We cast our vote for what to see at the Chicago Humanities Fest.
Every fall, the Chicago Humanities Festival offers an eclectic array of programs featuring writers, scholars, policy makers and more. It’s an ideal kind of education: plenty of thought-provoking discussion and zero exams. The 23rd annual fest, exploring the many meanings of “America,” falls during the presidential election (Thursday 1–Sunday 11) and aims to deepen the political discourse. Artistic director Matti Bunzl says CHF will provide a forum for “the sophisticated and respectful conversations about America that so many of us long to see in the public arena.” If you’re undecided about what events to attend, we’ve taken the liberty of creating a “class schedule,” with an emphasis on literary offerings. Get schooled.
Social studies “The Power of the Writer’s Voice”
Dorothy Allison is known both for her searing fiction (Bastard Out of Carolina, Cavedweller) and political outspokenness. She forthrightly addresses class, gender and sexuality in her work, particularly issues impacting gays and lesbians. “I don’t know if this is the right analogy, but I think of her like Ellen DeGeneres,” says senior program manager Corrina Lesser. “Both have helped bring those conversations into the popular media.” Allison will talk with Booklist editor Donna Seaman about the writer’s influence in contemporary culture. Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S State St. Sat 3 at 10:30pm; $15.
Latino lit “Beyond Macondo”
According to Lesser, when CHF approached award-winning author Luis Alberto Urrea (Queen of America) about what writer he might want to introduce to the Humanities Fest audience, “He paused for like one and a half seconds and said ‘Cristina Henríquez is amazing.’ ” We agree. The Panamanian-American author most recently showcased her lyrical prose in the novel The World in Half. We look forward to their candid conversation on Latino/Latina fiction. UIC Forum, Main Hall AB, 725 W Roosevelt Rd. Sat 3 at 2pm; $10.
American lit “The Case for Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer”
As a kid at Francis Parker School in the 1920s, Barney Rosset made a mimeographed newsletter called Anti-Everything. He was a publishing pioneer, going on to helm the legendary Grove Press, edit the Evergreen Review and fight obscenity laws in the ’50s and ’60s. Loren Glass, one of the last to interview him (Rosset died in February), discusses his campaign against censorship. Francis W. Parker School, 2233 N Clark St. Sun 11 at 2pm; $5.
Honors English “Richard Ford”
Ford, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction, receives more accolades tonight in the form of the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. Title notwithstanding, his latest novel Canada is an American tragedy, set partially in the heartland and narrated by a teen boy whose parents rob a bank, precipitating a series of horrific events that rend the family apart. Now’s your chance to hear from the man who keeps his manuscripts in a freezer. (“An old Depression-era fear that if the house burns, the icebox burns last,” he told Stephen Colbert. Cool idea.) Northwestern University School of Law, Thorne Auditorium, 375 E Chicago Ave. Sun 11 at 6pm; $15.
For a full scheduleof CHF programs, visit chicagohumanitiesfest.org.