FRESH AYERS: Katherine Ozment - "Grace Without God" - with Bill Ayers

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Katherine Ozment discusses Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in the Secular Age. She will be joined in conversation by Bill Ayers.

At 57th Street Books


About the book: Meet “the Nones”—In this thought-provoking exploration of secular America, celebrated journalist Katherine Ozment takes readers on a quest to understand the trends and ramifications of a nation in flight from organized religion.

Studies show that religion makes us happier, healthier and more giving, connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. Most Americans are raised in a religious tradition, but in recent decades many have begun to leave religion, and with it their ancient rituals, mythic narratives, and sense of belonging.

So how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning without the one-stop shop of religion? What do they do with the space left after religion? With Nones swelling to one-fourth of American adults, and more than one-third of those under thirty, these questions have never been more urgent.

Writer, journalist, and secular mother of three Katherine Ozment came face-to-face with the fundamental issue of the Nones when her son asked her the simplest of questions: “what are we?” Unsettled by her reply—“Nothing”—she set out on a journey to find a better answer. She traversed the frontier of American secular life, sought guidance in science and the humanities, talked with noted scholars, and wrestled with her own family’s attempts to find meaning and connection after religion.

Insightful, surprising, and compelling, Grace Without God is both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own meaning and purpose in an increasingly secular age.

About the author: Katherine Ozment is an award-winning journalist who has worked in publishing for more than twenty years, including as a senior editor at National Geographic. Her essays and articles have been widely published, including in such venues as National Geographic magazine, The New York Times, Fitness, and Salon. Raised in Arkansas and Connecticut, she majored in English at Harvard and received her Masters in Writing from DePaul University. She now lives in Chicago with her husband, an environmental economist, and their three children.

About Bill Ayers: William Ayers, formerly Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University. Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a former vice-president of the curriculum division of the American Educational Research Association.

His articles have appeared in many journals including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Teacher EducationTeachers College Record, Rethinking Schools, the NationEducational Leadership, the New York Times, and the Cambridge Journal of Education. 

His books include Teaching Toward FreedomThe Good Preschool Teacher, A Kind and Just Parent Teaching the Personal and the Political, Fugitive Days,  Public Enemy, and with Ryan Alexander-Tanner, To TeachThe Journey, in Comics, with Rick Ayers, Teaching the Taboo: Courage and Commitment in the Classroom, and with Bernardine Dohrn, Race CourseAgainst White Supremacy.

Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637