Join us for a new edition of Novel Affair
September 26 & 27
Groundbreaking Visual Artists
Sherman Alexie’s reputation as a preeminent Native American poet, novelist, and filmmaker is firmly established. From The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993) to the 2010 PEN/Faulkner Award winner War Dances to his latest collection of short stories, Blasphemy, Alexie’s work has been lauded as “emotionally spring-loaded, linguistically gymnastic, and devastatingly funny.”
Location: Ragdale House and Cabin, Lake Forest – Ragdale’s distinctive charm can be seen in the originality of Howard Van Doren Shaw’s 1897 design—the English Arts and Crafts vocabulary, heart motif on shutters and benches, William Morris wallpaper—but the magic of Ragdale that serves as muse to artists can only be experienced. Here’s your chance. The magic of Ragdale extends to your cocktail venue, the prairie-side Lincoln cabin, with its illustrious artistic provenance as the 1930s sculpture studio for Sylvia Shaw Judson.
With the New York Times bestselling Girl in Translation, readers were introduced to an exciting new Chinese-American voice in Jean Kwok, whose semiautobiographical story tells of a girl’s double life in an exclusive private school and a Chinatown sweatshop. Kwok again draws on her personal experience—as a professional ballroom dancer—to dramatize cultural conflict in her most recent book, Mambo in Chinatown.
Location: Private Home, Lake Bluff – Esteemed architect Stanley Anderson designed this gracious country Georgian in 1939, but it is enhanced by exotic elements from earlier eras: a staircase with Chinoiserie ornament, a collection of Italian Old Master drawings, and classical Grecian figures on a muraled pool house wall.
JUDY LEDGERWOOD & TONY TASSET
Judy Ledgerwood and her husband, Tony Tasset, are esteemed Chicago-based visual artists whose work is in the collections of such prestigious institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Ledgerwood, a professor at Northwestern, uses evocative color and repetitive motifs in large-scale paintings, as in her vibrant, site-specific installation currently on view at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum. Recognizable to Chicagoans who delighted in his giant public sculpture “Eye,” multimedia artist Tasset, who employs a high-meets-low wit in work both challenging and engaging, was selected for the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
Location: Private Home, Lake Forest – Unappreciative of stateliness and symmetry, Frank Lloyd Wright may have once disparaged this east Lake Forest house as mere “shoebox,” but those who value English formality over Prairie openness will feel right at home in this Stanley Anderson-designed 1929 Lannon stone Georgian.
Barbara Davis Gallery, University of Chicago, Graham Foundation, Kavi Gupta, Whitney
Julia Sweeney, a “Saturday Night Live” cast member in the nineties, best known for her androgynous character Pat, is a monologist and writer whose comedic works tackle challenging issues. In her first book God Said “Ha!” as well as in her 2013 memoir, If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother, Sweeney characteristically delivers laugh-out-loud moments in personal stories about cancer, adoption, family, and faith.
Location: Private Home, Lake Forest – Extending magnificently along the lakefront, the imposing Clayton Mark house, designed in 1914 by Howard Van Doren Shaw and now authentically restored to its original splendor, features an impressive entry courtyard, sunken terrace garden, and decorative iron grillwork with the letter “M” identifying its historic pedigree.
STANLEY TIGERMAN & MARGARET MCCURRY
Architecture icon and activist Stanley Tigerman, former director of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Chicago and designer of the Illinois Holocaust Museum, has to his credit nearly 200 completed projects, more than 100 design awards, six books, and a design school committed to social responsibility. Tigerman’s wife and architectural partner, Margaret McCurry, has earned her distinguished reputation not only as architect and advocate of sustainable design—she has repurposed shipping containers into housing units—but also as a designer of interiors and furniture. Architectural Digest acknowledged McCurry’s professional status as “a bona fide member of architectural royalty in Chicago.”
Location: Private Home, Chicago – With the David Adler imprint of gracious historic design, this elegant prewar building made news when longtime residents, philanthropists Hope and Brooks McCormick, designated five charities as beneficiaries of their duplex sale. Here the terrazzo foyer signals luxury in a Gold Coast apartment where architectural integrity and sophisticated interior design provide understated backdrop for a distinguished collection of art and objets.
tigerman-mccurry.com, Architect Magazine
B. A. SHAPIRO
Set against the backdrop of the 1990 art heist at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, B. A. Shapiro’s New York Times bestseller The Art Forger (2012) is a layered literary thriller about a struggling artist and a Faustian bargain. Author of six suspense novels, four screenplays, and the nonfiction book The Big Squeeze, Shapiro lives in Boston and teaches creative writing at Northeastern University.
Location: Private Home, Lake Forest – Known as the architect of Chicago’s Newberry Library, Henry Ives Cobb designed the stately limestone Georgian colonial Pembroke Lodge in 1895. Today Cobb’s classic architectural detailing serves as foil for modern embellishment: an Andy Warhol kitchen; a room devoted to the glass art of René Lalique; and a ballroom, its original grandeur dazzlingly adorned with cascading butterflies.
In Anthony Marra’s New York Times bestselling debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, the story, set in war-torn Chechnya, revolves around a village doctor’s attempt to protect a young girl after Russian soldiers abduct her father. Naming the book as one of the Top Ten Books for 2013, The Washington Post hailed it as “a flash in the heavens that makes you look up and believe in miracles.” Marra teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University.
Location: Private Home, Lake Forest – Half-timbered gatehouse, linden tree-lined drive, and walled entry courtyard are graceful and refined prelude to the exquisite French Renaissance manor house and formal gardens of the renowned Noble Judah estate, designed in 1925 by esteemed New York architect Philip Lippincott Goodwin.
LUIS ALBERTO URREA
With Urrea’s most recent book, Queen of America, this award-winning author delivers the long-awaited sequel to The Hummingbird’s Daughter, his epic novel combining mystical drama and Mexican history. Urrea’s range is impressive: The Devil’s Highway, his account of Mexican immigration, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, while Into the Beautiful North was named by Latina magazine as one of its best beach reads.
Location: Private Home, Lake Forest – The grand 1930 country estate Shadow Pond is civilized counterpoint to its setting on the edge of the Middlefork Savanna. Outside, the original Jens Jensen-designed gardens have been restored; and inside the lavish detailing is exquisite: Florentine chandeliers, patterned tile floors, painted cherubs in the dining room, and everywhere sculpted stone on fireplaces, pediments, and balustrades.
Credited with creating the genre of the legal thriller, bestselling writer and Chicago-based practicing attorney Scott Turow, has written nine works of fiction, including his first, the explosively popular Presumed Innocent, and The Burden of Proof, both adapted for film, as well as his latest, Identical. Turow, whose books have been translated into 40 languages, selling 30 million copies worldwide, has been hailed as “a master of suspense fiction.”
Location: Shoreacres Club, Lake Bluff – As the name suggests, the Shoreacres Club affords a Lake Michigan view from its understated Colonial Revival clubhouse, designed in 1925 by Chicago’s premier country house architect David Adler, who created a relaxed yet elegant atmosphere for the club’s discerning membership.
EMBRACE THIS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED INVITATION TO BE ENRICHED—AND TO ENRICH THE CULTURAL LANDSCAPE, CONTRIBUTING annually TO more than 150 ARTISTS’ RESIDENCIES, 50 PUBLIC PROGRAMS, AND THE CREATION OF SIGNIFICANT NEW WORK BY RAGDALE ARTISTS.