James Klise        Chicago-based young adult author
 young adult author

News & Appearances


Some recent & upcoming events:

January 2018, Chicago, IL - Attention Chicagoans: If you've been thinking/wishing/dreaming about writing a novel, please consider joining StoryStudio's newest cohort: Novel in a Year - Young Adult and Middle Grade. The monthly workshops will give you guidance, support, deadlines, and community - AND we'll have lots of fun. Deadline for applying: Monday, December 4. Let's make 2018 the year you finally get that novel written! 

July 10-11, 2017, Parma, MI - NerdCampMI presenter, "Teacher as Writer, Writer as Teacher," with Mike Grosso, Leanne Statland Ellis and Eti Berland.

June 2017 - So pleased and honored to have "The Art of Secrets" selected by Nevada teens as the winner of the 2017 Nevada Young Readers Award. Thanks to Nevada librarians for putting the novel into the hands of readers.

June 2017 - Happy Pride Month! I was delighted to see that RuPaul selected "Love Drugged" for his new "Love Yourself Book Library" on the Tapas digital book platform.

April 22, 2017, Chicago, IL - 3rd Annual Chicago Young Adult Book Festival at the Book Cellar, Chicago.

April 12-13, 2017, Cicero, IL - Visits to Morton East, Morton West, and Morton Freshmen Center High Schools

April 6, 2017, Burbank, IL - Reavis High School Lit Fest

February 28, 2017, Chicago, IL - CPS Burley School Book Bash 2017 with Newbery Award-winner Kwame Alexander

February 18, 2017, Naperville, IL - Anderson's Children's Lit Breakfast

November 18, 2016, Atlanta, GA - National Council of Teachers of English. I'm looking forward to joining a panel of author/educators for a discussion called "Teacher as Writer; Writer as Teacher: Championing Literacy Role Models for Young People," with award-winning writers Sharon Draper, Andrew Smith, Leanne Ellis, Shira Roth, and our moderator, Eti Berland. 

October 1
6, 2016, Evergreen Park, IL - Evergreen Park Public Library. I am eager to join teens in Evergreen Park to celebrate Teen Reads Week. Teens are invited to a FREE writing workshop, where we will generate story ideas, discuss writing, revision, and publishing.

October 1, 20
16, Niles, IL - Niles Public Library. Niles Public Library spends the entire month of October celebrating Teen Reads Month, and I'm delighted to help kick off the festivities with a writing workshop for teens. FREE.

June 10-11, 2016, Chicago suburbs - Barnes & Noble B-Fest. Barnes & Noble stores across the country will be hosting the first-ever B-Fest, a celebration of YA fiction and non-fiction. There will be author appearances, games, giveaways, and lots of fun. I will be at the Old Orchard store on Friday, June 10 at 6:30 pm and at the Oakbrook Center store on Saturday, June 11 at 2 pm. Stop by your local store that weekend and see what's happening!

April 14, 2016
, Skokie, IL - After a day of visiting Skokie middle-school students, I will give a short talk at the Skokie Public Library, as well as sign books. "The Art of Secrets" was one of the library's "Hot Summer Reads" in 2015, and it will be a pleasure to chat with readers about their reactions to the book. Please use the attached link to register.

March 7, 2016, Burlington, VT- I was grateful (and nervous, honestly!) to have the opportunity to chat with Vermont middle-school students on Vermont Public Radio's "Dorothy's List." Listen to hear their smart questions and my rambling answers. (Thank goodness for talented radio editors and their generous surgical skills.)

January 23, 2016, Evanston, IL - Evanston YA Lit Fest. 1-4 pm.

Dec 10, 2015, Chicago, IL - Attention all young writers! Have questions about writing? On this Thursday evening in December, I'll visit the Back of the Yards branch of the Chicago Public Library at 6 pm. My plan is to engage attendees in a helpful story-writing game, as well as answer specific questions about my books, general questions about writing and publishing, or whatever comes up. All attendees will be eligible to win free prizes, so please come by and bring a friend!

Oct 28-29, 2015, Houston, TX - One of the best emails I received in 2015 was from the Burbank Middle School in Houston, written by a teacher who told me that "The Art of Secrets" was their selection for the campus-wide reading initiative this year. That's more than 1,500 readers! I am loving these pictures of Burbank students reading the book, and I can't wait to meet them and their families at the Family Literacy Night at the end of October.

Oct 23, 2015, Louisville, KY. The Louisville Collegiate School is celebrating its 100th birthday this fall, and I'm honored to be included as part of the festivities. I will be meeting with students, conducting story workshops, and talking about my path to becoming a writer. So excited to visit this extraordinary campus!

