About the Author

Critically acclaimed Chicago-based writer Fern Schumer Chapman has written several award-winning books. Viking/Penguin released her most recent book, Brothers, Sisters, Strangers: Sibling Estrangement and the Road to Reconciliation, in 2021. She writes a blog on psychologytoday.com called "Brothers, Sisters, Strangers," and she co-hosts a podcast by the same name. Some of her blog posts are compiled in her most recent work, The Sibling Estrangement Journal: A Guided Exploration of Your Experience through Writing.

Her memoir, Motherland - a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and a BookSense76 pick - is a popular choice for book clubs. Two of her other books, Is It Night or Day? and Middle School Sleuths, are used in middle school classrooms. In 2004, the Illinois Association of Teachers of English (IATE) named Chapman the "Illinois Author of the Year." Twice, Oprah Winfrey shows have featured her books.

The Junior Library Guild named two of her books, Facing the Past and Three Stars in the Night Skyas August 2017 and August 2018 selections. Recently, she published two picture books, Happy Harper Thursdays and The Return of Happy Harper Thursdays. She gives dozens of presentations each year at schools and events.

As a journalist and reporter, her work has appeared in many publications including the Chicago TribuneForbes,  The Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, she has taught magazine writing and other seminars at both Northwestern and Lake Forest College.

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Significant Speeches


Fern Schumer Chapman has given speeches at schools, conferences, libraries, luncheons, book groups, charity benefits, churches, and synagogues.

Highlights include:

  • Featured Speaker, Woodstock Fine Arts Association Creative Arts Speakers Series, Woodstock Opera House, Woodstock, Illinois (2019)
  • Keynote Speaker, Opening of the Preston Holocaust Collection (Jewish Federation of Delaware) Wilmington, Delaware
  • Keynote Speaker, Women's luncheon, Twin Orchard Country Club, Long Grove, IL
  • Keynote Speaker, DePaul University Honors Program Lecture Series: Enemies and Aliens, Chicago, IL (2014)
  • Keynote Speaker, Wilmette Group of Hadassah North Shore Opening Luncheon Meeting, Skokie, IL (2013)
  • Featured Author, 39th Annual Young Authors Conference, Illinois State University, Normal, IL (2013)
  • Keynote Speaker, Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2012, Washington State Educational Resource Center in Seattle, WA (2012)
  • Featured Author, Voices and Visions - Valencia Community College's Distinguished Artists Series, Orlando, FL (2006)
  • Featured Author, National Association of Teachers of English (NATE) annual convention, Pittsburgh, PA (2005)
  • Featured Author, Prologue Society and California Literary Society (eight-city west coast tour sponsored by the Northern Trust Bank - 2003)
  • Featured Speaker, Edward R. Hallowell Literary Lecturer (Fourth Annual), Haverford School for Boys, Haverford, PA (2002)
  • Featured Speaker, Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, Yom ha-Shoah Commemoration Program (2002)
  • Presenter, Conference on Memory and Narrative, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA (2001)
  • Featured Author, Heartland Literary Society, Chicago, IL (2001)
  • Featured Speaker, Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois (2001)
  • Featured Speaker, Hadassah's Annual Book and Author Luncheon (2001)
  • Featured Author, Christamore House Guild Book and Author Luncheon, Indianapolis, IN (2000)
  • Featured Author, Children's Memorial Hospital Book and Author Charity Event (2000)
  • Keynote Speaker, Congregation B'nai Tikvah, Deerfield, IL
  • Keynote Speaker, Arts and Ideas Program, Waubonsee College, Sugar Loaf, Illinois
  • Keynote Speaker, The Mother's Trust, Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Keynote Speaker, National Council for Jewish Women, Highland Park, Illinois
  • Keynote Speaker, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis, Indiana