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All the 2018 Books by Chicago Writers

All the 2018 Books by Chicago Writers

I thought 2017 was a landmark year for Chicago writers (and it was), but holy crap, 2018 is a behemoth. It’s got everything: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Science fiction and fantasy, YA, and historical novels. Reportage, essays, and anthologies. Women and writers of color. Plucky debuts and returning giants.

Here’s an exhaustive list of 65 books by Chicago-based authors that will hit shelves in 2018. Note: As of this writing, Edelweiss is only reliable for releases through August or so. I’ll keep updating this list as books are added to the publication schedule.



Black Star Renegades
By Michael Moreci
St. Martin’s Press, January 2

“In the tradition of Star Wars, a galaxy-hopping space adventure about a galactic kingdom bent on control and the young misfit who must find the power within before it’s too late. Blending the space operatics of Star Wars and the swagger of Guardians of the Galaxy, Black Star Renegades is a galaxy-hopping adventure that blasts its way from seedy spacer bars to sacred temples guarded by deadly creatures―all with a cast of misfit characters who have nowhere to go and nothing to lose.”


A Few Red Drops:
The Chicago Race Riot of 1919
By Claire Hartfield
Clarion Books, January 2

“A compelling look at the Chicago race riot of 1919, a crisis in the history of race relations that is echoed in today’s headlines. On a hot day in July 1919, five black youths went swimming in Lake Michigan, unintentionally floating close to the “white” beach. An angry white man began throwing stones at the boys, striking and killing one. Racial conflict on the beach erupted into days of urban violence that shook the city of Chicago to its foundations. This mesmerizing narrative draws on contemporary accounts as it traces the roots of the explosion that had been building for decades in race relations, politics, business, and clashes of culture.”


Brilliant Flame!
Amiri Baraka: Poems, Plays, Politics for the People
Edited by Haki R. Madhubuti,‎ Michael Simanga,‎ Sonia Sanchez, and Woodie King, Jr.
Third World Press, January 15

“An intergenerational collection of writing from poets, dramatists, musicians, educators, historians and cultural workers and theorists examining the work and influence of Amiri Baraka. While this book provides its contributors a forum in which to examine his poetic and artistic aesthetics, Brilliant Flame! will more importantly bring to the forefront Baraka’s reach as political activist, historian and cultural visionary.”


Love, Hate and Other Filters
By Samira Ahmed
Soho Teen, January 16

“In this unforgettable debut novel, an Indian-American Muslim teen copes with Islamophobia, cultural divides among peers and parents, and a reality she can neither explain nor escape.”


How to Break a Boy
By Laurie Devore
Imprint, January 31

“What makes a mean girl mean? Find out in this compelling and compulsively readable debut novel filled with revenge and romance in a small southern town. No matter how hard she tries to be good, Olivia just can’t help being bad. Her choices unleash a tidal wave of drama that affects those closest to her, forcing her to question if she is any better than her sworn frenemy.”


Where the Millennials Will Take Us:
A New Generation Wrestles with the Gender Structure
By Barbara J. Risman
Oxford University Press, January 30

“Based on over 100 life history interviews with Millenials — including the experiences of transgender and gender queer youth — Risman calls for a fourth wave of feminism to eradicate gender inequality and the gender structure itself.”



By Sue Burke
Tor Books, February 6

“A sweeping SF epic of first contact that spans generations of humans struggling to survive on an alien world Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches…and waits.”


By Will Boast
Liveright, February 6

“In mesmerizing prose, best-selling and Rome Prize–winning author Will Boast reimagines the myth of Daphne and Apollo in this much-anticipated debut novel.”


By David Mamet
Custom House, February 7

“A big shouldered, big trouble thriller set in mobbed up 1920s Chicago—a city where some people knew too much, and where everyone should have known better—by the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Untouchables and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross.”


Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing
By Ben Austen
Harper, February 13

“Joining the ranks of Evicted, The Warmth of Other Sons, and classic works of literary non-fiction by Alex Kotlowitz and J. Anthony Lukas, High-Risers braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project.”


The Woman in the Water
By Charles Finch
Minotaur Books, February 20

“This chilling new mystery in the USA Today bestselling series by Charles Finch takes readers back to Charles Lenox’s very first case and the ruthless serial killer who would set him on the course to become one of London’s most brilliant detectives.”


