This year, the Printers Row Lit Fest will present powerful, social justice-focused voices, including Alex Kotlowitz and Valerie Jarrett, plus anti-violence activist Eve Ensler. Kotlowitz, a nationally recognized journalist, bestselling author, and award-winning filmmaker,introduces his most recent work, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago. Kotlowitz will be awarded the 2019 Harold Washington Literary Award at a dinner in his honor, which officially launches the Festival, on Thursday, June 6. Kotlowitz will also headline both days of the festival. On Saturday, June 8, Ensler returns to Chicago with her new book The Apology which offers a revolutionary look at how, from the wounds of sexual abuse, one can begin to re-emerge and heal. On Sunday, June 9, Jarrett, the longest serving senior advisor in the Obama White House or any White House, will discuss her new memoir, Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward, a story that starts in Iran but has its heart in the south side of Chicago.
Printers Row Lit Fest programming features theatrical readings with ensemble members from Steppenwolf and Goodman Theatres; a staged adaptation of Anne K. Ream’s Lived Through This, a #MeToo era memoir of a global journey spent listening to sexual violence survivors that Ensler calls “heartbreaking and beautifully rendered;” and special cooking demonstrations from award-winning culinary star Rick Bayless, soul food chef Todd Richards, and cookbook author and journalist Anupy Singla, one of the country’s foremost authorities on Indian food and cooking. New this year is the addition of an Arts & Poetry tent and the Festival’s first-ever Storybook Parade for children of all ages on Saturday, June 8. Kids are invited to dress in costume as their favorite character or action hero for a march down Dearborn Street starting at Center Stage at 10:30 a.m.
More than 100,000 visitors are expected during the two-day festival, which will also host over 100 booksellers offering everything from the tattered to the rare to ‘hot off the press,’ newly published works. In addition to a bonanza of book browsing, the 2019 Printers Row Lit Fest will spotlight Chicago’s breadth of talent, plus offer writing workshops and very special programs for children and young adults.All programming, including feature presentations by myriad authors, spoken word artists, adventurers, chefs and poets, will be 100% free of charge.
SATURDAY, JUNE 8
* HEADLINE PROGRAMS HELD AT THE HAROLD WASHINGTON LIBRARY AUDITORIUM
Harold Washington Literary Award winner Alex Kotlowitz, An American Summer
Welcome by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Alderman Sophia King, and David Hiller from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Eve Ensler, The Apology in conversation with Natalie Moore
SPAN/NONFICTION PROGRAMMING HELD AT PLYMOUTH & POLK
Carlo Rotella, The World Is Always Coming to an End: Pulling Together and Apart in a Chicago Neighborhood in conversation with Natalie Moore and Deborah Harrington
Andy Parker, For Alison: The Murder of a Young Journalist and a Father’s Fight for Gun Safety in conversation with David Heinzmann
Bridgett M. Davis, The World According to Fannie Davis in conversation with Chicago Tribune’s Lolly Bowean
Kathleen Belew, Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America in conversation with Carlos Lozada
Justin Driver, The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind in conversation with Noam Scheiber
Rachel Louise Snyder, No Visible Bruises in conversation with Eve Ensler
Telling the Buried Truths: The Histories of African-Descended People in Early Illinois, 1720-1830 with Anna-Lisa Cox, The Bone and Sinew of the Land, M. Scott Heerman, The Alchemy of Slavery, Larry Curry, and Steven Cole
Long before there was a city of Chicago there were thousands of African-descended people in Illinois and across the Midwest. Many were free, but some were enslaved and stayed that way despite laws that were supposed to make the region free. Larry Curry and Steven Cole, who are descendants of some of these earliest African American families to the Illinois Territory, will share the ways in which their histories have been denied. They will be joined by award-winning authors Anna-Lisa Cox and M. Scott Heerman, whose recent books The Bone and Sinew of the Land and The Alchemy of Slavery, work to bring these buried histories to light.
Daniel Immerwahr, How to Hide an Empire in conversation with Deborah Cohen
Bette Howland, Lost Chicago Genius, Found — a celebration of Howland’s first book in over 30 years, Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, which restores to the literary canon an extraordinarily gifted writer who was recognized as a major talent in the 1980s before all but disappearing from public view for decades — with special guests Frank Howland( Bette’s son ), Booklist’s Donna Seaman, and her editors: writer Reginald Gibbons and editor Brigid Hughes
Critically acclaimed Chicago author Bette Howland’s work was rediscovered near the end of her life when one of her books was found in the one-dollar bin at a used bookstore by Brigid Hughes, editor of the literary magazine, A Public Space. In her starred Booklist review, Donna Seaman writes, “Much like Lucia Berlin’s A Manual for Cleaning Women, this story collection reinstates a long-overlooked artist of live-wire incisiveness, shredding wit, and improbable beauty… A compassionate, trenchant, and hilarious ethnographer of eccentricities and dysfunction, Howland now takes her place in Chicago’s literary pantheon along with her mentor, Saul Bellow, Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Barry Gifford, Stuart Dybek, Joseph Epstein, and Peter Orner.”