Oct 20, 2015, Chicago, IL - An absolute treat to visit the Book Club at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center (aka fantastic public high school) on Chicago's North side. We discussed "The Art of Secrets," and also chatted about writing, publishing, and life. Thanks especially to librarian extraordinaire Rita Bramble for the invitation.

Oct 2-3, 2015, Peoria, IL - I'm eager to spend time meeting teachers from all over the state at the Illinois Reading Council's annual conference. This year the theme is "Passport to Possibilities." I won't need a passport, because it's my own hometown!

Sept 9, 2015 - Check out this fab review of "The Art of Secrets" from Teen Librarian Toolbox. TLT is one of my favorite sites - it offers daily book reviews, resources, and news that is essential to those of us who work in libraries. Keep it bookmarked for an ongoing supply of great ideas and terrific new reads.

June 22, 2015, Chicago, IL - I'll be leading a conversation about outsider art, Henry Darger and "The Art of Secrets" at the Chicago Public Library, Merlo Branch, at 6 pm. A free event, all ages welcome, so please come say hi! Books won't be on sale (as far as I know), but I will be delighted to sign any books you bring.

June 5, 2015, Chicago, IL - Kick off this year's Printers Row Lit Fest with a YA-tacular reading/signing event at Barnes & Noble  in the Loop (State St. at Jackson) between 6 and 7 pm. Authors include Stefanie Lyons, Christa Desir, Lindsay Currie, Moriah McStay, and me. This is a high energy group - will be a very fun evening! 

May 16, 2015, Bloomington-Normal, IL - 41st Annual Young Authors' Conference, co-sponsored by the Illinois Language & Literacy Council and the Illinois Reading Council. I'm eager to meet some of the state's most talented young writers as we discuss craft, revision and publishing.

May 9, 2015, Chicago, IL -
1st Annual Chicago Young Adult Book Fest. A large sample of Chicago's vibrant YA author community will gather for a day of readings, talks, and book signing. Please come to Lincoln Square and join the fun! (Historical note: This will be the first-ever author appearance that I can walk to from home. #greenlifestyle)

May 2, 2015,
Brookfield, IL - I'll be speaking about Henry Darger, outsider art, and "The Art of Secrets" at the Brookfield Public Library, as part of its 2015 Brookfield Reads program. Brookfield teens, this is a free event - you might even get a free signed copy of the book!

April 29, 2015, New York, NY - Edgars banquet.
"The Art of Secrets" is an Edgar finalist, and so I'll be donning a tux and joining a starry crowd of mystery writers in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in NYC. I am most excited about meeting the other nominees in the YA category. Thanks in advance to Mystery Writers of America for including "The Art of Secrets" in this company. (Update: "The Art of Secrets" WON and the author is very happy and grateful.)

April 21, 2015 - "The Art of Secrets" is released in affordable and convenient paperback! New cover design, brand new characters, and a thrilling alternate ending... Hold up, sorry, most of that isn't true at all. Just a new cover, folks!  Carry on.

April 18, 2015
, Westmont, IL - A free event! Please join me and many other authors and illustrators for the celebratory launch of the 2015 Illinois Reads program. I appreciate all the good work the Illinois Reading Council does, and I'm thrilled to be able to participate this year.

March 19, 2015 - So grateful to see "The Art of Secrets" included on Bank Street College of Education's Best Books List, 2015. This is an essential resource I use when buying books for my school library.

March 16, 2015 - Excellent news from Vermont: "The Art of Secrets" has been selected for the 2016 Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award Master List. 7th and 8th graders from all over the state will be reading from the list and voting on their favorites. Happy reading, Green Mountain teens!

February 1, 2015, Chicago, IL: ALA MidWinter, McCormick Place. I joined a family of authors (against a family of librarians) in a spirited game of Family Feud - and authors took the win! Thanks to all the publishers for sponsoring a very fun event.

December 18, 2014:
Thrilled and grateful to learn that "The Art of Secrets" is an ALA Booklist Editors' Choice winner for 2014.

December 10, 2014: Have I mentioned how proud I am to carry a library card for the best library system in the country? (I'm not biased - it's been proven!) And so I'm doubly excited that the Chicago Public Library selected "The Art of Secrets" as one of the "Best of the Best" books for teens published in 2014. They assembled a fantastic list, so if you are planning your book club picks, be sure to check it out.

November 24-25, 2014, National Harbor, MD: NCTE/ALAN panel. A total pleasure to speak on the topic of "Outsider Culture as a Connection," with esteemed authors Atia Abawi, Patricia Dunn, Tanuja Desai Hidier and ace moderator Deborah Taylor.

