John Searles' photo credit Thomas Caruso

For the past 10 years, you may have seen John Searles when he appeared regularly as a book critic on NBC’s Today Show and CBS’ The Early Show. Or perhaps you’ve read articles by Searles who is also the Editor-at-Large of Cosmopolitan magazine. Maybe you’ve even seen his essays in The New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Beast and other national publications.

Born and raised in New England, Searles grew up the son of a truck-driver father and stay-at-home mom. Those who knew him then might not have guessed Searles would become the author of two best-selling novels, Boy Still Missing and Strange but True, both published in 2005.  And now a new book gaining rave reviews, Help for the Haunted.

After high school, John Searles worked at the DuPont factory close to his hometown. But he realized quickly that the job wasn’t for him and set his sights on becoming the first in his family to graduate college. John earned an undergraduate degree from a Connecticut State University before moving to New York City to attend New York University on a writing scholarship. His stories were quick to receive recognition at the school, winning two top literary awards. After completing his MFA, Searles took a job at Redbook magazine, reading fiction submissions for fifty cents a story. He soon moved onto a part-time position in the books department at Cosmopolitan, where he is now the magazine’s Editor-at-Large.

On Friday, Oct. 25, you can meet John and hear about his latest book, Help for the Haunted, when he delivers the the 2013 Barbara Ballinger Lecture at 7:30 pm at Oak Park Public Library. His chilling new novel is about what one young girl will do to find the truth, and is described as an “unforgettable story of a most unusual family, their deep secrets and their harrowing tragedy.” It’s been praised by best-selling authors Gillian Flynn and Jodi Picoult.

The Barbara Ballinger Lecture, hosted by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, honors Ms. Ballinger’s 32 years of service as a librarian in the Oak Park community. Ballinger served as head librarian of Oak Park Public Library for 24 years before retiring in 1991.

Please join us for this free after-hours lecture from John Searles, followed by an author reception and book signing. Complimentary drinks and light appetizers will be served. Reserve your place and register online now.

 written by Deborah Dowley Preiser, Community Relations Coordinator,

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