Thank you to everyone who joined us for this year's One Book, Everyone Reads community reading series! If you missed the author event with Dawn Turner, please view the video below. We also encourage you to read the book, or keep your journey going with our list of suggested further reading.
Meet the Author: Dawn Turner in Conversation with Alex Kotlowitz
Wednesday, May 11, 7–8pm, Virtual
Join us as we welcome author Dawn Turner to the library for our One Book, Everyone Reads signature event. She will be discussing this year's One Book selection, her moving memoir Three Girls from Bronzeville, with journalist and best-selling author Alex Kotlowitz. A Q & A will follow the conversation, and members of the Zoom audience will be invited to submit written questions during the program.
About the Book
They were three Black girls. Dawn, tall and studious; her sister, Kim, younger by three years and headstrong as they come; and her best friend, Debra, already prom-queen pretty by third grade. They bonded—fervently and intensely in that unique way of little girls—as they roamed the concrete landscape of Bronzeville, a historic neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, the destination of hundreds of thousands of Black folks who fled the ravages of the Jim Crow South.
These third-generation daughters of the Great Migration come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise, albeit nascent and fragile, that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. Their working-class, striving parents are eager for them to realize this hard-fought potential. For a brief, wondrous moment the girls are all giggles and dreams and promises of “friends forever.” And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why?
In the vein of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, Three Girls from Bronzeville is a piercing memoir that chronicles Dawn’s attempt to find answers. It’s at once a celebration of sisterhood and friendship, a testimony to the unique struggles of Black women, and a tour-de-force about the complex interplay of race, class, and opportunity, and how those forces shape our lives and our capacity for resilience and redemption. (From the publisher)
About the Author
Dawn Turner is an award-winning journalist and novelist. A former columnist and reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Turner spent a decade and a half writing about race, politics, and people whose stories are often dismissed and ignored. Turner, who served as a 2017 and 2018 juror for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary, has written commentary for The Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, CBS Sunday Morning News show, NPR’s Morning Edition show, the Chicago Tonight show, and elsewhere. She has covered national presidential conventions, as well as Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential election and inauguration. Turner has been a regular commentator for several national and international news programs, and has reported from around the world in countries such as Australia, China, France, and Ghana. She spent the 2014–2015 school year as a Nieman Journalism fellow at Harvard University. In 2018, she served as a fellow and journalist-in-residence at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. Turner is the author of two novels, Only Twice I’ve Wished for Heaven and An Eighth of August. In 2018, she established the Dawn M. Turner and Kim D. Turner Endowed Scholarship in Media at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
For forty years, Alex Kotlowitz has been telling stories from the heart of America, deeply intimate tales of struggle and perseverance. His is the author of four books, including his most recent An American Summer which received the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize. His other books include The Other Side of the River which received The Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Book Prize for Nonfiction -- as well as the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, which the NY Public Library selected as one of the 150 most important books of the twentieth century. Alex’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life. He's been honored in all three mediums, including an Emmy, two Peabodys, two Columbia duPonts, the George Polk Award and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award. He’s also the recipient of the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as the Harold Washington Literary Award. Alex is a professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Maria Woltjen.
One Book, Everyone Reads is funded by the Friends of the Wilmette Public Library.
To help support this program, donate to the Friends and shop our bookstore, Books Down Under, on the lower level of the library.