Event—Adult Education

Deconstructing The Devil in the White City


The Devil in the White City is a compelling read. But it’s also an example of savvy storytelling that aspiring writers can learn from.

The original Ferris Wheel at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893. Source: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City has riveted readers while also inspiring writers. A murderer and a world's fair make for a compelling premise; but it's Larson’s storytelling skills that turn the book into a model for writers to learn from.

In this class, we will dig into the foundational components of the book, including character, plot, and setting. After analyzing the craft of the storytelling, class participants will walk away with skills they can apply to their own writing.

Dr. Caroline Malloy is a historian, book coach, and developmental editor in Chicago, specializing in heritage and the use and re-use of historical stories. She spends several months a year as a Resident Historian with Viking Ocean Cruises.

Materials List


First Reading:

  • Please read (or reread) Part I of The Devil in in the White City before our first class (you're welcome to re/read all of it, of course!). Pay particular attention as you read to stylistic choices Larson makes that engage you, personally, as the Reader.

Cost and Registration

One session, $65 ($58.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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