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NY Diary 5: Chicago

Written by Chris Routledge, 2nd November 2007

I flew from New York to Chicago to visit Literature For All Of Us and stayed one night at the Margarita European Inn. If only UK hotels could be like this! The picture shows of its three libraries. Built as a dorm style hostel for working women in the the 1920s, the hotel retains its amazing early C20 character, and I was sorry to be here only one night. You could almost hear the laughter and talk of those women, and I kept sensing a novel or a film pushing its way into consciousness - come one someone, visit Evanston, Chicago and make it for me.

Visiting Literature For All Of Us was a terrific experience. I had breakfast with Karen Thomson (Executive Director) in a studenty café - sorry I didn't get the name - in Evanston. (Karen had a poached egg and wholewheat toast, I had steelmilled pinhead oatmeal with cinnamon apples--probably one of the best things I've eaten on this whole trip). We sat in a booth and exchanged working life histories and compared the growth, successes and problems of our two organisations. It was fascinating to see our Reader story almost completely replicated but translated, as it were, into American... Later Karen drove me to the LFAOU offices via the Lakefront Park on the north shore--Lake Michigan like a calm sea, unimaginably big,and bright with autumn sunshine.

I talked to all the project workers and the rest of the team and we compared notes about books, and funding and--believe me--administrative procedures! Then I was taken through into Karen's office for a celebratory lunch, complete with balloons and champagne and cake. These girls know how to throw an office lunch.

Here are some pictures. First the LFAOU team and then A picture of me with Rebecca and La Coya:

Posted by Jane Davis

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