Playlist Books


Author Mia P. Manansala and her book Homicide and Halo-Halo. Photo: Jamilla Yip Photography;  Cover Design: Vi-An Nguyen

Why There's Food in Nearly Every Scene of Chicago Native Mia P. Manansala's New Mystery

Daniel Hautzinger

Chicago native Mia P. Manansala's Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery Series is packed full of lovingly described food—as well as engrossing mystery. Manansala believes a character's approach to food reveals a lot about them, and wants to expose people to Filipino culture.
Sophie Wilde and Solly McLeod

An Adaptation of "The Mother of All Rom-coms" Is Coming to PBS

Daniel Hautzinger

Tom Jones is the mother of all rom-coms and isn’t that just what we all need after the last couple of years of misery?" says the writer of an upcoming adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic work, considered one of the first novels. 
Henry Wilcox (Matthew MacFadyen) and Margaret Schlegel (Hayley Atwell) in 'Howards End.' Photo: Courtesy Starz Entertainment

50 Years of 'Masterpiece,' by the Author

Julia Maish

Masterpiece is lauded for its literary adaptations. Some authors have proven to be so popular with audiences that several of their works (and sometimes their life stories as well) have been adapted for television, with some reimagined more than once.
Hemingway family portrait. From left to right: Ursula, Clarence, Ernest, Grace, and Marcelline Hemingway. October 1903. Image: Ernest Hemingway Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick on Hemingway's Childhood

Daniel Hautzinger

Join a conversation between filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick along with Hemingway scholar Verna Kale and acclaimed author Tim O'Brien as they discuss Hemingway's childhood in Oak Park. 
Willard Motley. Photo: Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress

The First Bud Billiken

Daniel Hautzinger

Willard Motley wrote stories for children in the Chicago Defender as the first "Bud Billiken" while he was a teen, then went on to write hardboiled novels about Chicago's down-and-out. But he was criticized for writing about white instead of Black characters.
Ernest Hemingway's 1923 passport photo. Image: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Ernest Hemingway's Youth in Oak Park and Chicago

Daniel Hautzinger

Hemingway was born in Oak Park but left as soon as he could and began framing himself in opposition to what he considered the middle-class values of the suburb. A sojourn in Chicago helped introduce him to a literary world and sent him on his way to Paris.
Ernest Hemingway at his home Cuba, late 1940s. Photo: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick Tackle Ernest Hemingway

Daniel Hautzinger

The three-part, six-hour Hemingway from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick comes to WTTW and PBS in April, featuring the voices of Jeff Daniels and Meryl Streep among others, as well as authors Edna O'Brien, Mario Vargas Llosa, Tobias Wolff, and more.
Nella Larsen in 1928. Photo: James Allen/Library of Congress, Harmon Foundation Records, Manuscript Division.

The Novelist Nella Larsen's Life Between Worlds

Daniel Hautzinger

Nella Larsen existed in disparate worlds, never quite finding her place: born to a Danish mother and West Indian father in a Chicago vice district, she eventually became a part of the Harlem Renaissance and Black professional class, producing a neglected classic novel. 
A PBS Books author talk about 'Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks'

Celebrate Gwendolyn Brooks with PBS Books and WTTW

Daniel Hautzinger

The Chicagoland author and illustrator of the children's book Exquisite: The Life and Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks give a live reading and discuss the process of creating the book as well as their admiration of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet.
Louie Perez on his influences in a graphic from the American Writers Museum's 'My America' exhibit. Image: American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum Spotlights the Voices of Immigrant and Refugee Writers

Daniel Hautzinger

“You can make a strong case for saying the American writing experience is the immigrant writing experience,” says the author Juan Martinez, and that's exactly what the American Writers Museum's "My America" exhibit, newly made digital, does.
'Mondays with Michelle Obama' from PBS KIDS

Michelle Obama Joins PBS KIDS For Weekly Story Times

Daniel Hautzinger

Beginning April 20, Michelle Obama will join PBS KIDS to read a children's book live on Facebook and YouTube in order to encourage reading while children are at home, in Mondays with Michelle Obama.
Books published by Agate Publishing

The Chicago Area Publishing Company That Discovers Overlooked Talent

Daniel Hautzinger

Since the Chicago area is not a publishing hub, Agate Publishing is easy to overlook. But its location outside a hub of the industry lets it find overlooked talent: it published the debut novels of Jesmyn Ward and Kiese Laymon, and has a current National Book Award contender in Burn the Place.
Valerie Taylor and Pearl Hart. Images: Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame

Chicago's Outspoken Lesbian Power Couple

Daniel Hautzinger

Pearl Hart spent much of her career as a lawyer defending people from the infringement of their rights, from Communists caught up in the Red Scare to lesbians and gay people. Her late-in-life partner Valerie Taylor advocated for LGBT rights through her writing, speaking, and novels.
Book covers from The Great American Read

What's America's Favorite Novel?

Daniel Hautzinger

Did your favorite novel come out first in The Great American Read's search for America's best-loved book? Find the top ten books by voting here, and learn insights from the results.
The author Alex Haley in 1976

From the Archive: Alex Haley, Author of 'Roots'

Daniel Hautzinger

The author of Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X explains the origins of Roots and his difficulty in capturing the experience of being on a slave-ship in a 1976 interview. "The absence of pride changes to a presence of pride" when you know your history, he says.
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