Join us at City Lit Books for a reading by Mary Wisniewski, author of Algren: A Life.
In this first biography of Chicago writer Nelson Algren in over 25 years, Chicago Tribune journalist Mary Wisniewski interviewed Algren's friends and inner circle and tracked down unpublished writing and correspondence. She unearths new details about the writer's life, work and personality, revealing a funny, sensitive, romantic but sometimes exasperating and self-destructive artist. Starting with his childhood in Chicago, the book sheds new light on the writer's most crucial experiences, from his work for the WPA to his stint as a reluctant soldier in World War II, to his long-distance affair with his most famous lover, French feminist Simone de Beauvoir. Algren also makes a compelling case for why Algren's stories and novels should be required reading on American college campuses.
“Mary Wisniewski has written a captivating biography of Nelson Algren, rife with the soul, passion, and grit that made Chicago a ‘city on the make’ and Algren its greatest poet. For those who have loved the town and the writer who made it his ‘trade,’ here, at last, is the book you've waited for.” —Warren Leming, cofounder, Nelson Algren Committee of Chicago
"Algren is a welcome addition to the literature on Nelson Algren's life and work. In fact the strength of Algren is the way that Wisniewski integrates Algren's working life with his personal life. This thankfully is not yet another biography of a writer that ignores the writing." —Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago
Mary Wisniewski is a columnist at the Chicago Tribune and a former Reuters reporter covering Midwest crime and politics. Previously a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and a reporter for Chicago Lawyer, Wisniewski has won numerous awards for reporting and has taught creative writing and published literary reviews. She is a participant in the Nelson Algren Committee, past president of the Chicago Headline Club and appears frequently on local television and radio.