wars, Before and After of which there was a movie (which she does not recommend) --and Half a Heart. She has published three books of poetry, a miscellany of essays, poetry and fiction, and a book of stories, Street Games, and her stories have appeared frequently in Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies. She teaches in the MFA in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

One of Chicago's Def Poets, Kristiana Rae Colón is a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been writing and performing for seven years, and has rocked the mic at Park West, Metro, Star Plaza Theatre, Aragon, HotHouse, Subterranean, Funky Buddha Lounge and Sonotheque in the Midwest, as well as the Nuyorican, Acentos, and Sutra Lounge in New York. She is also a playwright and a teacher, and was featured on HBO's fifth season of Def Poetry Jam.

Kevin Coval - is the author of Everyday People and Slingshots (a Hip Hop Poetica).Co-founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival, the largest youth poetry festival in the world, Coval is poet-in-residence at The Jane Addams' Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois at Chicago and artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago's Newberger Hillel Center, and teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.

Carlos Cumpian - is the author of the poetry collections Coyote Sun, Latino Rainbow, and Armadillo Charm, and has been involved with Chicano teatro/theater, poetry, and American Indian and Latino community arts since the early 1970s. He has taught high school English for a decade and has also offered poetry workshops and an introductory course on U.S. Latino literature at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Illinois. Cumpian's work has been included in over 20 anthologies, most recently the University of New Mexico Press' Hecho en Tejas. He has been coordinator of March Abrazo Press, the Midwest's oldest publisher of Native American, Chicano and Latino poetry, since 1982.

Stuart Dybek - is the author of three books of fiction: I Sailed With Magellan, The Coast of Chicago, and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods. Both I Sailed With Magellan and The Coast of Chicago were New York Times Notable Books, and The Coast of Chicago was a One Book One Chicago selection. Dybek has also published two collections of poetry: Streets in Their Own Ink and Brass Knuckles. Among Dybek's numerous awards are a MacArthur Prize, the Rea Award "for significant contribution to the short story form," PEN/Malamud Prize "for distinguished achievement in the short story," a Lannan Award, a Whiting Writers Award, an Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, several O. Henry Prizes, and fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Thomas H. Geoghegan  - is a Chicago lawyer who has represented unions and employee groups in plant closings, and union members seeking union democracy. He has also undertaken public-interest lawsuits to restrict the sale of handguns, to enforce child labor laws and to require public health measures for the homeless. He is author of Which Side Are You On? Trying To Be For Labor When It's Flat On Its Back (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1991; updated, New Press, 2004), The Secret Lives of Citizens: Pursuing the Promise of American Life (Pantheon, 1999), In America's Court: How A Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled Into A Criminal Trial (New Press, 2002) and See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation (New Press, 2007).

Michelle Goldberg - is the author of the New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism. Her new book, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and the Future of the World, will be published by Penguin Press in April, and recently won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award. A former senior writer for Salon.com, her work has appeared in the New Republic, the Nation, Glamour, Rolling Stone, the Guardian (UK) and many other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, but has temporarily relocated to Chicago while her husband works on the Obama campaign.

Libby Fischer Hellmann's fifth suspense novel, Easy Innocence (Bleak House Books, April 2008) is a spin-off of her award-winning Ellie Foreman series. A sequel will be released in 2009. Hellmann edited the acclaimed anthology Chicago Blues. She is the former national president of Sisters in Crime. Originally from Washington, D.C., she has lived in Chicago for 30 years and finds the contrast between the beautiful and the profane in this city a crime writer's paradise.

Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of four poetry books, including They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (Third World Press, 2004); a children's book entitled The Big World (Addison-Wesley, 1998); and editor of seven anthologies, including Dream of A Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (Tia Chucha Press, 2006). He is director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University, where he is also associate professor of English and creative writing. Quraysh is the former associate editor for poetry of Black Issues Book Review.

Haki R. Madhubuti - founder and president of Third World Press and University Distinguished Professor at Chicago State University, has been a pivotal figure in the development of a strong Black literary tradition. He has published more than 28 books (some under his former name, Don L. Lee). His Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: The African American Family in Transition (1990) has sold more than 1 million copies. Selected titles include Don't Cry, Scream! (1969), GroundWork: New and Selected Poems 1966-1996 (1996), HeartLove: Wedding and Love Poems (1998), Tough Notes: A Healing Call For Creating Exceptional Black Men (2002), Run Toward Fear (2004), and YellowBlack: The First Twenty One Years of a Poet's Life (2006).

