M. Sylvia Castle has been fascinated with material culture since her first job at an antique store. While training as a doll surgeon, she used her time there learn everything she could about all the things in the shop-from jewelry to furniture.
She is employed at Abraham Lincoln Book Shop. The second-oldest book shop in Chicago, she has been called “the glue that holds the place together.” Among her other vocations are publishing, window dressing, textile librarian, photographer, caterer and costume mistress. She recently spoke about Carl Sandburg at Chicago’s Cliff Dweller’s club.
Additionally, she has a long-standing interest in all types of the arts. She loves decorative arts especially, architecture and fashion history, too. A lover of all things Chicago, she is currently obsessed with modernism. She is also a KonMari devotee.
Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Twelve novels and twenty short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first.
She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony, three times for Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne, and has won the Lovey multiple times.
In 2005 Libby was the national president of Sisters In Crime, a 3500 member organization dedicated to the advancement of female crime fiction authors. She also hosts a monthly radio show called “Second Sunday Crime” on the Authors on the Air internet network. More at http://libbyhellmann.com
Sonali Dev, Award winning author, writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after.
Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post and Kirkus Best Books lists. She won the American Library Association’s award for best romance in 2014, is a RITA Finalist, RT Reviewer Choice Award Nominee, and winner of the RT Seal of Excellence.
Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog. Find out more at sonalidev.com.
Paul Berlanga is a lifelong Chicagoan.
During the early to mid-1970s, at the University of Illinois he studied with artists who were alumni from the famed Institute of Design, Chicago, including Eugene Dana and Morris Barazani. He afterward worked in advertising firms, and at a north side armored car company. The four decades following have been devoted to careers in used and rare books and the art gallery business, working wherever possible with an emphasis on the writers and artists of Chicago.
Today Berlanga operates privately as an art dealer and advisor and also is sales manager of the LH Selman Gallery of Art Glass in Chicago’s unique Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue. He has most recently contributed an introduction to Bruce Morton’s, Forgottonia-The Audience, a book of photographs (part two of a trilogy) documenting the lives and shifting destinies of farming communities in a 16-county area of western Illinois.
Renée Rosen is the bestselling author of What the Lady Wants, Dollface and White Collar Girl as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her newest novel Windy City Blues, about Chess Records, the birth of the Blues and the Civil Rights Movement will be published in February 2017.
Renée has contributed to many magazines and newspapers, including Chicago Magazine, The Chicago Tribune and Publisher’s Weekly. She lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new book which will be published by Penguin Random House in the Spring of 2018. Visit her at www.reneerosen.com.
Bjorn Skaptason holds a M.A. in history from Loyola University Chicago.
He has published essays on Ambrose Bierce at Shiloh for the Ambrose Bierce Project Journal, on the United States Colored Troops in the campaign and battle of Brice’s Crossroads for the West Tennessee Historical Society Papers, and in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society on The Chicago Light Artillery.
A dealer in antiquarian books, Bjorn produces and guest hosts A House Divided for Author’s Voice®, a live book discussion program streamed from Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc. in Chicago.
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library System, and the former Youth Materials Specialist of New York Public Library.
She is a prolific blogger of all things children’s literature related on her blog site, A Fuse #8 Production, hosted by School Library Journal. Betsy reviews for Kirkus and occasionally the New York Times, served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and is currently serving on the 2016 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committee.
Betsy is also the author of Children’s Literary Gems: Choosing and Using Them in Your Library Career, the picture book Giant Dance Party, illustrated by Brandon Dorman, and the co-author of the very adult book Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, which she co-wrote with fellow bloggers Jules Danielson and Peter Sieruta. You can find more information about Betsy at her website www.betsybirdbooks.com.
Daniel R. Weinberg, is president of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Inc. The shop has an international reputation as experts in the buying, selling, appraisal and authentication of historical, literary, artistic, and museum properties etc., since 1938. He is also the founder of Virtual Book Signing and Author’s Voice®; interactive platforms designed to bring the experience of a book signing to any device in any place across the world.
Daniel is co-author of Lincoln’s Assassins: Their Trial and Execution and he has lectured extensively on the subject. He has appeared on both C-Span and the History Channel.