An Evening with Meg Kissinger (Co-Sponsored by the Wilmette Public Library)
Date and Time:
Sep 7 2023 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Book Stall
811 Elm St., Winnetka, IL 60093

Meg Kissinger

An Evening with Meg Kissinger (Co-Sponsored by the Wilmette Public Library)

Community Event

The Book Stall is looking forward to hosting award-winning journalist (and Wilmette native) Meg Kissinger at the store on Thursday, September 7 at 6:30 pm for a discussion featuring her new book, While You Were Out, a searing memoir of a family besieged by mental illness. The work is an incisive exploration of the systems that failed them and a testament to the love that sustained them. Powerful, candid and filled with surprising humor, this is the story of one family’s love and resilience in the face of great loss.

This event is co-sponsored by the Wilmette Public Library and is free with registration. To register, please visit our website.

More About the Book: Growing up in the 1960s in the suburbs of Chicago, Meg Kissinger’s family seemed to live a charmed life. With eight kids and two loving parents, the Kissingers radiated a warm, boisterous energy. Whether they were spending summer days on the shores of Lake Michigan, barreling down the ski slopes, or navigating the trials of their Catholic school, the Kissingers always knew how to live large and play hard. But behind closed doors, a harsher reality was unfolding, a heavily medicated mother hospitalized for anxiety and depression, a manic father prone to violence, and children in the throes of bipolar disorder and depression, two of whom would take their own lives. Through it all, the Kissingers faced the world with their signature dark humor and the unspoken family rule: never talk about it.

While You Were Out begins as a personal story of one family’s struggles then opens outward, as Kissinger details how childhood tragedy catalyzed a journalism career focused on exposing our country’s flawed mental health care. Combining the intimacy of memoir with the rigor of investigative reporting, the book explores the consequences of shame, the havoc of botched public policy, and the hope offered by new treatment strategies.

Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road, says, “Meg Kissinger is a world-class reporter and a rip-roaring storyteller. Her heartfelt, eviscerating, deeply introspective investigation of long-held family secrets will leave you quaking with rage about our broken mental health system-and grateful that writers like her are on the case.”

More About the Author: Meg Kissinger spent more than two decades traveling across the country writing about America’s mental health system for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, she has won dozens of accolades, including two George Polk Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and two National Journalism Awards. Kissinger teaches investigative reporting at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and was a visiting professor at DePauw University, her alma mater. Her stories on the abysmal living conditions for people with mental illness inspired changes to state law and led to the creation of hundreds of new housing units. Meg Kissinger lives in Milwaukee with her husband.