CHICAGO, IL ( January 31, 2020 ) - Women & Children First is proud to host more than a dozen events this month ( February ) including book launch parties for local authors like Lucy Knisley ( Go To Sleep, I Miss You ) and Mikki Kendall ( Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot ). We'll also be returning to our feminist bookstore roots with more interactive workshops this month ( Trans Allyship on Feb. 9 and Reenvisioning Masculinity on Feb. 27 ).
We are thrilled to announce our first major ticketed events of the year:
N.K. JEMISIN - March 31 at 7 p.m. at WIlson Abbey-Everybody's Coffee ( 935 W. Wilson ). Tickets & Info!
REBECCA SOLNIT in conversation with EULA BISS - April 23 at 7 p.m. at WIlson Abbey-Everybody's Coffee ( 935 W. Wilson ).
Tickets & Info at nkjemisinchicago.brownpapertickets.com/ .
Also, tickets on sale soonfor the launch of Wow, No Thank You by SAMANTHA IRBY!
Below, February events and save-the-dates through the end of March.
Thursday, February 6 at 7 p.m.
All the F*cking Mistakes
Taking Sexy Back
In All the F*cking Mistakes, Gigi Engle offers her own special brand of hilarious, no-nonsense advice about everything from taking back your confidence in a world full of slut shaming to discovering and owning your sexual empowerment through masturbation and demanding the love you really deserve. This book is an ode to the women of the world who deserve to be empowered, sexually and otherwise, without guilt. In Taking Sexy Back, Dr. Alexandra Solomon examines how the very notion of sexual pleasure has long been hijacked from women and how today's climate leaves little to no space for honoring the complexities of sex. Solomon offers a powerful and holistic approach to help reclaim readers' sexuality, communicate their desires, draw boundaries, be safe, and build the satisfying relationships they truly want. Regardless of their current relationship status, they'll learn to cultivate their own sexual self-awareness and use that awareness to create sexual experiences that elevate, connect, expand, and heal them. Gigi Engle is a feminist writer, certified sex coach, clinical sexologist, and sex educator. She teaches a variety of classes on pleasure, sexual health, and confidence, and her work regularly appears in Marie Claire, Elle, Teen Vogue, and Women's Health. She currently splits her time between Chicago and London. Dr. Alexandra H. Solomon's is the author of Loving Bravely: Twenty Lessons of Self-Discovery to Help You Get the Love You Want. Dr. Solomon is affiliated with Northwestern University, where she teaches and trains marriage and family therapy graduate students and also teaches the internationally renowned undergraduate course, Building Loving and Lasting Relationships: Marriage 101. She maintains a psychotherapy practice for individual adults and couples and has been invited to talk about love, sex, and marriage with such media outlets as The Today Show, Vogue, and Scientific American, among others.
Friday, February 7 at 7 p.m.
Book Launch & Panel Discussion
Author Ela Przybylo will begin this event by introducing her new book, Asexual Erotics, which explores what it would mean to read texts for asexuality and to see asexuality as prolific in queer lives.. After this introduction, each panelist will engage with a different chapter of the book, which engage with queer, feminist, lesbian, and antiracist movements, theories, and artwork to imagine a flourishing asexual erotics. Panelists include: Rebecca Tauber, an addiction specialist who uses trauma-informed practices and a harm reduction approach to guide participants through recovery on their own terms; Lauren Beach, PhD, JD, a research assistant professor in the Department of Medical Social Sciences and the associate director of the EDIT Program in the Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University; Kinsey Erickson, a freelance game designer who makes silly or personal games as well as games that can be used as part of a curriculum or intervention, or to promote activism and acceptance; Ashabi Owagboriaye, a Nigerian-American artist-activist who curates the page Ace in Grace, a platform made to educate folks about the asexual community while also uplifting and highlighting Black and other POC; Jiyul Kim, a Korean-American, gray-ace, non-binary femme studying gender and sexuality studies, English literature, and psychology at Northwestern University. Dr. Ela Przybylo is affiliated with both the Department of English and the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Illinois State University. She is the author of Asexual Erotics: Intimate Readings of Compulsory Sexuality and co-editor of On the Politics of Ugliness. Ela is also a founding and managing editor of Feral Feminisms.
Sunday, February 9 from 4 to 6 p.m.
Trans Ally Workshop
hosted by Chicago Therapy Collective
Join us as we take a second step in response to last year's transphobic harassment at our bookstore. We welcome all Andersonville businesses, workers, residents, visitors, and the general public to join us for a conversation about what intersectional trans-inclusivity looks like and how we respond when anti-trans violence occurs within our businesses and on our streets. Led by The Chicago Therapy Collective, this public workshop will briefly review basic trans terminology, the gender spectrum, and key principles of allyship. The majority of this workshop will focus on common instances of harm trans community members face; how that harm is further complicated by race, class, and ableism; and bystander intervention strategies allies can use to interrupt such harm.
Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m.
Suzanne Walker in conversation with Isabella Rotman
A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft. Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She loans out spell books from her grandmother's bookshop and investigates any supernatural occurrences in her New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf and comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery. Suzanne Walker is a Chicago-based writer and editor. She is co-creator of Mooncakes with artist Wendy Xu. Her short fiction has been published in Clarkesworld, and she has published nonfiction articles with Uncanny Magazine and Women Write About Comics and the anthology Barriers and Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability. She has spoken at numerous conventions on a variety of topics ranging from disability representation in sci-fi/fantasy to the importance of fair compensation for marginalized SF/F creators.
Thursday, February 13 at 7 p.m.
Rachel Kramer Bussel, Lauren Emily, Jayne Renault, Sierra Simone &
Best Women's Erotica of the Year:
Anthology Reading & Valentine's Party
Join us for a very special author reading in celebration of Best Women's Erotica of the Year: Volume 5! This free event will feature V-Day snacks, special giveaways, a Glitter Guts photo-booth, and readings by Rachel Kramer Bussel, the Best Women's Erotica of the Year series editor. Her 60+ anthologies include The Big Book of Orgasms, Come Again, and Sex Toy Erotica. Kathleen Delaney-Adams is a queer high femme performer, author, cupcake baker, and rescuer of all living creatures who has been published in a dozen erotic anthologies. Lauren Emily is a Chicago-based writer and performer whose erotica has been published in BUST magazine, on Bellesa.co, and in the anthology Between the Covers. Lauren is also the author of the YA novel Satellite under the name Lauren Emily Whalen. Jayne Renault is a long-winded smutty wordsmith who likes to fill her pages with bisexual babes, scandal and infidelity, smug masturbation, and a little magic. She is the resident Smut Queen at Bellesa. Sierra Simone is a USA Today-bestselling former librarian. She lives with her husband and family in Kansas City. Suleikha Snyder is an award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romance. Her stories have been showcased in Entertainment Weekly, BuzzFeed, and the Times of India and on NPR.
Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m.
My Autobiography of Carson McCullers: A Memoir
While working as an intern in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center, Jenn Shapland encounters the love letters of Carson and a woman named Annemarieletters that are tender, intimate, and unabashed in their feelings. Shapland recognizes herself in these letters in a way she never has before and so undertakes a recovery of the full narrative and language of Carson's life. She wades through the therapy transcripts. She stays at Carson's childhood home. As Shapland reckons with the expanding and collapsing distance between herself and Carson, she creates a vital new portrait of one of America's most beloved writers and shows us how the writers we love and the stories we tell about ourselves make us who we are. Jenn Shapland's work won a 2017 Pushcart Prize and fellowships/residencies at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Yaddo, and the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians. Her essays have been published in Tin House, Electric Literature, and The Millions, among others. She has a PhD in English from UT Austin and teaches in the Creative Writing department at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She designs and makes clothing for Agnes. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Thursday, February 20 at 7 p.m.
Katherine Alford & Kathy Gunst
Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Fury, and Women's Voices ( A Cookbook with More Than 50 Recipes )
In recent years, women around the globe have been expressing their rage, fury, and frustration in myriad ways. Some call their senators; some write checks; some join activist groups, march, or otherwise raise their voices. But many also turn to their greatest comforttheir kitchen. Rage Baking offers more than 50 cookie, cake, tart, and pie recipes, as well as inspirational essays, reflections, and interviews with well-known bakers and impassioned women and activists, including Dorie Greenspan, Ruth Reichl, Julia Turshen, Genevieve Ko, Rebecca Traister, Pam Houston, Cecile Richards, and many more. Rage Baking unites like-minded women who are passionate about baking and change. Katherine Alford ran a New York Times 4-star kitchen and has been a Greenmarket manager and an instructor and director of Peter Kump's Cooking School ( now Institute of Culinary Education ). She spent the last twenty years at the Food Network. Kathy Gunst is a James Beard Award—winning journalist and the author of fifteen cookbooks, as well as the resident chef for NPR's Here and Now. She writes for many publications, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, Food & Wine. Gunst teaches food journalism and cooking at schools and universities around the globe.
Friday, February 21 at 7 p.m.
Gregory Michie, Bill Ayers, and contributing artists
Holler If You Hear Me: Comic Edition
Author Reading and Discussion
For this event, join Greg Michie, Bill Ayers, and several contributing artists as they discuss the process of creating the comic edition of Holler If You Hear Me. In 1999, Greg Michie wrote a memoir of his teaching experiences in Chicago public schools. Over the next two decades, the book went on to become one of the most enduring contemporary teacher memoirs. This past year, for the book's 20th anniversary, Michie joined with illustrator Ryan Alexander-Tanner and a group of talented young Chicago artists to create a comic adaptation of Holler—a brilliant and lively reimagining of the original text. Gregory Michie teaches 7th- and 8th-graders in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. He is the author, most recently, of Same as It Never Was: Notes on a Teacher's Return to the Classroom.