October 18, 2014, Austin, TX: Texas Teen Book Festival

September 27-28, 2014: Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL, Young Adult Literature Conference

September 24, 2014: Interview for Chicago's renowned "All Write Already" podcast - hosted by the charming and erudite Karen Shimmin and Willy Nast. If you've been hankering to hear me talk very quickly about many things I love, this will be a real treat!

August 27, 2014 - Thrilled to learn that "The Art of Secrets" will be included in the 2014 edition of the ABC Best Books for Children & Teens. Huge thanks to the American Booksellers Association for the compliment.

July 20, 2014, "Higher Order," a personal essay in the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal that describes the day I acquired some very rare books. 

June 25, 2014, YA Author Party, 6 p.m., Barnes & Noble, Arlington Heights, IL - Come visit with Elizabeth Fama (Plus One, Monstrous Beauty), Stacey Kade (Ghost & the Goth, Project Paper Dolls series), Kym Brunner (Wanted: Dead or In Love) and me, as we present our newest books and answer all the questions you come up with! 

June 18, 2014: The Christian Science Monitor named "The Art of Secrets" to its list of "25 of the best middle grade novels of 2014."

June 8, 2014: Printers Row Lit Fest. "Young and Restless," 3:30-4:15 p.m., Chicago - Newbery Honor/Edgar Winner Amy Timberlake (One Came Home) will lead a conversation with Deborah Wiles (Countdown, Revolution), Legs McNeil & Gillian McCain (Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose) and me. Includes Q & A. We'll be on the Mash Stage. Free!

June 6, 2014: The Houston Chronicle selected "The Art of Secrets" for its annual Recommended Summer Reading List.

May 31, 2014, 11 a.m., Winnetka, IL - Teen Reads Book Party at the Book Stall at Chestnut Court. Book talk, Q & A, prizes, giveaways - and pizza! - along with Philip Siegel (The Break-Up Artist). The store is asking folks to register (so they know how much pizza to order) - please call 847-446-8880. Hope to see many teens there! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014, 3 p.m., Chicago, IL - Reading and book-signing party at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art - Intuit is Chicago's premier organization that supports outsider artists and their work. They've even recreated Henry Darger's living room right at the center, so we'll be able to talk about "The Art of Secrets" and how Darger's work fits into it, and then visit that fascinating space. Plus, the book sales will directly support the Center! Please join us.

April 26, 2014, "Interview with Scott Simon," NPR's Weekend Edition. It's a lucky break for any novel for its author to spend a few minutes chatting with Mr. Simon.

Friday - Sunday, April 25-27, 2014, Twin Cities, MN - On Friday evening, I'll be reading from "The Art of Secrets" at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN. I'm scheduled to appear with two very funny Chicago YA authors, Molly Backes and Philip Siegel. On Saturday and Sunday, the three of us will present a panel on character development at the Loft Literary Center's annual Children's and YA Literature Conference in Minneapolis. This is a ticketed conference; if you are working on a book for young readers, this is a terrific opportunity to participate in workshops and panel lectures on all aspects of craft, revision, publishing, etc. Highly recommended.

April 25, 2014. "Interview," Zulkey.com - hosted by Chicago author and wit Claire Zulkey

April 24, 2014. "Crime Stories, Told by a Chorus," guest blog post, Sirens of Suspense

April 22, 2014, 7 p.m. - "The Art of Secrets" will be released to the world! My first event will be that evening at the renowned Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, IL. Anderson's is famous for its generous support of authors and books, as well as for the staff's uncanny ability to match books with their ideal readers. Free and open to the public. Note: This event will be located just down the street from the store at 111 W. Jefferson St., Naperville, IL.

April 17, 2014. "The Page 69 Test," guest blog post, Campaign for the American Reader

April 15, 2014. "Lately, Man, It's All About the Weed," guest blog post, Nerdy Book Club

April 15, 2014. "Chicago Authors Share Their Secrets," Spring 2014 Books, Chicago Reader

January 22-24, 2014, Seattle, WA - At the beginning of each year, the American Booksellers Association hosts a Winter Institute, when booksellers from around the country gather to talk shop and learn about lots of great soon-to-be-published books. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to meet with store owners and give them an advance look at "The Art of Secrets." It's going to be a whirlwind visit and a ton of fun.

2013 events and earlier:

On October 3, 2013, I'll be part of the Heartland Fall Forum, a celebration of new and upcoming books hosted by the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association and the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. This will be the FIRST TIME I get to hand out very early advance reader copies of "The Art of Secrets." Can't wait!

School Library Journal's Summer Teen: Hot Books for Young Adults. I'm excited to be part of this FREE "webinar" event on July 24, 2013. I will be part of a panel on the topic "Embracing Diversity" in YA books. Other author participants include Tamora Pierce, Elizabeth Wein, Paul Rudnick, Robin LaFevers, and many other favorites. Should be fun - and you can join in from wherever you are! (Thanks to Open Road Media for the opportunity.)