The Undressing: Poems
By Li-Young Lee
WW Norton, February 20

“Celebrated poet Li-Young Lee returns with a breathtaking new volume about the violence of desire and the peace of love. The Undressing is a tonic for spiritual anemia; it attempts to uncover things hidden since the dawn of the world. Short of achieving that end, these mysterious, unassuming poems investigate the human violence and dispossession increasingly prevalent around the world, as well as the horrors the poet grew up with as a child of refugees.”



By Jesse Ball
Ecco, March 6

“A powerful and moving new novel from an award-winning, acclaimed author: in the wake of a devastating revelation, a father and son journey north across a tapestry of towns. When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn’t have long left to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son—a son whom he fiercely loves, a boy with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son.”


The House of Broken Angels
By Luis Alberto Urrea
Little, Brown and Company, March 6

“The story of the de La Cruzes is the quintessential American story. This indelible portrait of a complex family reminds us of what it means to be the first generation and to live two lives across one border. It takes us into a world we have not known, while reflecting back the hopes and dreams of our own families. Teeming with brilliance and humor, authentic at every turn, The House of Broken Angels is Luis Alberto Urrea at his best, and cements his reputation as a storyteller of the first rank.


House of McQueen: Poems
By Valerie Wallace
Four Way Book, March 6

“Inhabiting the life and work of Alexander McQueen, Wallace builds a fantastical world using both original language and excerpts drawn from interviews, supermodels, Shakespeare, and more. At turns fierce and vulnerable, here is a collection that leaps from runway to fairytale to street with wild, brilliant grace.”


Hot Mess
By Emily Belden
Graydon House, March 20

“With razor-sharp wit and searing insight, Emily Belden serves up a deliciously dishy look behind the kitchen doors of a hot foodie town, perfect for fans of Sweetbitter and The Devil Wears Prada.”


Bizarre Romance
By Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell
Abrams, March 20

“Internationally bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, and graphic artist Eddie Campbell, of such seminal works as From Hell by Alan Moore, collaborate on a wonderfully bizarre collection that celebrates and satirizes love of all kinds. With 16 different stories told through illustrated prose or comic panels, the couple explores the idiosyncratic nature of relationships in a variety of genres from fractured fairy tales to historical fiction to paper dolls. With Niffenegger’s sharp, imaginative prose and Campbell’s diverse comic styles, Bizarre Romance is the debut collection by two of the most important storytellers of our time.”


Out of the Wild Night
By Blue Balliett
Scholastic Press, March 27

Out of the Wild Night is master storyteller Blue Balliett at her spooky best, a spellbinding tale about the haunted residents of a very special place.”


Starfish: Poems
By Sara Goodman
The Lettered Streets Press, March TBA

Sara Goodman is a new media artist, poet, curator, VJ, and teacher working with new and old tech, forming lifelong friendships and collaborations based off of art-as- way-of-life life practice. She is drawn to pastoral landscapes, abstraction, meaning through repetition, science fiction, obscure subcultures, and broken technologies. Sara received her MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago and teaches creative writing and new media classes in the Chicagoland area.



The Window
By Amelia Brunskill
Delacorte Press, April 3

“If you love The Third Twin and One of Us Is Lying and binge-watched Thirteen Reasons Why, get ready for a heart-wrenching psychological thriller about a girl who knows her twin sister better than anyone . . . or does she? Taut and atmospheric, The Window will keep you guessing until the end.”


BGM-galley cover_1

The BreakBeat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic
Edited by Mahogany L. Browne, Idrissa Simmonds, and Jamila Woods
Haymarket Books, April 3

“A BreakBeat Poets anthology, Black Girl Magic celebrates and canonizes the words of Black women across the diaspora.”


Slight Exaggeration: An Essay
By Adam Zagajewski
FSG, April 3

“For Adam Zagajewski―one of Poland’s great poets―the project of writing, whether it be poetry or prose, is an occasion to advance what David Wojahn has characterized as his “restless and quizzical quest for self-knowledge.” Slight Exaggeration is an autobiographical portrait of the poet, arranged not chronologically but with that same luminous quality that distinguishes Zagajewski’s spellbinding poetry―an affinity for the invisible.”


Essays on the Writing Life

By Jenny Boully
Coffee House Press, April 3

“Jenny Boully’s essays are ripe with romance and sensual pleasures, drawing connections between the digression, reflection, imagination, and experience that characterizes falling in love as well as the life of a writer. Literary theory, philosophy, and linguistics rub up against memory, dreamscapes, and fancy, making the practice of writing a metaphor for the illusory nature of experience. Betwixt and Between is, in many ways, simply a book about how to live.”


