Famed book-designer Chip Kidd, department-store historian Michael Lisicky and poet Naomi Shihab Nye visit Pittsburgh this week | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Famed book-designer Chip Kidd, department-store historian Michael Lisicky and poet Naomi Shihab Nye visit Pittsburgh this week

Kidd is probably the best-known book-designer around.

Chip Kidd made his name as a groundbreaking designer of book covers for works by a Who's Who of authors -- from Cormac McCarthy and James Ellroy to Haruki Murakami and Oliver Sacks. Kidd, 47, is probably the best-known book designer around.

But the Reading, Pa., native is a man of words as well as imagery: He's the author of two novels (including 2001's The Cheese Monkeys) and a magazine writer on graphic design and pop culture. He's also editor-at-large for Pantheon, where he's overseen publications by the likes of Chris Ware and Dan Clowes, and of Peanuts, the definitive Charles Schulz collection.

On Dec. 9, Kidd, based in New York City and Connecticut, visits The Andy Warhol Museum in his capacity as writer and designer of the books Mythology: The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross and Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross. The lecture accompanies the Ross-themed exhibit Heroes & Villains. 7 p.m. Fri., Dec. 9. 117 Sandusky St., North Side. $10-25. 412-237-8300


Gimbels department store, a Downtown fixture for six decades, closed in 1986. But though the store's archives were destroyed, this working-class counterpart to Horne's and Kaufmann's -- along with Gimbels outlets in Milwaukee, New York and Philadelphia -- lives on in Gimbels Has It! (History Press), a new book by Michael Lisicky. Lisicky, who doubles as an oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, specializes in department-store histories, with previous volumes on Baltimore-based Hutzler's and Philly-based Wanamaker's. On Dec. 14, he visits Pittsburgh to speak at both Sewickley's Penguin Bookshop and at WritersLIVE, at the Carnegie Library's main branch. Noon Wed., Dec. 14 (420 Beaver St., Sewickley; reception follows; free; 412-741-3838). Also 6 p.m. Wed., Dec. 14 (4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland; free; 412-622-8866).

"I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous, / or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, / but because it never forgot what it could do," writes Naomi Shihab Nye. The San Antonio-based author and editor has published works including the poetry collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East, a National Book Award finalist. Her book of poems for young adults, Honeybee, won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the children's/young-adult category. Nye speaks at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. Fri., Dec. 9. 423 Fox Chapel Road, Fox Chapel. Free. 412-968-3040 or thehillman.org

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