Alex Kotlowitz in Conversation with WBEZ's Jenn White

Event date: 

Monday, March 4, 2019 - 7:00pm

Please join us for a special pre-release event with the New York Times Bestselling author of There Are No Children Here, Alex Kotlowitz. In An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago--his first new book in nearly 15 years--Kotlowitz addresses violence in Chicago head-on.

The numbers are staggering: over the past twenty years in Chicago, 14,033 people have been killed and another roughly 60,000 wounded by gunfire. What does that do to the spirit of individuals and community? Drawing on his decades of experience, Alex Kotlowitz set out to chronicle one summer in the city, writing about individuals who have emerged from the violence and whose stories capture the capacity--and the breaking point--of the human heart and soul. The result is a spellbinding collection of deeply intimate profiles that upend what we think we know about gun violence in America. Among others, we meet a man who as a teenager killed a rival gang member and twenty years later is still trying to come to terms with what he's done; a devoted school social worker struggling with her favorite student, who refuses to give evidence in the shooting death of his best friend; the witness to a wrongful police shooting who can't shake what he has seen; and an aging former gang leader who builds a place of refuge for himself and his friends.

Applying the close-up, empathic reporting that made There Are No Children Here a modern classic, Kotlowitz offers a piercingly honest portrait of a city in turmoil. These sketches of those left standing will get into your bones. This one summer will stay with you.

Alex Kotlowitz is the author of 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. His second book, The Other Side of the River, was awarded the Heartland Prize for Non-Fiction. For his documentary film, The Interrupters, he received an Emmy and a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. Kotlowitz’s work, which has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and on public radio’s This American Life, has been honored with two Peabody awards, two duPont-Columbia University awards, and a George Polk Award. He is a writer in residence at Northwestern University. 

Jenn White is the host of the Morning Shift, WBEZ’s daily news and public affairs program. She’s also the host of the popular WBEZ podcasts Sixteen ShotsMaking Obama, and Making Oprah.

A native of Detroit and graduate of the University of Michigan, she has worked in public media since 1999.


Tickets: $33. Each ticket-holder receives a free copy of An American Summer (one day before its March 5th release date) at the door.

Event address: 

Dominican University Performing Arts Center
7900 W Division
River Forest, IL 60305