American Library Association Annual Conference.
I can't wait for ALA in Chicago, June 27 through July 2, 2013, when I will have several opportunities to meet with librarians, teachers and other authors. On Saturday, June 29, at 1 pm,  author B.A. Binns and I will give a presentation on the topic of Boys and Reading. On Sunday, June 30, I will be participating in the annual YA Author Coffee Klatch in the morning. I also will be singing free copies of "Love Drugged" at the Llewellyn/Flux booth at 3 pm. Please stop by one of these events and say hi!

Also: I wrote a foreword for the re-issue of Tom Lennon's funny and groundbreaking 1992 novel, "When Love Comes to Town," which was published in March 2013 by Albert Whitman Books.

Chicago Public Library, "Now is the Time" event for teens,
reading & discussion along with author Lisa Jenn Bigelow, at Harold Washington Library YOUmedia Center, Chicago, December 20, 2012

Chicago Public Library, "Now is the Time" event for teens,
reading & discussion along with author Lisa Jenn Bigelow, at Garfield Ridge Branch, Chicago, December 13, 2012

with the Chicago Public Library, a.k.a. the best library system in the world, 2012

Interviewed for Guardian (UK) story, "No Sex, Please, We're American: 30 Years of Banned Books Week," September 28, 2012

Chicago Tribune commentary, "Class, Today's Word is Irony," September 27, 2012

Second Story Reading Series at the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis, MN, September 16, 2012, @ 2 pm. A FREE event: Please come hear me, New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins (Crank, Identical, Perfect, etc), National Book Award-winner Pete Hautman (Godless, Rash, Blank Confession, etc), and others on a panel discussing literature and censorship issues. Followed @ 3 pm by readings by Ellen Hopkins and me, and later a reception. Free!

Printers Row Lit Fest,
"How to Read a Book," Chicago, IL, June 10, 2012

Loft Literary Center - Young Adult Writing Conference (appearing with fellow Chicagoans Julie Halpern, Claire Zulkey and M. Molly Backes), Minneapolis, MN, April 28-29, 2012

Associated Writing Programs Annual Conference,
Chicago, February 29-March 2, 2012

National Council of Teachers of English
, author panel, Chicago, November 19, 2011

ALAN Workshop, author panel, Chicago, November 21-22, 2011

Chicago Public Library Hall Branch
, book club discussion, October 12, 2011

DePaul University Summer Writing Conference, Chicago, July 15-17, 2011

American Library Association annual conference, New Orleans, LA, June 24-28, 2011

Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, Waukesha, WI, June 18, 2011

Printers Row Lit Fest, Chicago, IL, June 4-5, 2011

23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards, New York City, May 26, 2011

Mayor Daley's Book Club Spring Conference,
Chicago, IL, Lane Tech H.S., May 14, 2011

Lambda Literary Award, finalists reading, Gerber-Hart Library, Chicago, May 3, 2011

31st Annual Northern Illinois University Children's Literature Conference, March 11, 2011

Anderson's Bookshop 9th Annual Children's Literature Breakfast, February 19, 2011

Chicago Public Library, Chinatown Branch, Teen Volume book discussion, Thursday, December 16, 2010, 4:00 pm

Chicago Public Library, Lincoln Park Branch, Teen Volume book discussion, Thursday December 2, 2010, 6:30

Chicago Tribune story on Love Drugged, November 2, 2010

WGN Radio's "Sunday Papers" with Rick Kogan, October 31, 2010

PFLAG meetings in Chicago and suburbs

BOOK SIGNING at Borders in Lincolnwood - Saturday, September 18 from 2-4 pm. Please note: This event will be held at the Borders located at 6103 N. Lincoln Avenue, not at the Borders on State Street, as reported in Time Out Chicago. Please call the store for event details (773) 267-4822

Anderson's Bookshop 7th Annual Young Adult Literature Conference, Saturday, Sept 25, Arista Hotel, Naperville, IL

At the end of June, I signed advance copies of Love Drugged at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Washington, DC. 

In July, I was on the faculty of the 2010 DePaul Summer Writing Conference in Chicago, IL.

Also starting in August: You can read an interview about Love Drugged's path to publication in the 2011 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. (By the way, if you like to write, and you’re interested in publishing your work, this book is an excellent resource for finding places to send your fiction: magazines, literary journals, online publications—or to agents and editors who may be interested in your work. I have been buying this book FOREVER. Seriously, I could probably insulate my house with old editions. Check it out!)