Mark your calendar for this year's Mercantile Library signature events

The Mercantile Library has unveiled most of its leading 2024 events featuring novelists, scholars, a high-profile conservative columnist, and a beloved local music duo.

In September, conservative author and columnist William Kristol will deliver the library's annual 1835 Lecture, named after the year the library was formed.  In November, the husband-and-wife duo Over the Rhine will perform and speak about their work at the library's annual Words and Music event.

Library Director John Faherty said the two highest profile entries on its Signature Events schedule are still unconfirmed: the Harriet Beecher Stowe Freedom Writer Award & Lecture, and the Neihoff Lecture fundraiser.

Two Modern Novel Lectures are slated for 2024. The first lecture on the first of February was meant to happen in 2023 but was rescheduled.

The library staff has relocated temporarily to a space in the Fifth Third Bank downtown headquarters while its permanent home at 414 Walnut Street is converted from offices to apartments. The library's space on the 11th and 12th floors is being expanded and updated and is slated to reopen by summer.

This year's Modern Novel Lecture on February 1, 2024, will take place at the Museum Center. The rest are expected to be held at the Walnut Street site.

Signature Events are scheduled to begin at 6:00pm. Most are free to members and $20-$25 for visitors. Further details, reservations and membership information are available at

The full list:

February 1, The Modern Novel Lecture:
Andrew Sean Greer is the author of seven works of fiction, and winner of multiple honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

July 11, The Science and Nature Lecture:
Stefan Fiol from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and Rhonna Shatz, from the UC School of Medicine will discuss "Music & Memory," their project on using music to address cognitive impairment and dementia.

July 18, The Albert Pyle Urban Lecture:
Urban Sociologist John Joe Schlichtman will discuss what happened when High Point, North Carolina lost its leading role in the furniture industry after selling critical assets to venture capitalists.

August 1, The Hearth & Home:
12th Story Project Team.  Architects, designers, and decision-makers will describe the historic renovation of the Mercantile Library building.

August 7, The Innovation Lecture:
Preeminent translator Emily Wilson will talk about her groundbreaking work bringing Homer into the modern world.
September 12, The 1835 Lecture:
William Kristol, the founder of The Weekly Standard, is a frequent contributor to political discussions on CNN and elsewhere, as well as his work with several conservative organizations.

September 26, The Modern Novel Lecture:
Jesmyn Ward is the author of two National Book Award-winners and also received a MacArthur “Genius Grant,” a PEN/Faulkner Award and two National Critics Circle awards.

October 8, The Memoir Lecture:
Christian Cooper, writer of both science and science fiction, will speak about his memoir, "Better Living Through Birding: Notes from A Black Man in the Natural World." He gained sudden fame in 2020 when he was threatened with a criminal complaint by a park user who refused to leash her dog.

November 12, Words & Music:
Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have performed for decades as Over the Rhine, for the neighborhood where they launched their joint career. They have released dozens of albums and host the annual Nowhere Else Festival at their home in rural Martinsville, Oh.
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Read more articles by Margaret A. McGurk.

Margaret A. McGurk is a freelance writer, editor and media consultant. She was film critic for The Cincinnati Enquirer from 1995 to 2005.