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Words, Works, and Ways of Knowing

“Though some years in coming, Paretsky’s scholarship is apt for today. The New England Calvinists she describes with such graceful clarity speak to an earlier time, before we began to assume that religious belief and intellectual rigor were mutually exclusive. Paretsky introduces us to the world of the nineteenth-century ‘Christian scholar,’ using her narrative gift to explore the developing alliance—and deepening tensions—between the life of the mind and the life of faith.” more »

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Writing in an Age of Silence

In this powerful book, Sara Paretsky explores the traditions of political and literary dissent that have informed her life and work, against the unparallelled repression of free speech and thought in the US today. In tracing the writer’s difficult journey from silence to speech, she turns to her childhood and youth in rural Kansas, and brilliantly evokes Chicago—the city with which she has become indelibly associated—from her arrival during the civil-rights struggle in the mid-1960s to her most extraordinary literary creation, the south-side detective V I Warshawski. more »

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Afterword to The Brothers Karamozov

Read from the afterword Sara wrote for this new edition of The Brothers Karamozov. more »

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In Chicago, We've Fought to Stand Together

From The Washington Post, August 24, 2008: On Saturday, Aug. 6, 1966, Chicago's southwest side was quieter than even the small Kansas town where I grew up. The five-room bungalows—the city's signature residences—were empty behind their lacy curtains. Even the children had disappeared. People were either hiding or taking part in a major riot a half-mile to the west. more »

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Terror in the Name of Jesus

From The Guardian, June 1, 2009: As of 30 May, ­abortion providers in America had experienced 15,124 acts of ­violence. On 31 May, the number rose to 15,125. Dr George Tiller was murdered at church in Wichita, Kansas. His wife, who was singing in the choir, was a witness. more »

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Ode to the Season: When Your Landord is a Precinct Captain

From The Chicago Tribune, December 18, 2008: I came to Chicago from Kansas in 1966 to do community service work in Gage Park, near where Martin Luther King and Al Raby were trying to organize for open housing and social justice. It was a turbulent time in the city, but during my summer on the South Side, I developed a passion for Chicago. more »

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Refusing to Allow Pressure to Silence a Critical Voice

From The Chicago Tribune, April 1, 2007: The night we began our invasion of Iraq—March 20, 2003—I was speaking at the Toledo public library. The day before, my speakers bureau told me that the library wanted me to change my proposed remarks; my talk on how the Patriot Act was affecting writers, readers and libraries was too political. The library wanted instead the kind of humorous anecdotes that other writers used. With war imminent, the library felt that a criticism of the Bush administration was an insult to local families who had relatives in the service. more »

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Bush's Pick a Reminder of What's Not Right

From The Chicago Tribune, January 7, 2007: From the beginning of his presidency, George W. Bush has done his best to undermine a woman's right to adulthood. His latest effort has been to appoint Eric Keroack to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Population Affairs. more »

Truth, Lies, and Duct Tape

Maybe you already knew that the Patriot Act lets law enforcement people search libraries, bookstores, and even our homes without probable cause. Or that librarians who say the FBI was there can go to jail for an indefinite period of time. I didn’t know any of that, let alone that police or FBI have seized circulation records from almost twenty percent of our country's libraries. more »

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Writers on Writing

Some months ago, I had a letter from a reader who was so furious she covered four pages by hand, demanding to know why my books are “infested” with political issues. “When I buy a mystery I expect to be entertained and when you bring in all that stuff about homeless people, you aren't entertaining me.” more »