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Jon Anderson

Born: March 13, 1936 in Montreal, Canada
Died: January 15, 2014 in Chicago

Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Anderson was transferred to Chicago in 1963 as an employee of Time magazine. He lived in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Biography: Jon Anderson was a journalist for over five decades. His career dated back to 1959 in his native Montreal, where Anderson wrote for Time magazine where he was transferred to Chicago. He later went on to work for the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Tribune and Second City. Anderson retired from the Tribune in 2006 , where since 1995 he had written the City Watch column about the everyday people of Chicago. He also wrote a society column for the Daily News with his wife at the time, Abra Prentice Wilkin, a descendant of John D. Rockefeller, and the two went on to start The Chicagoan magazine, which had a short run in the 1970s. Anderson was awarded the 1999 Studs Terkel Award by the Community Media Workshop of Chicago in recognition of his reporting on Chicago's diverse neighborhoods.


Primary Literary Genre(s): Non-Fiction

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

City Watch: Discovering the Uncommon Chicago
ISBN: 0877457522 OCLC: Iowa City :

University Of Iowa Press Iowa City : 2001

In forty-five years as one of Chicago's liveliest journalists for Time, Life, and the Chicago Tribune, Jon Anderson has established a reputation for picking up on what someone once called "the beauty of the specific fact." Part "Talk of the Town," part On the Road with Charles Kuralt, Anderson's twice-a-week "City Watch" columns in the Chicago Tribune seek out interesting and unexpected people and places from the everyday life of what the author calls the "most typical American big city." In the process he discovers the joys and triumphs of ordinary people. Anderson writes with wit and insight about those who find themselves inspired or obsessed with alternative ways of viewing life or getting through the day. Like the man who started with one light pole, then painted all the poles in his southside neighborhood. Or the founder of Cats-Are-Purrsons-Too, a nun who lives with sixty-seven cats. Or the philosopher who, with no financial success, still publishes a newsletter called "The Meaning of Life." After years of hunting down moments of everyday life that have drama and meaning, Anderson offers a book that has curious power, because all of its stories are true. Drawn from the best of Anderson's columns, City Watch introduces readers to an eclectic mix of social clubs, subcultures, and minor celebrities. From Foraging Friends, a group of penniless ecologists who forage for wild foods in a county forest preserve, to the annual Dumpster Diver fashion show, from the Oakton Elementary School chess team to a group that calls itself Some Chicago Anarchists, readers will discover the characters and events that define Chicago's local color.