Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

University Newsroom


Nick Mariano

Classic Book about Chicago Neighborhoods by Loyola Alumnus Stuart Dybek Selected for One Book, One Chicago

CHICAGO, March 9, 2004 The Coast of Chicago, a 1990 classic written by acclaimed author and Loyola University Chicago alumnus Stuart Dybek (CAS ’64), was picked as the sixth selection of the award-winning citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago, Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey announced today.

Dybek joined Daley and Dempsey at a press conference to announce the selection at the Popular Library of the Harold Washington Library Center.

“I can’t imagine anything more gratifying for a writer than to have his book selected to be read in the schools and libraries of his hometown,” Dybek said. “The Coast of Chicago is, in part, a love letter to the city in which I was born and raised, and having it chosen for One Book, One Chicago makes it possible for that letter to be delivered to a wonderfully diverse audience.”

The Coast of Chicago, first published in 1990, is a collection of poignant stories told in masterful prose about the coming of age in the city’s ethnic neighborhoods during the 1950s and 60s, including amazing tales of fictional characters based upon Dybek’s youth in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods. The San Francisco Chronicle called the book “tender and unforgiving & No matter where you grew up.”

Dybek is also the author of I Sailed with Magellan, Childhood and other Neighborhoods, and a collection of poetry, Brass Knuckles. His poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s and Ploughshares. He has received the 1998 Lannan Award, the 1995 PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize, the Academy Institute Award in Fiction from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994, four O. Henry prizes, and the Whiting Writers Award in 1984. Dybek teaches creative writing at Western Michigan University and is a permanent member of the faculty of the Prague Summer Writers Workshop.

“The stories contain very realistic descriptions of the city and its neighborhoods, and the characters are true to life,” Daley said. “Some of us will recognize people we grew up with a number of years ago. But the characters get involved in strange and unusual situations that, I think, will result in some very interesting discussions when Chicagoans get together to share their reactions to these stories.”

By being selected for the book club program, The Coast of Chicago will be the subject of a series of discussions, events and lectures during National Library Week, April 18-24. Discussions will take place at libraries, museums, bookstores and selected Starbucks locations across the city. Dybek will speak at Loyola on Thursday, March 25, at 5 p.m. in the Simpson Living-Learning Center of the Lake Shore Campus, 6525 N. Sheridan Road.

Other special events include:

-A staged reading from the stories by Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble members Kevin Anderson and John Mahoney at the Harold Washington Library Center on Monday, April 19.

-A public program and book signing by Dybek on Wednesday, April 21, also at the Harold Washington Library Center.

-A panel discussion on Chicago neighborhoods at DePaul University on Monday, April 26

-A guided tour of Little Village/Pilsen, the neighborhood where many of the stories in the book take place, on Saturday, April 24.

Previous One Book, One Chicago selections include To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Night by Elie Wiesel, My Ántonia by Willa Cather, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. The program, now in its second year, has helped to launch similar programs in 150 other cities, Dempsey said.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors recognized One Book, One Chicago with a City Livability Award in 2003 as an example of a civic program that improves the lives of citizens. The book was selected by Chicago Public Library librarians and the One Book, One Chicago Advisory Committee with input from the public.

“Through Mr. Dybek’s writing, you can see the vitality and the pulse of Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Dempsey said. “We are proud to showcase a native talent, a writer who is one of America’s most important short-story realists.”
About Loyola University Chicago

Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is among the largest of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,000 students, which includes 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s nine schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 69 undergraduate majors, 77 master’s degrees, 36 doctoral degrees, and three professional degree programs. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities” in its annual publications. For more information, please visit our web site at www.luc.edu.




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