2022 in Review: A Lit Retrospective

What was 2022 like in the world of Chicago, Illinois, and Midwest letters? I’ve asked the Lit section writers to share their favorite reviews and stories of the past year.

Newly minted TCR writer Adam Kaz submitted a review of the latest Amy Winehouse biography, Tyler James’ My Amy: The Life We Shared, as well as a interview with Chicago’s first cultural historian, the ever-gregarious and eternally fascinating Tim Samuelson.

June Sawyers picks her review of Dave Hoekstra’s paean to small-town newspapers Beacons in the Darkness: Hope and Transformation among America’s Community Newspapers as well as her essay about her career as an indexer.

Patrick T. Reardon tells us he enjoyed much of what he wrote, but has an special fondness for his review of David Scott Fay’s The Fountain and the Chicago poetry anthology Wherever I’m At. Also high on his list, his essay about walking through Chicago’s Graceland Cemetery, with and without Adam Selzer’s new guide.

TCR publisher and Stages editor Nancy Bishop shares her thoughts on two of her favorite reviews:

The new biography of Emily Mann, theater director and playwright, by Alexis Greene. It’s a rich, detailed biography with fascinating insights into the artist and how she approached her work on “theater of testimony.”

Also, the Paul Natkin photography book was a treat to review. Gorgeous photos of some of my favorite musicians and many more. Brief commentaries on most of the images by Natkin himself. Also, Dave Hoekstra puts in another TCR appearance with an intro to the book!

Finally, as Lit editor, 2022 was a year of horrors (both fictional and nonfictional) for me, as well as fun and games. Our annual round-up of Midwest horror writers will add a few more chills to your winter. As a Highland Park resident and parade attendee, it was nice to see someone trying to find the good in a day of tragedy the way Maggie Schmieder did with Hopeful Hearts in Highland Park. Elsewhere, Jeffrey Breslow was the man with all the toys, talking about his 30 years as a game-maker. Also, I managed to talk about the good in Chicago architecture, as well as the bad and the ugly.

Thanks for reading! Here’s to another year exploring our city’s lit scene and beyond.

Dan Kelly
Dan Kelly

Dan Kelly has been a writer and editor for 30 years, contributing work to the Chicago Reader, Chicago Journal, The Baffler, Harvard Magazine, The University of Chicago Magazine, and others.

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