Beyond Measure: Essays
By Rachel Z. Arndt
Sarabande Books, April 10

Beyond Measure is a fascinating exploration of the rituals, routines, metrics and expectations through which we attempt to quantify and ascribe value to our lives. With mordant humor and penetrating intellect, Arndt casts her gaze beyond event-driven narratives to the machinery underlying them: judo competitions measured in weigh-ins and wait times; the significance of the elliptical’s stationary churn; the rote scripts of dating apps; the stupefying sameness of the daily commute.”


The Fates Divide
By Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, April 10

“In the second book of the Carve the Mark duology, globally bestselling Divergent author Veronica Roth reveals how Cyra and Akos fulfill their fates. The Fates Divide is a richly imagined tale of hope and resilience told in four stunning perspectives.”


Family & Other Catastrophes
By Alexandra Borowitz
MIRA, April 10

“A hilarious debut novel that follows a dysfunctional family in the week leading up to the youngest daughter’s wedding.”


The Comedown
By Rebekah Frumkin
Henry Holt, April 17

“A dazzling epic that follows two very different families in Cleveland across generations, beginning with their patriarchs, who become irrevocably intertwined one fateful night.”


The War on Neighborhoods:
Policing, Prison, and Punishment in a Divided City
By Ryan Lugalia-Hollon and Daniel Cooper
Beacon Press, April 17

“A narrative-driven exploration of policing and the punishment of disadvantage in Chicago, and a new vision for repairing urban neighborhoods in our carceral state.”

The Listening Room:
A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte
By Kathleen Rooney
Spork Press, April 23

“When Loulou peers into the full-length mirror on the closet in the hall – the only one he can reach because of his smallness – he sees his sleek Pomeranian face reversed, but he sees his face. This portrait of the master’s friend Edward James shows the back of the man’s head twice and a book by Poe. Les aventures d’Arthur Gordon Pym reflects correctly, but James’ eyes, nose, mouth, etc. are not reproduced. Poe himself called the novel – his only one – “a very silly book.” Loulou has to agree, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. An important pre-condition of creativity is a feeling of weirdness.”



I Really Didn’t Think This Through:
Tales from My So-Called Adult Life
By Beth Evans
William Morrow, May 1

“Armed with her beloved illustrations, popular Instagram artist Beth Evans (197,000 followers) tackles a range of issues—from whimsical musings to deeply personal struggles—in this imaginative anti-guide to being your own person.”


All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed:
A Story of Hoops and Handguns on Chicago’s West Side
By Rus Bradburd
Chicago Review Press, May 1

All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed is a true story of courage, endurance and friendship in one of America’s most violent neighborhoods. Author Rus Bradburd, who has an intimate forty-year relationship to Chicago basketball, tells Shawn’s story with empathy and care, exploring the intertwined tragedies of gun violence, health care failure, racial assumptions, union apathy and corruption in big-time basketball—and the hope that can survive them all.”


What Should Be Wild
By Julia Fine
Harper, May 8

“In this darkly funny, literary debut, a highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for centuries—an utterly original novel told with all the mesmerizing power of The Tiger’s Wife, The Snow Child, and Swamplandia!


Questions I Want to Ask You
By Michelle Falkoff
HarperTeen, May 9

“A mystery about family, secrets, and how to move forward when the past keeps pulling you back, perfect for fans of David Arnold and Jeff Zentner.”


Four-Letter Word
By Christa Desir
Simon Pulse, May 15

“Eight friends. One game. A dozen regrets. And a night that will ruin them all, in this high stakes gripping story of manipulation and innocence lost, from the author of Bleed Like Me.”


Beasts at Bedtime: Revealing the Environmental Wisdom in Children’s Literature
By Liam Heneghan
University of Chicago Press, May 15

Beasts at Bedtime is an awakening to the vital environmental education children’s stories can provide—the earliest board books like The Rainbow Fish to contemporary young adult classics like The Hunger Games. Heneghan serves as our guide, drawing richly upon his own adolescent and parental experiences, as well as his travels in landscapes both experienced and imagined.”


The End of Chiraq:
A Literary Mixtape
Edited By Javon Johnson and Kevin Coval
Northwestern University Press, May 15

“A collection of poems, rap lyrics, short stories, essays, interviews, and artwork about Chicago, the city that came to be known as ‘Chiraq’ (‘Chicago + Iraq), and the people who live in its vibrant and occasionally violent neighborhoods. Tuned to the work of Chicago’s youth, especially the emerging artists and activists surrounding Young Chicago Authors, this literary mixtape unpacks the meanings of ‘Chiraq’ as both a vexed term and a space of possibility.”


By Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, May 19

“The authors of the New York Times bestselling Nightfall weave an upper-middle grade thriller based on a new fantasy-world conceit: a world with edges…and an abyss below.”


By Nick Drnaso
Drawn and Quarterly, May 22

“The follow-up to Nick Drnaso’s Beverly, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships are stripped of intimacy through glowing computer screens. Presenting an indictment of our modern state, Drnaso contemplates the dangers of a fake-news climate. Timely and articulate, Sabrina leaves you gutted, searching for meaning in the aftermath of disaster.”



Long Players:
A Love Story in Eighteen Songs
By Peter Coviello
Penguin Books, June 5

“A story of heartbreak, (ex)stepparenthood, and the limitless grace of pop songs. A memoir about our many interwoven ways of falling in love: with books, bands and records, with friends and lovers, and with the families we make.”


Mr. & Mrs. American Pie
By Juliet McDaniel
Inkshares, June 12

“In the vein of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, this whip-smart romantic comedy is as incisive as it is funny—and refuses to be thwarted by convention. After getting dumped by her husband, a woman sets out to prove her worth by entering a ‘best housewife’ pageant in 1970 Palm Springs.”


The Great Believers
By Rebecca Makkai
Viking, June 19

“A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, by the acclaimed and award-winning author Rebecca Makkai.”


Stranger on Earth: Poems
By Richard Jones
Copper Canyon Press, June 19

See Also

“In Stranger on Earth, distinguished poet, critic, and editor Richard Jones summonses Proustian detail as he reflects on his childhood, past adventure, married life, and first love. Jones writes with great serenity of soul as he constructs a false autobiography: highlighting travels to London and Paris; the separation, contemplation and reunion with his wife in the Italian countryside; morning tea with his daughter and running with his sons; flights with a pioneering aviator father and conversations with a deaf mother.”


The Throwaway
By Michael Moreci
Forge Books, June 19

“This thriller tells the story of a man who is framed as a spy and sent to Russia, where he must escape, clear his name, and save the world.”


Many Love:
A Memoir of Polyamory and Finding Love(s)
By Sophie Lucido Johnson
Touchstone, June 26

“In this bold, illustrated memoir, a young woman shares both a personal and sociological take on modern, ‘unconventional’ love, exploring her own transformation from serial monogamist to proud polyamorist.”



The Calculating Stars:
A Lady Astronaut Novel
By Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor Books, July 3

“Mary Robinette Kowal’s science fiction debut explores the premise behind her award-winning ‘Lady Astronaut of Mars.’ A meteor decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for a climate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s efforts to colonize space, as well as an unprecedented opportunity for a much larger share of humanity to take part.”


The Monarchy of Fear:
A Philosopher Looks at Our Political Crisis
By Martha C. Nussbaum
Simon & Schuster, July 3

“From one of the world’s most celebrated moral philosophers comes a thorough examination of the current political crisis and recommendations for how to mend our divided country.”


The Leopold and Loeb Files:
An Intimate Look at One of America’s Most Infamous Crimes
By Nina Barrett
Agate Midway, July 10

“In The Leopold and Loeb Files, author Nina Barrett returns to the primary sources of the case, an extraordinary trove of original materials that, until now, have not been part of the murder’s central narrative. This first-of-its-kind approach allows readers to view the case through a keyhole and look past all of the stories that have been spun in the last 90 years to focus on the heart of the crime.”



My Midnight Years:
Surviving Jon Burge’s Police Torture Ring and Death Row
By Ronald Kitchen and Thai Jones
Chicago Review Press, August 1

“Ronald Kitchen was 21, on his way to buy milk for his four-year-old, when he was picked up by the Chicago police, brutally tortured, and coerced to confess to five counts of heinous murder. He spent 22 years in prison, 13 of those on death row, labeled as a monster. Kitchen was only one of the many victims of Jon Burge and his notorious midnight crew that terrorized and incarcerated black men—118 have come forward so far—on the South Side of Chicago for nearly two decades.”


If They Come for Us: Poems
By Fatimah Asghar
One World (Random House), June 26

“Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls captures the experience of being a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.”


Certain American States: Stories
By Catherine Lacey
FSG, August 7

“The winner of a Whiting Award, Catherine Lacey brings her narrative mastery to Certain American States, her first collection of short stories. As with her acclaimed novels Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers, she gives life to a group of subtly complex, instantly memorable characters whose searches for love, struggles with grief, and tentative journeys into the minutiae of the human condition are simultaneously gripping and devastating.”

