WE HAVE MOVED and are no longer in our alley location. You can now find us at

1620 Orrington Ave

Evanston, IL 60201

Bookends University


Bookends University

An author event programming initiative that runs independently of the bookstore's general events, offering both virtual and in-person workshop-style sessions led by authors. Designed to engage attendees in an experiential, educational way, Bookends University will include writing workshops, cooking classes, life-skills tutorials, creative accountability groups, and more!



Bookends University is the bookstore’s curricular initiative, launched in early 2022, offering author-led workshops in a broad range of topics, from writing memoir or historical fiction to making sourdough bread to saving for retirement. In September 2022 we are piloting a writing accountability group called “Writing Buddies,” an affordable, supportive group for anyone who is ready to make a weekly commitment to writing. All of our workshops are designed to be experiential and interactive, and course fees include the purchase of a textbook for the class or a gift card for Bookends & Beginnings.


Bookends University is a concept that dates back to owner Nina Barrett’s original plan for the store in 2014:

“I was always conscious of Evanston as a rich community of authors and writers, and I had a vision of writing classes and writer’s groups that would meet in our back room and help anchor the local literary community in our space.”

The store did host workshops in its early days, integrating Zoom into our toolbox during the pandemic opened up a whole new world in terms of a wider geographical access to both author-instructors and audiences, who could attend these classes from their own kitchens or at home in pajamas if they want to. You are also welcome to show up to our in person workshops in your pajamas too. We won't judge - it's been a rough couple of years. 


Check the Bookends University Events Page website for updated offerings —we are always adding new workshops! For more information or if you have ideas for workshops you think we should offer, please email Bookends University programming director, Freda Love Smith: freda@bookendsandbeginnings.com