Books for the News

Nelson Algren at 100

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Marking Nelson Algren’s 100th b-day, the Chicago Reader is running a-never-before-published short story by the famous writer, titled Entrapment, and featured on the cover of their current issue. The story is part of a larger collection of Algren’s unpublished work which previously resided in the archives at Ohio State University and is now available from NYC publishers Seven Stories Press (there will also be a reading from the book at Steppenwolf on Monday). But despite his latest work being published in New York the most enthusiastic audience for Algren’s writing is right here in Chicago—Algren’s home for many years and the source of inspiration for much of his work. The most prominent example in his oeuvre is Algren’s prose poem, Chicago: City on the Make—published by the press in a newly annotated 50th Anniversary Edition in 2001—which is today widely regarded as the definitive literary portrait of the city. Providing a gritty juxtaposition to other paeans to “the city of the big shoulders” like Carl Sandberg’s famous poem, as a review New York Herald Tribune once noted: Chicago: City on the Make “is both a social document and a love poem, a script in which a lover explains his city’s recurring ruthlessness and latent power; in which an artist recognizes that these are portents not of death, but of life.”
In tandem with the re-release of Algren’s Chicago the press also published Conversations with Nelson Algren—offering first-hand insight into the author’s life and work, and demonstrating the profound impact of the Windy City on the writing of one of Chicago’s most rebellious, and authentic literary figures.
Find out more about Chicago: City on the Make and Conversations with Nelson Algren or check out the complete text of Entrapment on the Chicago Reader website.