Illinois Libraries Present
TUE, APR 4, 7PM, ZOOM: Actor, author, and restaurateur Danny Trejo will discuss how he developed a prolific career in the entertainment industry with a hard-earned and atypical road to success. From years of imprisonment to helping troubled youth battle drug addictions, from acting to producing, and now on to restaurant ventures, Trejo’s name, face, and achievements are well recognized in Hollywood and beyond, but it is his continuous role as a devoted father of three and an intervention counselor that bring him the most satisfaction.
ABOUT DANNY TREJO: Trejo has starred in dozens of films including Desperado, Heat, the From Dusk Til Dawn series, Con Air, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids, and Machete. On the television side, he’s had recurring roles on Sons of Anarchy, King of the Hill, Breaking Bad, and The Flash, among others. He has also starred in and voiced various popular video games like Call of Duty, Fallout, and Grand Theft Auto, as well as voiced characters in the animated films Storks, The Book of Life, Minions 2: The Rise of Gru, and Maya and the Three.
He shared his love of food with the world in the release of his first cookbook Trejo’s Tacos: Recipes and Stories from LA. His fearlessly honest memoir Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood was released in July 2021.
The Weird & Wonderful World with Mary Roach
WED, MAR 1, 7PM, ZOOM: Experience an entertaining and hilarious evening with New York Times best-selling science author, Mary Roach. Roach will discuss her frank approach to science, the importance of humor, and explore the weird, wonderful world in which we live. Annalee Newitz, from the hilarious podcast, Our Opinions are Correct, will join Mary Roach in conversation.
About Mary Roach: Dubbed “America’s funniest science writer” by the Washington Post, Mary Roach has explored topics from the curious lives of human cadavers, packing to visit space, the afterlife, the alimentary canal, and more. Roach claims to have no hobbies, but enjoys bird-watching, hiking, playing scrabble, and watching late-night Animal Planet. She is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Her newest book Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law, debuted September 2021. Mary’s books have been published in 21 languages, and her second book, Spook, was a New York Times Notable Book.
Mary has written for National Geographic, Wired, The New York Times Magazine, and the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, among others. She was a guest editor of the Best American Science and Nature Writing series and an Osher Fellow with the San Francisco Exploratorium and serves as an advisor for Orion and Undark magazines. She has been a finalist for the Royal Society’s Winton Prize and a winner of the American Engineering Societies’ Engineering Journalism Award, in a category for which, let’s be honest, she was the sole entrant.
Saying Yes to Your Story: A Conversation with Kwame Alexander
WED, FEB 8, 7PM, Zoom: Join us for an evening of inspiration and conversation with bestselling and award-winning children’s and young adult author and poet, Kwame Alexander, author of the Newbery Award winning book, The Crossover, Newbery Honor/Caldecott Medal winning book, The Undefeated, The Door of No Return, and most recently, An American Story, for an Illinois Libraries Present event for young people and their families.
About Kwame Alexander: Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, publisher, and New York Times Bestselling author of 36 books, including Swing, Becoming Muhammad Ali, co-authored with James Patterson, Rebound, The Undefeated, The Crossover, and The Door of No Return. A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, Three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award. In 2018, he opened the Barbara E. Alexander Memorial Library and Health Clinic in Ghana, as a part of LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy program he co-founded. He is the writer and executive producer of The Crossover show on Disney+.
Inciting Joy: A Conversation with Ross Gay
WED, JAN 11, 7PM, Zoom: Kick off your new year with a conversation about joy with best-selling essayist and award-winning poet Ross Gay. An exploration of the joy we incite when we turn our attention to what we love and what brings us together, Ross will discuss his most recent collection of essays, Inciting Joy, with performance poet Dan “Sully” Sullivan.
About Ross Gay: Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller.
Tue, Dec 13, 7 pm, Zoom: Join Shauna Sever, cookbook author, TV and radio contributor, and daughter of the great Midwest, for this special Illinois Libraries Present holiday season event. Shauna will share her love of food, baking, and some tips to make your holiday gatherings delicious.
About Shauna Sever:As a writer, Shauna’s work is best defined by her baking-centric cookbooks. Her fourth, Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking From the Heartland, was named a Best Baking Cookbooks of 2019 by The New York Times. She has also contributed food stories and recipes for The Wall Street Journal, Food52, Bon Appetit, The Kitchn, Real Simple, Midwest Living, Food and Wine, O Magazine, and many more. Though her career began in broadcast journalism and she now talks about pie instead of Hollywood, she uses the same skill set for her regular television appearances on TODAY Show and Food Network. After 12 years of California living, Shauna and her family returned to Chicago, where she now bakes, writes, and is always on the hunt for great old-school Midwestern bakeries.
November 16, 7 pm, virtually on Zoom: Join us for a conversation with Caitlin Doughty, mortician, bestselling author, and advocate for death acceptance. Hailed by The New York Times as “a relentlessly curious and chipper tour guide to the underworld,” she’ll discuss reform of Western funeral industry practices and much more with Mark Bazer (The Interview Show).
About Caitlin Doughty: Caitlin Doughty is a mortician, advocate, and bête noire of the traditional funeral industry. Her educational webseries “Ask a Mortician” has been viewed almost 250 million times and her three books were New York Times bestsellers – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, From Here to Eternity, and Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? She founded a Los Angeles funeral home as well as the funeral reform collective The Order of the Good Death, which spawned the death positive movement.
October 12, 7 pm, virtually on Zoom: Join us for an evening with two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward as she discusses how her literary vision and personal experiences address urgent questions about racism and social injustice.
About Jesmyn Ward: Ward, hailed as “the new Toni Morrison” by the American Booksellers Association, is the author of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including the critically acclaimed novels Sing, Unburied, Sing and Salvage the Bones, and the memoir Men We Reaped. In 2017, she became the first woman and first person of color to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice. A professor of creative writing at Tulane University and contributing editor to Vanity Fair, Ward’s many honors include the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, a MacArthur Genius Grant, and a Strauss Living Award.
September 14, 7 pm, virtually on Zoom: In celebration of Deaf Awareness Month, Marlee Matlin joins Illinois Libraries Present to share the highs and lows of her Hollywood career and journeys as an activist. The youngest recipient of the Best Actress Oscar, Matlin’s acting career recently achieved another milestone as her 2021 film CODA swept every category it was nominated in at the 2022 Academy Awards.
This program will be offered in ASL and translated through an interpreter.
About Marlee Matlin: A longtime advocate for deaf rights, Matlin continues to break down barriers for herself and others through her acting, awareness, and writing. As she has so aptly stated, “The only thing I can’t do is hear. The rest is there for the taking.”
About Illinois Libraries Present
This event is made possible by Illinois Libraries Present, a statewide collaboration among public libraries offering premier events. Illinois Libraries Present is funded in part by a grant awarded by the Illinois State Library, a Department of the Office for the Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Illinois Libraries Present is committed to inclusion and accessibility. To request accommodations, please email email@example.com.