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Linda Gartz

Born: Chicago, Illinois
Connection to Illinois: Gartz was born and raised in Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood, where she attended Tilton Elementary School and then Luther High School North. She majored in German at Northwestern University and went on to earn her Master of Arts in Teaching there as well. She has lived most of her adult life in Evanston.

Biography: Linda Gartz is a six-time Emmy-award-honored television producer, blogger, essay writer, and author of the memoir, Redlined. Redlined was inspired by the trove of long-hidden family diaries, letters, photos, documents, (and so much more), which she discovered in her parents’ attic after their deaths. Once she began reading, she was instantly gripped by the power of her family’s words to take her into the minds and hearts of each family member. Every new detail she learned fueled her quest to discover what forces had undermined her parents’ marriage and fractured her community. The result is Redlined. Linda was born and raised in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood, where she attended Tilton Elementary School and then Luther High School North (LHN), where she met lifelong friends, she still hangs out with today. Her random choice to major in German at Northwestern University opened the door to a year of study abroad at the University of Munich. (Decades later, she’d use her German to translate scores of letters she found in the archives.) A year after graduation, she returned to Northwestern to earn her M.A.T. (Masters of Arts in Teaching). Linda taught elementary school for a total of nine years. Eager for a new challenge, she took a video producing class, which hooked her on pursuing a career in television production. She started networking to get a foot in the door. Since then, Linda has worked for all the major TV networks in Chicago, mostly on documentaries but also producing magazine pieces and consumer segments for the local ABC 4 p.m. newscast. Her productions have aired on PBS, ABC, CBS and Investigation Discovery Channel, syndicated nation-wide. Her educational videos include Begin with Love, hosted by Oprah Winfrey and Grandparenting, hosted by Maya Angelou. Linda has published articles and essays in literary journals, online, and in local and national magazines and newspapers, including The Chicago Tribune. She earned her private pilot’s license at age 26 (when she’d try just about anything), and later, with her best college buddy and their husbands, raced J-24 sailboats on Lake Michigan. Linda’s yearly camping trips with the family to Devil’s Lake State Park in Wisconsin and the exciting road trips her Dad planned for the family made her a lifelong fan of travel and the outdoors. She’s backpacked in the Sonoran Desert, Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest. Gardening has been a part of Linda’s life since she collected seeds as a little girl from her parents’ “four o’clock” plants or helped dig up dahlia bulbs in fall and replant them in the spring. She now has lots of room to garden and likes planning the spaces and moving plants around to find their “happy” spot. Like all writers, she reads as much as she can, both fiction and nonfiction (especially loves memoir).

  • Redlined 2019 IPPY Silver Medal Winner in Autobiography/Memoir II (Coming of Age/Family Legacy/Travel) 2019 Chanticleer JOURNEY Book Awards First-Place Winner in Narrative Non-Fiction and Memoir 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Finalist in Current Events/Social Change 2019 Next Generation Indie Book Awards: Finalist in E-Book Non-fiction 2019 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist in The da Vinci Eye 2019 Foreword Indies Finalist in Adult Nonfiction―Family & Relationships 2019 Foreword Indies Finalist in Adult Nonfiction―Multicultural 2018 Readers' Favorites Book Awards Silver Medal in Non-Fiction―Social Issues 2018 International Book Awards Finalist in Multicultural Non-Fiction 2018 New York Book Festival Award: Honorable Mention, Biography/Autobiography 2018 Book of the Year, Nonfiction, Chicago Writers Association 2018 Sarton Women's Book Awards finalist in Memoir

Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers

E-Mail: linda[at]

Selected Titles

Redlined: A Memoir of Race, Change, and Fractured Community in 1960s Chicago
ISBN: 1631523201 OCLC: 1002126365

She Writes Press 2018

Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement, Redlined exposes the racist lending rules that refuse mortgages to anyone in areas with even one black resident. As blacks move deeper into Chicago’s West Side during the 1960s, whites flee by the thousands. But Linda Gartz’s parents, Fred and Lil choose to stay in their integrating neighborhood, overcoming previous prejudices as they meet and form friendships with their African American neighbors. The community sinks into increasing poverty and crime after two race riots destroy its once vibrant business district, but Fred and Lil continue to nurture their three apartment buildings and tenants for the next twenty years in a devastated landscape―even as their own relationship cracks and withers. After her parents’ deaths, Gartz discovers long-hidden letters, diaries, documents, and photos stashed in the attic of her former home. Determined to learn what forces shattered her parents’ marriage and undermined her community, she searches through the family archives and immerses herself in books on racial change in American neighborhoods. Told through the lens of Gartz’s discoveries of the personal and political, Redlined delivers a riveting story of a community fractured by racial turmoil, an unraveling and conflicted marriage, a daughter’s fight for sexual independence, and an up-close, intimate view of the racial and social upheavals of the 1960s.