Monday, February 24 at 7 p.m.
Go To Sleep ( I Miss You )
Book Launch Party
Following the completion of her pregnancy memoir Kid Gloves ( and the birth of her baby ), Lucy embarked on a new project: documenting new motherhood in short, spontaneous little cartoons, which she posted on Instagram and quickly gained a huge cult following. The best of those wildly popular little cartoons are collected in this adorable gift book. Go to Sleep ( I Miss You ) is a perfect read for expecting parents, new parents, and anyone who loves funny, relatable comics storytelling. Lucy Knisley is the author and illustrator of beloved graphic novels about memory, identity, food, and family. Her Alex Award-winning graphic novel, Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into five languages. Her travelogues ( French Milk, An Age of License, and Displacement ) and web comic series ( Stop Paying Attention ) have been lauded by critics. Her graphic memoirs include Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride, and Kid Gloves.
Tuesday, February 25 at 6:30 p.m.
What Will These Hands Make?
Author Reading & Book-signing
This lyrical picture book from beloved creator Nikki McClure follows a family and ponders the possibilities that a single day can holdfrom enjoying treats at the bakery, to admiring the goods in local artisan shops, to observing the new construction in town. Illuminating themes of community, creativity, and collaboration, What Will These Hands Make? dares the reader to dream about everything they can be and all the ways they can leave their little corner of the world better than they found it. Nikki McClure is a self-taught cut-paper artist and the author-illustrator of many books for children, including In; To Market, To Market; Waiting for High Tide; and Mama, Is It Summer Yet? She lives in Olympia, Washington.
Wednesday, February 26 at 7 p.m.
Mikki Kendall in conversation with
Jamie Nesbitt Golden
Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot
Book Launch Party
Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. Prominent white feminists suffer myopia with regard to how race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender, imperiling everyone. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall draws on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization —along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more—to deliver an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. Mikki Kendall is a writer, historian, and diversity consultant who writes about intersectionality, policing, gender, sexual assault, and other current events. Kendall's nonfiction can be found in the Guardian, Ebony, Bustle, and a host of other outlets. Her media appearances include the BBC, NPR, Al Jazeera, and Showtime. She is the author of Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists: A Graphic History of Women's Fight for Their Rights. Jamie Nesbitt Golden is a reporter with Block Club Chicago, a non-profit newsroom dedicated to community journalism. A lifelong South Sider, she graduated from Kenwood Academy, majoring in broadcasting, before working as a general assignment reporter at the Chicago Defender. Her work has appeared in Time, xoJane, and Ebony. She currently lives in Hyde Park with her husband and son.
Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m.
A Public Workshop geared for ages 16 and up
Ada Cheng, producer and host of the popular Am I Man Enough? Storytelling Show will host this workshop and dialogue examining toxic masculinity. Through mini-presentations, critical dialogues, and video clips, we will examine the following questions: What is toxic masculinity? Why is it important to examine it in the current sociopolitical climate? Where does it start, and how does it manifest itself? How does it affect all of us? How can individual and collective changes take place? Dr. Ada Cheng is a professor-turned-storyteller, performing artist, and storytelling show producer. She was a tenured professor at DePaul University for 15 years from 2001 to 2016 when she resigned to pursue storytelling and performance full time. During her time at DePaul, she taught subjects on gender, sex, sexuality, masculinity, race/ethnicity, and immigrations. She is currently the education and outreach specialist with Campus Advocacy Network at the Women's Leadership and Resource Center at UIC.
Friday, February 28 at 7 p.m.
Celeste Watkins-Hayes & Victoria Noe in conversation with Jennifer Brier
Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDs Confront Inequality
What is the legacy and ongoing work of women in the HIV/AIDS movement? In this provocative discussion, authors Celeste Watkins-Hayes and Victoria Noe will discuss their new books on women in the epidemic who fought to shape their destinies and capture the attention of policy makers, the HIV movement, and the public to influence hearts, minds, science, and policy. The discussion will be facilitated by AIDS historian Jennifer Brier, and we extend a special invitation to women living with HIV and those active in the movement to join us for this inspiring conversation. Celeste Watkins-Hayes is professor of Sociology and African American Studies and a faculty fellow at the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. Her most recent book, Remaking a Life: How Women Living with HIV/AIDS Confront Inequality, analyzes the transformation of the AIDS epidemic and is based on interviews with more than 200 female AIDS activists, policy officials, advocates, and women living with HIV/AIDS. Victoria Noe is the author of the award-winning Friend Grief series and her most recent book, Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community. Her articles have appeared in the Windy City Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Huffington Post. Her essay, "Long Term Survivor" won the 2015 Christopher Hewitt Award for Creative Nonfiction. Jennifer Brier directs and is professor in the Program in Gender and Women's Studies at UIC and is also on the faculty in the History Department. Brier is the author of Infectious Ideas: U.S. Political Response to the AIDS Crisis. As a curator, Brier worked with Jill Austin to produce, Out in Chicago, the Chicago History Museum's award-winning exhibition on LGBT history. She also curated Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics and Culture, a traveling exhibition for the National Library of Medicine.
Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m.
When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it's up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company's bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but those two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago. To find the missing granny, Ava and Jules will brave carnivorous furniture, swarms of identical furniture spokespeople, and the deep resentment simmering between them. Can friendship blossom from the ashes of their relationship? Finna is a rambunctious, touching story that explores queer relationships and queer feelings, capitalism and accountability, labor and love. Nino Cipri is a queer and trans/nonbinary writer, editor, and educator. They are a graduate of the Clarion Writing Workshop and the University of Kansas's MFA program and author of the award-winning debut fiction collection Homesick. Nino has also written plays, poetry, and radio features; performed as a dancer, actor, and puppeteer; and worked as a stagehand, bookseller, bike mechanic, and labor organizer.
Thursday, March 5 at 7 p.m.
Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story ( paperback tour )
As a young child in North Carolina, Jacob wanted it all, but because they were "a boy," they were told they could only have the masculine half. Acting feminine labelled them "a sissy" and brought social isolation. It took Jacob years to discover that being "a sissy" isn't something to be ashamed of. It's a source of pride. Following Jacob through bullying and beauty contests, from Duke University to the United Nations to the podiums of the Methodist church, this unforgettable, bestselling memoir ( now in paperback ) contains multitudes. Jacob Tobia ( pronouns: they/them ) is a gender nonconforming writer, producer, and performer based in Los Angeles. A member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and the Out 100, Jacob made television history voicing the nonbinary character of Double Trouble in Netflix's She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Their writing and advocacy have been featured by the New York Times, Good Morning America, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, among others. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jacob has worn high heels in the White House twice. Sissy is their debut memoir.
March 31 at 7 p.m.
N. K. Jemisin
The City We Became
Author Reading & Book Signing
Please note: this ticketed event will be held at Wilson Abbey ( 935 W. Wilson )
Tickets on sale now ONLY through Brown Paper Tickets
Join us for a reading and Q&A with N. K. Jemisin. Each ticket includes a pre-signed copy of Jemisin's forthcoming novel, The City We Became. In this stunning new novel by NYT-bestselling author N. K. Jemisin, five New Yorkers must come together to defend their city from an ancient evil. Every great city has a soul. But every great city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
N. K. Jemisin is the first author in the genre's history to win three consecutive Best Novel Hugo Awards, all for her Broken Earth trilogy. Her work has also won the Nebula, Locus, and Goodreads Choice Awards. She was a reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, and she has been an instructor for the Clarion and Clarion West writing workshops. In her spare time she is a gamer and gardener, and she is also single-handedly responsible for saving the world from KING Ozzymandias, her dangerously intelligent ginger cat, and his phenomenally destructive sidekick, Magpie.
Save the Date
Saturday, March 7
Kids Story time & Celebration
Tuesday, March 10 at 7 p.m.
Lisa Olstein in conversation with
Thursday, March 12 at 7 p.m.
Nadina LaSpina in conversation with
Such A Pretty Girl
Monay, March 16 at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 18 at 7 p.m.
Late: My Life at the End of the World
Joint Author Reading
Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m.
Raechel Anne Jolie in conversation with Iliana Regan
Rust Belt Femme
Wednesday, March 25 at 7 p.m.
Mary South in conversation with
Thursday, March 26 at 6 p.m.
Friday, March 27 at 7 p.m.
Megan Giddings in conversation with Juan Martinez
Wednesday, April 1 at 7 p.m.
Family of Women Book Group
Sunday, February 2 at 2 p.m.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Feminist Book Group:
The Climate Change edition
Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m.
The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk
Teens First Book Group
Sunday, February 9 at 5 p.m.
Black Klansman by by Ron Stallworth
Classics of Women's Literature
Monday, February 17 at 7:15 p.m.
Mean Spirit by Linda Hogan ( and selection meeting ) ( note date change )
Well-Read Black Girl Book Group
Sunday, February 16 at 1 p.m.
The Street by Ann Petry
Social Justice Book Group
Sunday, February 16 at 2:30 p.m.
How to Read the Constitution and Why
by Kimberly Wehle
Women's Book Group
Tuesday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin
Women Aging with Wisdom & Grace Discussion & Potluck
Sunday, March 1
10 a.m. to noon
Recommended reading: Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill ( note date change )
—From a press release