Cokie Roberts, Michael Connelly, James Van Praagh among ALA’s Auditorium Series speakers

Contacts: Macey Morales / Jennifer Petersen

ALA Media Relations

312-280-4393 / 5043 /


For Immediate Release

May 12, 2009

CHICAGO - The American Library Association’s (ALA) Auditorium Speaker Series welcomes 10 distinguished speakers who double as authors, activists and national newsmakers. Speakers include ABC News commentator Cokie Roberts, best-selling mystery author Michael Connelly and medium James Van Praagh. The series is part of the ALA Annual Conference, held July 9 – 15 at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

Later on Saturday, writer/producer James Van Praagh, recognized as one of the foremost mediums, will appear from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Van Praagh is a “survival evidence medium,” meaning that he is able to bridge the gap between two planes of existence, that of the living and that of the dead, by providing evidential proof of life after death via detailed messages. Van Praagh’s unique paranormal experiences during the past 25 years have been recorded in his New York Times best-selling books including “Talking to Heaven,” “Reaching to Heaven,” “Healing Grief” and “Heaven and Earth.” He has also produced a number of television programs, including a hit primetime series, “Ghost Whisperer,” starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. This presentation is sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers.

On Sunday, July 12 from 8 - 9 a.m., Michael Connelly, former journalist and author of the #1 best-sellers “The Brass Verdict,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Chasing the Dime,” “Void Moon,” “Blood Work,” “The Poet” and the best-selling series of Harry Bosch novels, will appear. “Crime Beat,” a collection of his journalism, was also a New York Times best-seller. His next and twentieth novel, “The Scarecrow” will be published in May 2009. In October 2009, the next Harry Bosch novel, “9 Dragons,” will be published. Connelly’s presentation is sponsored by Hachette Book Group.

Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio will end the Speaker Series on Monday from 5 – 6:30 p.m. In addition to broadcasting, Roberts, along with her husband Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by United Media. Both are also contributing editors to USA Weekend, and together they wrote “From This Day Forward,” an account of their now more than 40-year marriage and other marriages in American history. She is also the author of “We Are Our Mothers' Daughters,” “Ladies of Liberty” and “Founding Mothers.” This program is sponsored by HarperCollins Publishers.

Other speakers include: author and civil rights icon Melba Pattillo Beals; author Junot Diaz; author James Ellroy; author Tracy Kidder; author Lisa Scottoline; author Gregory Maguire; author and neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D.; and green living expert Wanda Urbanska.

For more information on the ALA Annual Conference and a complete list of participating speakers, visit