Preview: Printers Row Lit Fest 2015

CBR_Logo2I don’t know how it got to be June, much less June 5—and this weekend is Printers Row already! It seems like I just got back from BEA in New York, which, in fact, I did. And then I put CBR’s Summer Preview together. And suddenly the weekend is upon us, and it’s Printers Row Eve, which I think should be a holiday.

The 31st Annual Printers Row Lit Fest will take place in the usual location: Dearborn between Congress and Polk, and along Polk between Clark and Plymouth. The weekend features more than 200 authors on various stages, including Ian Belknap, Susanna Calkins, Jac Jemc, Parneshia Jones, Rebecca Makkai, Lori Rader-Day, Joseph Schwieterman, Megan Stielstra … the list goes on and on and on. Some of the events are ticketed. You can find a list of author appearances here.

printers row lit festThe festival also features dozens of exhibitors, including local publishers like Agate Publishing, Allium Press, Fifth Star Press, Haymarket Books, Moody Publishers, Northwestern University Press, and Triumph Books. Also exhibiting are scores of local organizations, including Chicago Black Authors Network, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Writers Association, and Illinois Woman’s Press Association. You can find a list of exhibitors here.

More than 125,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which is the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest. Of course, it’s not really just one event—it’s dozens of them on several stages. And, of course, no one can be everywhere at once, so we thought we’d highlight some of the readings, panels, discussions, etc., that feature local authors and local publishers, which, as you know, is what we’re all about:

—First Fiction: Cyn Vargas, Alex Gordon, Karin Lin-Greenberg and Monica McFawn moderated by Frank Tempone
Saturday, 10–11 a.m. Jones College Prep/Classroom #5006. Tickets required.

—Writing Workshop: Prompt-A-Palooza with Jill Pollack, Director StoryStudio Chicago
Saturday, 10:30–11:30 a.m., Jones College Prep/Classroom #5038. Tickets required.

—Young Chicago Authors’ Check the Method poets and Wreckshop emcees team up for “Wreck the Method”
Saturday, 11–11:45 a.m., Center Stage

—Columbia College Chicago Department of Creative Writing Faculty Reading with David Lazar, Nami Mun and Jenny Boully
Saturday, 11–11:45 a.m., Arts & Poetry Stage

—Reading: 826CHI Presents: Around That Age, I Liked to Play with Fire
Saturday, 12:05–12:35 p.m., Arts & Poetry Stage

—Fiction: Midwest Culture Clash: Julie Iromuanya in conversation with Walton Muyumba
Saturday, 12:30–1:15 p.m., Jones College Prep/Classroom #5030. Tickets required.

—Chicagoland Poetry Out Loud Champions, hosted by Stephen Young
Saturday, 12:40–1:10 p.m., Arts & Poetry Stage

—Young Chicago Authors’ Chicago Beat Book Release and Podcast Showcase
Saturday, 1:15–1:45 p.m., Arts & Poetry Stage

—Chicago Originals: Tony Fitzpatrick and Bill Hillmann in conversation with Rick Kogan
Saturday, 3–3:45 p.m., Harold Washington Library Center. Tickets required.

—Chicago Living: Adam Mack, Joseph Schwieterman and Dean Jobb in conversation with Gary Johnson
Saturday, 3:15–4 p.m., Jones College Prep/Classroom #5010. Tickets required.

—Chicago Blues and Gospel: Robert Marovich and Wilbert Jones in conversation with Mark Guarino
Sunday, 11–11:45 a.m., Jones College Prep/Classroom #5034. Tickets required.

—Chicago Writer Challenge: Reema Amin, Danette Chavez and Rebecca Brink moderated by Mason Johnson
Sunday, 11–11:45 a.m., RedEye Stage

—Chicago Portraits: Mike Zajakowski and Chris Walker
Sunday, 1:30–2:15 p.m., Jones College Prep/Classroom #5034. Tickets required.

As if all the great things going on at Printers Row Lit Fest (#PRLF15 and @PrintersRowFest on Twitter) this weekend weren’t enough, Sunday, June 7, is also BrooksDay 2015, celebrating the anniversary of Gwendolyn Brooks’s birth. This year marks the third annual event, sponsored by Guild Literary Complex, along with Third World Press, Poetry Foundation, and the Logan Center for the Arts. The day will feature readings and performances by Kevin Coval, Richard Steele, Andrea Change, Young Chicago Authors, Aurora Performance Group, In the Spirit, Rebirth, etc.

This is a great weekend for books. We’ll see you out there …

There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.
—Maurice Sendak

—Kelli Christiansen

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