Profiles of Artists/Writers

Some of the creative people helping to make An Evening to Honor Gene Wolfe possible:

Jeramie Campana is the owner/chef of Wild Asparagus in Barrington. Former Sous Chef for prominent Barrington caterer Tastefully Yours, he worked alongside acclaimed chef Don Yamauchi who ran the storied Le Francais in Wheeling. Chef Campana has built his business based on exceptional customer service, extraordinary cuisine, and a dedication to his clients. He lives in Lakewood with his wife, Debra, and children, Lucie, 14, Nate, 13, and Noah, 10.

Madeline Carol Matz (Chicago artist who created our beautiful poster and cover for the Commemorative Program) Madeline’s head bubbles with thoughts and images, and her artworks are what spill out: vintage-looking humanimals, fantastical creatures and other improbable beings worked in water media, ink, and acrylic. She invites you to mop them all up and wring them out into your life to make your surroundings a bit more pleasant, or at least make it a more interesting place to inhabit. Hopefully, her surge of creative effusion won’t make too much of a mess on the kitchen floor. Madeline’s work has been displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Wyler Children’s Hospital, and the Museum of Science and Industry. She has designed for many theater and dance companies, as well as private clients, and she has sold her paintings to clients coast to coast and around the world.

Ron Swanson (Chicago sculptor who is making the Fuller Award statue.) Ron is a sculptor whose pieces range from toy sculptures and model making, to fine art and large scale public sculpture. He lives with his family outside of Elgin, IL. You can see examples of his work here.

 Lawrence Santoro (Chicago writer who adapted Gene Wolfe’s story “The Toy Theater” for our staged reading at the event.) Larry is a regular author/narrator on Great Britain’s He began writing darkly fantastic tales at age five. In 2001 the Horror Writers Association nominated Larry’s novella God Screamed and Screamed, Then I Ate Him for a Bram Stoker Award.  In 2002, his audio adaptation and production of Gene Wolfe’s The Tree Is My Hat, gave him a second Stoker nod.  His Stoker-recommended short story Catching received Honorable Mention in Ellen Datlow’s 17th Annual Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthology in 2003.  In 2004, his  was cited in the anthology’s 18th edition.  In the 20th, his novella, At Angels Sixteen, from the anthology A Dark and Deadly Valley was similarly honored. Larry’s first novel, Just North of Nowhere, was published in 2007. A collection of his short fiction, Drink for the Thirst to Come, was released in October, 2011.

Terra Mysterium (The performers who will bring to life Gene Wolfe’s “The Toy Theater,” on stage and meandering through the collection.) A Chicago-based collective of musicians, actors, dancers, poets, magicians, and fire performers; creating, producing, and performing experiential works of music, theatre, and performance art that are rooted in the Earth mysteries.

Debra Ann Miller has been a  working actress in Chicago for more than 20 years.  She toured the country with Childs Play Touring Theatre , has performed at The Royal George, The Goodman, Noble Fool, Pheasant Run, and Victory Gardens, with companies such as Chicago Dramatists and Shattered Globe. She is currently touring as Mary Todd Lincoln in With Lincoln Productions’ Visiting the Lincolns, as well as her one woman show, Just Jane, an evening with Jane Austen.

R. Jelani Eddington (Organist for the Gene Wolfe event, performing on the world’s largest restored theatre pipe organ at the Sanfilippo Estate.) Jelani has established himself as one of the most prominent and sought-after artists on the concert circuit. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Indiana University in 1996, and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1999. Jelani has been featured at numerous national and regional conventions of the American Theatre Organ Society and has toured extensively throughout the world, including numerous concert appearances in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. In addition to his work as an organist, Jelani has also distinguished himself as a concert pianist and has produced and marketed over 30 theatre organ albums on some of the best-known and most dynamic instruments in the country. In August 2001, the American Theatre Organ Society honored Jelani’s extensive career as a concert and recording organist by naming him the 2001 Theatre Organist Of The Year.
8 Eyes Photography (Our official photographers for the event.) Pat and Ellen Prather are married photographers that love to work together and want to conquer the world one picture at a time. See their work on their website:

Interrobang Photography (Our videographer for the event). Punk rock roots. DIY ethics. Serious lighting skills. Oh, and a love for obscure punctuation. We don’t need a studio, we don’t need a boring backdrop. We take studio lighting out into the world, and we make something awesome. See more at their website:

Murray Ewing (artist who created the Gene Wolfe sketch) was born in Reading, Berkshire, in the UK. He has a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Kent, Canterbury, wrote book reviews for one of the first SF & Fantasy webzines (Cybernet2000), and has had fiction published in Dark Horizons, Cyäegha, Cosmorama, Saccade and Start-Up. His website, including his blog, Mewsings, is at He also runs, a site dedicated to the life and writings of David Lindsay. He lives in the South-East of England.

Valya Dudycz Lupescu (Director, Event Planning) Valya is a writer and the founding editor of Conclave: A Journal of Character. Her novel. The Silence of Trees (Wolfsword Press, 2010) was selected as a Semifinalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and since being published (both in print and ebook), has been a Kindle Bestseller, breaking into the Top 100. Valya holds an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has taught at several Chicago-area universities. She is currently an Artist-in-Residence at the historic Cliff Dwellers Club and is on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Writers Association. Valya teaches workshops around the city and online and helps to facilitate a monthly gathering of writers and artists called the Chicago Creative Coop.

Donald G.  Evans is the Executive Director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, which inducted its inaugural class at Northeastern Illinois University’s Auditorium Nov. 20, 2010. He is the author of the novel Good Money After Bad and editor of the anthology Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year. He lives in Oak Park with his wife Margaret and son Dusty.

Carl Hertz (Volunteer Coordinator)

Meghan Owen (DePaul University Intern Extraordinaire)