Writers at Wright Presents Audrey Petty in Conversation with Alex Kotlowitz at Unity Temple

Event date: 

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 7:00pm

Please join us for an evening with Audrey Petty in conversation with Alex Kotlowitz. They will discuss the new book edited by Petty, High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing. Alex Kotlowitz wrote the forward.

In the gripping first-person accounts of High Rise Stories, former residents of Chicago’s iconic public housing projects describe life in the now-demolished high rises. These stories of community, displacement, and poverty in the wake of gentrification give voice to those who have long been ignored, but whose hopes and struggles exist firmly at the heart of our national identity. Among the narrators:

DOLORES, who, at the age of eighty-two, was hastily displaced from her home in Cabrini-Green after fifty-three years and forced to leave many of her belongings behind. Dolores depicts her community’s evolution over five decades, including her leadership in resident government, and her husband’s mentoring of youth through a Drum and Bugle Corps.

DONNELL, who was initiated into gang life at the age of twelve. A former resident of Rockwell Gardens, Donnell recounts growing up in an environment where daily life involved selling drugs, fighting rival gangs, and navigating encounters with a corrupt and often violent police force, as well as his efforts to turn his life around after incarceration.

SABRINA, whose sister was shot in the head in their Cabrini-Green apartment when she was caught in the middle of a turf-related shooting. Because ambulances refused to come to Cabrini-Green and the elevators were out of order, Sabrina’s father and her then-pregnant mother had to carry her sister down thirteen flights of stairs to rush her to the hospital.

Audrey Petty is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A Ford Foundation grantee, her work has been featured in Colorlines, StoryQuarterly, and Saveur, among many others.

Alex Kotlowitz is the author of several books, including There Are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in the Other America. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois.  

Voice of Witness is a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit book series that empowers those most closely affected by contemporary social injustice. Using oral history as a foundation, the series depicts human rights crises around the world through the stories of the men and women who experience them.


Tickets: $16. Each ticket holder will receive a FREE copy of High Rise Stories at the event.




Writers at Wright is a partnership between The Book Table, Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, Midwest Media and Unity Temple Restoration Foundation dedicated to bringing the finest authors to speak at Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece, Unity Temple in Oak Park, IL.

10% of all book sales at this event will be donated to The Unity Temple Restoration Foundation.


Event address: 

Unity Temple
875 Lake Street
60301-1101 Oak Park