EventsSummer Scares Live On Stage

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Summer Scares Live On Stage

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Harold Washington Library Center


CPL and the Horror Writers Association are thrilled to present Summer Scares Live On Stage with authors James Kennedy, Daniel Kraus, Lauren Bolger, Gus Moreno, Michael Allen Rose and Cynthia Pelayo. These fantastic local authors will discuss their careers and why Horror is the best genre to read all year long in a conversation moderated by Becky Spratford. 

James Kennedy is the author of the horror thriller Bride of the Tornado, which the Chicago Tribune named as one of their "Top 10 Books of 2023." James' previous books include the sci-fi novel Dare to Know, dubbed by the Times Saturday Review as the "Best Sci-Fi Book of 2021," and the young adult fantasy The Order of Odd-Fish. James is also the founder of the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival, an annual video contest where kid filmmakers create short movies telling the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in about 90 seconds, screening in 10+ cities around the country for the past 13 years. He also hosts the "Secrets of Story" podcast with Matt Bird

Daniel Kraus is a New York Times bestselling writer of novels, TV, and film. His latest novel, Whalefall, received a front-cover rave review in the New York Times Book Review, won the Alex Award, and is a L.A. Times Book Prize Finalist. With Guillermo del Toro, he co-authored The Shape of Water, based on the same idea the two created for the Oscar-winning film. Also with del Toro, Kraus co-authored Trollhunters, which was adapted into the Emmy-winning Netflix series. His also cowrote The Living Dead with legendary filmmaker George A. Romero. Kraus’s The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch was named one of Entertainment Weekly‘s Top 10 Books of the Year. Kraus has won the Bram Stoker Award, Scribe Award, two Odyssey Awards, and more.

Lauren Bolger is the author of supernatural/occult horror novel Kill Radio, a 2023 Malarkey Books title. Her short horror has appeared in In Somnio, a Tenebrous Press Modern Gothic anthology and Tales from the Clergy, an October Nights Press anthology based on songs by the band Ghost. Her next book, titled The Barre Incidents, a found footage horror novel, is slated for release in 2025 with Malarkey. Lauren is a music-obsessed amateur drummer and spends most of her time with her husband, kids and their cat, Maggie.

Gus Moreno is the author of This Thing Between Us, a "Best Book Of 2021" pick by NPR and the New York Public Library. His stories have appeared in Aurealis, Pseudopod, and the Burnt Tongues anthology, among others. He lives in the suburbs with his wife and two dogs, but never think that he's not from Chicago for one second.

Michael Allen Rose is an award-winning writer, musician, editor and performance artist based in Chicago, Illinois. His stories have appeared in The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction, Heavy Feather Review, and Tales From The Crust among other periodicals. He has published several books including Jurassichrist (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing) which won the 2021 Wonderland Award for best bizarro novel, and The Last 5 Minutes of the Human Race, winner of best collection in bizarro fiction 2022. He is the host of the annual Ultimate Bizarro Showdown at Bizarro Con in Oregon. Michael also releases industrial music under the name Flood Damage. 

Cynthia Pelayo is a Bram Stoker Award–winning author. Her novels include Children of Chicago, The Shoemaker's Magician, and Forgotten Sisters. In addition to writing genre-blending novels that incorporate elements of fairy tales, mystery, detective, crime, and horror, Pelayo has written numerous short stories and the poetry collection Crime Scene. The recipient of the 2021 International Latino Book Award, she holds a master of fine arts in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her family. 

The panel discussion will be moderated by Becky Spratford, a Readers' Advisor in Illinois specializing in serving patrons ages 13 and up. She trains library staff all over the world on how to match books with readers through the local public library and runs the critically acclaimed RA training blog RA for All. She is under contract to provide content for EBSCO’s NoveList database and writes reviews for Booklist and a horror review column for Library Journal. Becky is a 23 year locally elected Library Trustee [still serving], a former Board member for the Reaching Across Illinois Library System, and currently on the Executive Board of the Illinois Library Association. Known for her work with horror readers, Becky is the author of The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror, Third Edition [ALA Editions, 2021]. She is on the Shirley Jackson Award Advisory Board and is a proud member of the Horror Writers Association and currently serves as the Association’s Secretary and organizer of their annual Librarians’ Day. 

Books will be for sale and authors will be signing courtesy of Bucket O' Blood. Please note that books will be for sale BEFORE the program, from 5:30-6pm only. 

How to Attend - In Person:

Doors to the Auditorium open at 5:30 p.m., and seating is first come, first served (350 capacity). Books are available for purchase, and the authors will autograph books at the conclusion of the program.

Masks are strongly encouraged in all CPL locations. Questions about visiting the library? Check out our Using the Library FAQ.

How to Attend - Virtual:
This event will also take place live on CPL's YouTube channel and CPL's Facebook page. You'll be able to ask questions during the event as well! Can't make it to the live stream? We'll archive the video on YouTube to watch later.


Automatic captioning is available via Facebook and YouTube's closed captioning setting. Need sign language interpretation or other accessibility assistance for this event? Please call (312) 747-8184 or email to request accommodations. Requests must be made at least 14 business days before the event.

Suitable for:
Adults: 18 and up
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