Medill Senior Lecturer Alex Kotlowitz's book exploring the social and political landscape of Chicago, Never a City So Real, was chosen as next year's One Book One Northwestern.
Each chapter of Never a City So Real captures Chicago's history by focusing on obscure Chicagoans, such as a former labor leader or two gossipy ladies who bond over soul food. Bill Savage, a Weinberg professor who teaches a class on Chicago literature, said Kotlowitz brings an “outsider’s eye” to Chicago, a perspective that is vital to introducing Northwestern students to larger issues in the city.
“I really hope it inspires people in the Northwestern community to get out of here and go places and see what’s there that he wrote about that still remains,” Savage said. “It will give them an insight into why the city is the way it is.”
Kotlowitz is most recently known for his 2011 documentary, The Interrupters, which won the Film Independent Spirt Award for best documentary in February.
The One Book One Northwestern program encourages every student, faculty and Northwestern community member to read its selection and participate in discussions and events pertaining to the book throughout the next academic year.
“Even if every student on campus doesn’t read the book, they will talk about it and pretend they did, and that’s the first step,” Savage said. “The presence of the book can initiate all sorts of conversations.”