Gibson House Press Reading

Gibson House Press publishes novels by musicians in the belief that songwriters and musicians are uniquely connected to storytelling. Join us for a reading with four Gibson House Press authors: Nancy Burke, Ian Morris, Peter Robertson, Courtney Yasmineh!

Ian Morris is the author of the novel When Bad Things Happen to Rich People and co-editor of The Little Magazine in Contemporary America. He lives in Chicago.

When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is a novel of social satire, a black comedy set in Chicago in the summer of 1995. The novel’s protagonist, Nix Walters, is an adjunct instructor of English at a communications college in the loop with few prospects for advancement. He had become a literary punch line when his novel, touted as the next big literary phenomenon, was universally panned by critics. He and his pregnant wife, Flora, are struggling financially; however, their fortunes change when Nix is asked to ghostwrite the memoirs of publishing magnate Zira Fontaine. Written in the spirit of great naturalist novelists of the previous century, such as Dreiser, Norris, and Crane, with a black comic twist, When Bad Things Happen to Rich People is a broad panorama of our current social reality.

Nancy Burke, author of Undergrowth, is a psychoanalyst. Her poetry has appeared in After Hours, The American Poetry Journal, and Permafrost. Undergrowth is her first novel. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.

In this luminous novel, the all-too-human experiences of fear, love and loss become amplified with potentially disastrous consequences. In 1960s Brazil, an indigenous group is on the brink of a tragedy, the dimensions of which they are only beginning to grasp. A small band of disaffected government agents, academics and visionaries is determined to fight for their cause. Among them is James Ardmore who, along with his nephew Larry, travels to Pahquel, a village in the crosshairs of an environmental showdown. When James dies en route, Larry is left to decide: Should he attempt to escape his own personal demons by immersing himself in a completely foreign culture? Or retreat and resume his disaffected life in the U.S.?  What costs will he bear if he chooses to press forward? Against a lush backdrop, the author gives voice to the complexities of social, anthropological and environmental forces, in a page-turner of an adventure story that rests upon the deep and unsettling layers of undergrowth.

Peter Robertson, author of Colorblind, was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has been a book reviewer, and middle school teacher, and is the author of a mystery trilogy. He lives Flossmoor, Illinois.

Colorblind is a mystery novel that looks at the city of New Orleans through the eyes of a seasoned tourist and explores music both as a means of salvation and a road to obsession. An impulsive act of theft coincides with an inexplicable death in the suburbs of Chicago. A long drive south to Louisiana follows the trail of an obscure folk singer that had drowned years ago in trusted waters. Before all the connections between the two deaths can be revealed, a series of hunches will lead Tom to dark and depressing truths about the nature of fandom and the fallibility of instincts. In the hunt for answers, Tom rediscovers his own love of music, his suppressed vulnerability, and the realization that this time around not all his hunches are good ones. Colorblind is the final book in Peter Robertson’s trilogy, following Permafrost (set in northern Michigan) and Mission (set in Boulder, Colorado).

Courtney Yasmineh is a rock musician and singer-songwriter with seven albums and thousands of road miles to her credit. A Girl Called Sidney is her first novel. She lives in Minneapolis.

Set in the late ’70s, A Girl Called Sidney: The Coldest Place by Courtney Yasmineh is a searing, nerve-rattling story of a mature 17-year-old whose family disintegrates in spectacular fashion in affluent suburban Chicago. After first spiriting her mother away and then running away herself to the family’s remote Northwoods cabin in Minnesota, Sidney challenges herself to survive alone and find her voice over the course of a brutal winter. The narrative takes the reader on a dark and moody ride back and forth in both time and place, between Chicago and a tiny rural town. With appeal to readers of the recent rash of women rocker bios – and contemporary fiction of the heartland – the story looks with a fresh perspective back to a distinct time and the experiences of a young woman that will resonate with many adults. “Courtney Yasmineh’s debut novel is a gritty coming-of-age story” for “readers who enjoy raw, gut-wrenching prose and intense tales of rebels.”-Booklist

Event date: 
Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 6:30pm
Event address: 
City Lit Books
2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60647