It doesn’t matter what city I’m in, if I’m in a bookstore, I am home.
I’m in Chicago for BEA, but I feel like I’m home, writing this from Women & Children First. Within moments of my arrival, co-owners Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck relieved me of my umbrella and luggage and gave a comfortable place to squat with my computer.
The store went through a remodel a year ago, but Lynn tells me that it took until last week for her to consider it complete. Portraits of important women authors who have read at the store over the decades are featured above the front windows inside the store. And last week, the labeling of the portraits was completed.
The portraits were created by former Women & Children First staffer Jill Kaunfung using pencil, ink, and wash. The first to read at the store was Sara Paretsky in 1981 (and every book thereafter). Maya Angelou read here in 1986; Gloria Steinem in 1992, 1994, 1995, and 2015; Margaret Atwood was here in 1993 and 2003. From Alice Walker to Hillary Clinton, there are 15 portraits in all. And Lynn tells me there’s plenty of wall space to keep going.
The store also offers prints of the portraits for sale in various sizes and layouts.
Here’s a quick little video of the installation shot with my iPhone:
As much as I hate to leave home, it’s probably time to move onto another home away from home. If you’re in Chicago this week and see me about–either at ‘home’ or at BEA–please say hello. I’d love to visit with you.