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Date & Time

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
6:00 PM


Seminary Co-op Bookstore


Free and open to the public

More Information


Seminary Co-op Bookstore
(773) 752-4381


Alex Kotlowitz discusses "Never a City so Real: A Walk in Chicago." He will be joined in conversation by Ben Austen. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Presented in partnership with the UChicago Program on the Global Environment

At the Co-op

About the book: “Chicago is a tale of two cities,” headlines declare. This narrative has been gaining steam alongside reports of growing economic divisions and diverging outlooks on the future of the city. Yet to keen observers of the Second City, this is nothing new. Those who truly know Chicago know that for decades—even centuries—the city has been defined by duality, possibly since the Great Fire scorched a visible line between the rubble and the saved. For writers like Alex Kotlowitz, the contradictions are what make Chicago. And it is these contradictions that form the heart of "Never a City So Real."

The book is a tour of the people of Chicago, those who have been Kotlowitz’s guide into this city’s – and by inference, this country’s – heart. Chicago, after all, is America’s city. Kotlowitz introduces us to the owner of a West Side soul food restaurant who believes in second chances, a steelworker turned history teacher, the “Diego Rivera of the projects,” and the lawyers and defendants who populate Chicago’s Criminal Courts Building. These empathic, intimate stories chronicle the city’s soul, its lifeblood.

About the author: Alex Kotlowitz is the award-winning author of four books, including the national best-seller "There Are No Children Here," and, most recently, "An American Summer." His work has appeared in the New Yorker, in the New York Times Magazine, and on This American Life. He teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

About the interlocutor: Ben Austen is the author of "High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing." His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's Magazine, GQ, The Atlantic, Wired, New York, Elle, and The Best American Travel Writing, among other publications. A former editor at Harper's Magazine, Austen is a story consultant on The City podcast and a board member of The South Side Weekly. He is a native South Sider.