Chris Stedman with Dave Wheeler — 'IRL: Finding Our Real Selves in a Digital World'

"A strangely prescient and timely guide to being more real digitally. . .By turns playful and wise, he makes us legible to ourselves and each other in new ways."—Alexander Chee


Third Place Books welcomes writer, activist, and professor Chris Stedman to our Seward Park store! Stedman will be discussing his deep dive into our digital lives, IRL: Finding Our Real Selves in a Digital World. He will be in discussion with Dave Wheeler, associate editor at Shelf Awareness. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

Copies of IRL will be available for purchase at the store. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About IRL. . .

It's reflexive and common to view our online presence as fake; to see the internet as a space we enter when we aren't living our real, offline lives. But ever since a pandemic pushed more and more of our work, relationships, and even leisure into digital space, the internet doesn't feel so fake anymore. Every day, the lines between digital and "real" space blur even further.

Activist and writer Chris Stedman explores authenticity in the digital age, shining a light into and beyond age-old notions of realness—who we are and where we fit in the world—to bring fresh understanding for our increasingly online lives. Stedman offers a new way of seeing the supposed split between our online and offline selves, one in which online spaces and social media become new tools for understanding and expressing ourselves—and where the not-always-graceful ways we use these tools can reveal new insights for incorporating far older human truths into modern life. How might the online spaces we use fulfill our essential human need to feel real? Must we view the internet and the real world as binary, where there is no room for overlap? Playful and wise, Stedman suggests that the digital search for meaning and belonging presents challenges but also opportunities to become more fully human. He boldly invites us to embrace realness in all its uncertainty, online and off, no matter how risky it might feel.


Praise for IRL. . .

"Even without the pandemic, IRL would be a vital read, a thoughtful examination of our perpetually 'logged on' existence, and a measured critique of the social systems that define our time online."
AV Club

"I am thankful for IRL. Chris Stedman is equal parts caring and indicting, and I hope this is a book that remains at the forefront of the discussion about our lives—digital and otherwise—for years to come."
Hanif Adburraqib, author of They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us

"Chris Stedman's newest book is a strangely prescient and timely guide to being more real digitally as we enter an era where we will need to be. His idea of digital life as drag has entirely reoriented my sense of self-presentation there, even as this brilliant book does more than that. By turns playful and wise, he makes us legible to ourselves and each other in new ways."
Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel 

"Chris Stedman's IRL is a deft interrogation of how our increasingly digital lives have reshaped our sense of what's real, within ourselves and around us. Drawing from equally deep wells of research and reflection, Stedman probes and provokes our expectations of our changing world, and how we fit in it."
Sam Lansky, author of The Gilded Razor 

Chris Stedman is a writer, activist, and professor who teaches in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the writer and host of Unread, named one of the best podcasts of 2021 by the Guardian, Vulture, HuffPost, Mashable, and the CBC, and honored by the 2022 Webby Awards. Additionally, Stedman is the author of IRL and Faitheist and has written popular essays for outlets including the Atlantic, Pitchfork, BuzzFeed, VICE, and the Washington Post. Previously the founding director of the Yale Humanist Community, he also served as a humanist chaplain at Harvard University.

Dave Wheeler is an associate editor for the book industry news source Shelf Awareness, and the author of Contingency Plans: Poems. He has written for The Seattle Times, Catapult, The Stranger, and INTO. (Photo credit: Stefan Pinto)

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from the event.

For media inquiries, access inquiries, or questions about our Covid-19 policies, please email or call our Lake Forest Park store at (206) 366-3311.