Under a Dark Sky

By Lori Rader-Day
William Morrow, August 7

“From the critically-acclaimed author of The Day I Died comes a terrifying twist on a locked-room mystery that will keep readers guessing until the last page.”


If You Leave Me
By Crystal Hana Kim
William Morrow, August 7

“An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that continues to haunt us today.”


By Ling Ma
FSG, August 14

“An offbeat office novel turns apocalyptic satire as a young woman transforms from orphan to worker bee to survivor.”


My Favorite Thing Is Monsters: Vol. 2
By Emil Ferris
Fantagraphics, August 14

“In the conclusion of this two-part graphic novel, set in 1960s Chicago, dark mysteries past and present abound, and 10-year-old Karen tries to solve them.”


Small Animals:
Parenthood in the Age of Fear
By Kim Brooks
Flatiron Books, August 21

“A compelling blend of memoir, reporting, and criticism about parenthood and fear—based on a viral essay by an author whose work has been called ‘striking’ (NYTBR) and ‘beautiful’ (NBCC).”


Behind the Glass Wall:
Inside the United Nations
By Aleksandar Hemon
MCD Books, August 21

“An unprecedented glimpse into the strange and remarkable inner workings of the United Nations.”


The Fated Sky:
A Lady Astronaut Novel
By Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor Books, August 21

“Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.”


Bone on Bone
By Julia Keller
Minotaur Books, August 21

“In the next powerful mystery from Julia Keller, West Virginia prosecuting attorney Bell Elkins continues to unravel her town’s ties to crime and drug abuse.”

The Wildlands
By Abby Geni
Counterpoint Press, September 4

“The Wildlands is another remarkable literary thriller from critically acclaimed writer Abby Geni, one that examines what happens when one family becomes trapped in the tenuous space between wild and tame, human and animal.”

Hardly Children: Stories
By Laura Adamczyk
FSG, Fall 2018

“Acid and off-kilter, and with shades of Amelia Gray and Jen George, the stories in this collection introduce a bold new literary voice. In this work, erasures and absences grow heavy: dead or missing parents, estranged sisters, unrequited love, the blackening of a girl’s memory. Alongside the levity and humor the characters insist upon, death and the possibility of loss always emerge. And while permanent damage threatens these characters, its final shape is never fully revealed, like an uncomfortable scene viewed out of the corner of one’s eye.”

Ghosts in the Schoolyard:
Race, History and Discourse Amid Chicago’s School Closures
By Eve Ewing
University of Chicago Press, October 2018

“When the Bell Stops Ringing tells the story of [Chicago’s 2013] school closings, from their unfolding to their aftermath, in Bronzeville, a historically significant African-American community on the South Side of Chicago. The book details the resistance efforts of the residents of Bronzeville, inspired by the legacy of a storied past and driven to fight back against the malfeasance and disregard of city political leaders. But at its core, this is a book about what schools really mean to Americans and to African-Americans in particular, beyond the brick and mortar that compose them or the test scores and graduation rates that garner the most public attention. The book tells a story of love and loss, and the ongoing struggle of black people in America toward thriving livelihoods and self-determination.”

Perhaps the Stars
(Terra Ignota #4)
By Ada Palmer
Tor Books, TBA 2018

“The long years of near-utopia have come to an abrupt end. Peace and order are now figments of the past. Corruption, deception, and insurgency hum within the once steadfast leadership of the Hives, nations without fixed location. The heartbreaking truth is that for decades, even centuries, the leaders of the great Hives bought the world’s stability with a trickle of secret murders, mathematically planned. So that no faction could ever dominate. So that the balance held. Now everyone — Hives and hiveless, Utopians and sensayers, emperors and the downtrodden, warriors and saints — scrambles to prepare for the seemingly inevitable war.”

BattleofLincoln-2_540x (1)

The Battle of Lincoln Park:
Urban Renewal and Gentrification in Chicago
By Daniel Kay Hertz
Belt Publishing, October 2018

“This will be the first book to critically examine the history of Old Town as the beginning of a process that fundamentally transformed what kind of city Chicago is. It tells the stories of those who first began “upgrading” homes in Old Town, why they moved there, how they used both private activism and leveraged public policy to remake the neighborhood to their own tastes; and how both these newcomers and older residents struggled against competing forces to preserve what they valued in Old Town—and why so many of them felt that they lost.”

Getting Dressed cover 2018

Getting Dressed: Poems
By Amy Lipman
Spuyten Duyvil, TBA 2018

Getting Dressed (poems and prose devoted to minutiae, detritus, and memory) is Amy Lipman’s debut collection, published by Spuyten Duyvil.

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