Cris Mazza is the author of over a dozen books. Her forthcoming book is titled Trickle-Down Timeline, stories of the 80s. A native of San Diego, Mazza currently she lives 50 miles west of Chicago and is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

James McManus - has written about Sen. Obama's poker playing, for The New Yorker, and has spoken about it (often in contrast with John McCain's craps habit) at Harvard, Goldman Sachs, and on various media outlets. His history of poker will be published by FSG in 2009.

Jonathan Messinger - is the author of the short story collection, Hiding Out, which was named one of the best books of 2007 by the Omaha World-Herald. He's also the books editor of Time Out Chicago, founder and co-host of The Dollar Store Show, and co-publisher of Featherproof Books. His fiction has recently appeared in Other Voices and Awake!, an anthology from Soft Skull Press, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Sara Paretsky -  revolutionized the mystery world with her fictional detective, V. I. Warshawski. In addition to her best-selling series of crime novels, Paretsky has edited three short story collections and written the memoir Writing in an Age of Silence. As a frequent contributor to the New York Times and The Guardian, and a speaker at such places as the Library of Congress and Oxford University, she is an impassioned advocate for those on society's margins.

Ten years in advertising gave Marcus Sakey  the perfect background to write about criminals and killers. His debut, The Blade Itself, was a New York Times Editor's Pick, featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and named one of Esquire Magazine's 5 Best Reads of 2007. His books have been translated into numerous languages, and film rights have been purchased by Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire. His latest novel is Good People.


S.L. Wisenberg - is the author of a short story collection, The Sweetheart Is In, which was a Chicago Tribune Notable Book, and an essay collection, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions. Her nonfiction book, The Adventures of Cancer Bitch, will be published in early 2009 by the University of Iowa Press. She still believes that the personal is the political.

Ex-Rogers Parker Jennifer Berman lives on a tiny farm in Southwestern Ohio with her husband, two children, three dogs, two cats, and two Sicilian donkeys. She has written and illustrated four books of cartoons, including Why Dogs Are Better Than Republicans and Adult Children of Normal Parents, Annual Convention. She is a freelance cartoonist and has signed a contract with a Major Syndicate. Her daily cartoon panel will be published in finer newspapers nationwide sometime in 2009.

Pat Byrnes has been a cartoonist for the New Yorker since 1988. He is likewise a regular in the Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest and America Magazine. He has authored two anthologies of his gag cartoons, What Would Satan Do? And Because I'm the Child Here and I said So, and is the illustrator of Eats Shoots & Leaves-Illustrated Edition, which is due in bookstores tomorrow but is part of our silent auction tonight.

ARF is award-winning, (inter)nationally published humorist Ann Reinertsen Farrell. Her work has appeared in frazillions of publications including Glamour, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and the Chicago Tribune editorial page; in galleries in France, Chicago and New York City; and is made fresh daily at ww.workofarf.com. She maintains a studio in lovely Oak Park, where with her dog Grantley, she delights in the joy of lake-effect snow.

Nicole Hollander is the creator of the syndicated comic strip Sylvia, which appears daily in the Chicago Tribune and in newspapers across the country. Her new book is Tales of Graceful Aging from the Planet Denial, published by Broadway Books.

Tim Jackson is a nationally-syndicated cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer. He draws social commentary cartoons for the Chicago Defender, the Buckeye Review, Capital Outlook, Cincinnati Herald, Madison Times, Jacksonville Advocate, Northern Kentucky Herald and the Dayton Defender as well as color illustrations for the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois' newspaper, LifeTimes.

Neil Shapiro is a cartoonist, illustrator, writer and teacher in Chicago. He's currently working on a new book for Red Rock Press, The Amazing Menorah of Mazeltown. Please visit www.shapart.com to see more of his work.

Estelle Carol and Bob Simpson are the team of Carol Simpson Labor Cartoons. They fire off cartoons aimed at the U.S. corporate establishment and its wholly owned subsidiary, the U.S. Government. Their work appears in labor, alternative and business publications across North America and around the world.


Sara Paretsky, Stuart Dybek, Haki Madhubuti, Rosellen Brown, James McManus, Jonathan Messinger, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Cris Mazza. The evening's hostess is S.L. Wisenberg.

Tags: Literary, American, 2008