Individual Author Record
Name: Alex KotlowitzPen Name: None Genre: Non-Fiction Born: 1955 in New York City Sites:
Illinois ConnectionKotlowitz lives just outside of Chicago.
Biographical and Professional InformationAlex Kotlowitz is a journalist and author. His acclaimed bestselling book There Are No Children Here is the true story of two young brothers Lafeyette and Pharoah Rivers. It brings home the horror of trying to survive in a violence-ridden public housing project in Chicago. The book's title comes from a comment made by the brothers' mother as she and Kotlowitz contemplate the challenges of living in such a hostile environment. "There are no children here," she says. "They've seen too much to be children." The book humanizes the problem of inner-city pathology and makes readers care about the brothers more than they may expect to, and offeres a sliver of hope buried deep within a world of chaos. In his second book, The Other Side of the River, Kotlowitz continues his exploration of race and poverty in America. The book examines the circumstances behind the mysterious death of Eric McGinnis, a black teenager in St. Joseph, Michigan — a primarily white town across the river from his home in the primarily black town of Benton Harbor. The New York Times praised the book stating, "Of all the many books written about race in America in the past couple of years, none has been quite like The Other Side of the River … It is the difference between the two towns, one white, one black, that anchors this story, give it its soul, and makes it important, essential even, for the rest of us to contemplate." Kotlowitz’s book, Never a City So Real, is a portrait of Chicago and takes readers on a tour of one of America’s most iconic and historic cities. The Chicago Sun-Times called it “a fine successor to Nelson Algren’s Chicago: City on the Make as a song to our rough-and-tumble, broken-nosed city…” A contributor to The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker and public radio’s This American Life, Kotlowitz received a Peabody for his Stories of Home a collections of personal narratives for Chicago Public Radio. He has also served as a correspondant and writer for a Frontline documentary and PBS’s Media Matters. His articles have also appeared in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic and The New Republic. Kotlowitz also teaches courses at Northwestern Illinois University and is a visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame. He has also been a writer-in-residence at the University of Chicago.
- There Are No Children Here, Anchor, 1991
- The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, a Death and America’s Dilemma, Anchor, 1998
- Never A City So Real, Crown Publishing, 2004
Titles At Your Library
There Are No Children Here (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
ISBN: 0613024540 Turtleback Books. 1992 FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. Examines the lives of two inner-city brothers who live in a Chicago housing project and their daily struggle for survival and enduring hope.
The Other Side of the River (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)
ISBN: 0613150589 Turtleback Books. 1999 FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY.
Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago
ISBN: 0739311255 Random House Audio. 2004 The acclaimed author of There Are No Children Here takes us into the heart of Chicago by introducing us to some of the city’s most interesting, if not always celebrated, people.
Chicago is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities, as well as a major travel destination. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart. It’s a place, as one historian has said, of “messy vitalities,” a stew of contradictions: coarse yet gentle, idealistic yet restrained, grappling with its promise, alternately sure and unsure of itself.
Chicago, like America, is a kind of refuge for outsiders. It’s probably why Alex Kotlowitz found comfort there. He’s drawn to people on the outside who are trying to clean up—or at least make sense of—the mess on the inside. Perspective doesn’t come easy if you’re standing in the center. As with There Are No Children Here, Never a City So Real is not so much a tour of a place as a chronicle of its soul, its lifeblood. It is a tour of the people of Chicago, who have been the author’s guides into this city’s—and in a broader sense, this country’s—heart.
From the Hardcover edition.