The Best Chicago Writer Whose Name You Don’t Know: a discussion with Miles Harvey, Carolyn Alessio, and Emily Olson-Torch
This panel probes a fascinating story of literary revival. When the award-winning essayist Rafael Torch died at age 36 from a rare form of cancer in 2011, his career was just beginning to take off. Now, thanks to the work of creative-writing students at DePaul University, his memoir has been published for the first time. More than 15 years in the making, The Garcia Boyexplores issues that are more pressing than ever. As the son of an undocumented Mexican immigrant, Torch asks unsettling questions about what it means to be an American, and how a person gains—or fails to gain—that identity.
Chicago by the Book: Writing that Defines a City with contributors Nina Barrett, Neil Harris, and Tim Lacy
For more than 175 years, writers have shaped Chicago’s history, defining the way the world sees the city and Chicagoans see themselves. While these writers often have wildly different views of the city, they all have demonstrated resilience, creativity, and optimism while responding to the huge challenges of everyday life. Nina Barrett, Neil Harris, and Tim Lacy, three contributors to Chicago by the Book: 101 Publications That Shaped the City and Its Image, will trace Chicago’s literary history and talk about iconic authors, artists, and activists. They’ll also discuss what it takes to create a list of 101 publications from thousands of worthy options and reveal some of the behind-the-scenes work that went into this monumental task.
Break Free & Step Into Your Power with Linda Kay Klein and Jamia Wilson in conversation with Alisa Roadcup
Jamia Wilson, author of Young Gifted and Black, Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live your Best Life and co-author of Roadmap for Revolutionaries: Resistance, Activism, and Advocacy for All and Linda Kay Klein, author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that
Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free and founder of Break Free Together discuss the importance of claiming yourself, your body, and your power. Moderated by Alisa Roadcup, Chicago-based advocate for women and girls’ rights for 20 years.
Essays: Jenny Boully, Ross Gay, and Kim Brooks in conversation with Walton Muyumba
Short Fiction: Laura Adamczyk and Jeremy T. Wilson
Fiction: Deborah Shapiro, Abby Geni, and Frances de Pontes Peebles in conversation with Thea Goodman
Sci-Fi: T.J. Martinson and Michael Moreci in conversation with Susan Maguire
Memoirs: Kim Brooks and 2019 Lambda Literary Award finalist Sophie Lucido Johnson
In conversation: Susanna Calkins and Renee Rosen
So, You Want to Write a Children’s Book?
Tips from 6 Debut Children’s Book Creators + 1 Future Children’s Book Creator
Led by Esther Hershenhorn
In this panel facilitated by children’s book author, teacher, and writing coach Esther Hershenhorn, six debut children’s book creators — picture book author Sarah Glenn Fortson, picture book illustrator Darcy Zoells, picture book author/illustrator Alex Willan, middle grade novelists Malayna Evans and Shirin Shamsi, and nonfiction chapter book writer Catherine Ann Velasco as well as future debut children’s book creator Urania Smith — ground attendees in the Children’s Book World and help shorten a writer’s journey to publication.
Write with the University of Chicago Writer’s Studio featuring Susan Hubbard, Natalie Tilghman, and Sandi Wisenberg
Attendees will experience the instruction and community of the University of Chicago Writer’s Studio with this mini-lesson medley. Three instructors from Writer’s Studio will present mini-lessons, offering participants a chance to find their own stories, deepen their creative work, and get words on the page. The lesson begins with Sandi Wisenberg’s Catching Memories. Next, Natalie Tilghman presents Dreaming while Awake: An Approach to Novel Writing, followed by, Susan Hubbard presentingYour Character’s Defining Trait.
The Voices and Faces Project presents Our Stories Are Our Power led by Marline Johnson and Caity Shea Violette
The Voices and Faces Project, an award-winning storytelling project, travels across North America and Africa to bring its immersive, two-day “Stories We Tell” writing program to communities across the globe. At this year’s Lit Fest, they’ll debut “Our Stories Are Our Power,” a one-hour mini-workshop geared toward youth ages 13-25 who want to use their personal stories to create political change. Poets, fiction writers, spoken word artists, aspiring playwrights and any youth with a powerful story to tell are encouraged to attend.
5 Ways to Be Witty with James Geary, author of Wit’s End: What Wit Is, How It Works, and Why We Need It
In 5 Ways to Be Witty, James Geary playfully examines what wit is and how it works through folktales, literary anecdotes, jokes, and juggling—of ideas, words and balls. Participants are invited to play word games, test their creativity, and take part in a pun competition. The winner of the pun competition will receive a free copy of Geary’s book, Wit’s End.
Emcee Joe Gray of the Chicago Tribune hosts cooking demos with Rick Bayless, Anupy Singla, and Todd Richards
Greg Borzo and Doug Sohn, Lost Restaurants of Chicago
Steve Dolinsky, Pizza City, USA
YOUNG ADULT PROGRAMMING
Raina Telgemeier, Share Your Smile in conversation with Heidi Stevens
Kelly Barnhill, The Girl Who Drank the Moon in conversation with Laura Ruby
Poetry Out Loud Showcase
Chicagoland high school Poetry Out Loud champions recite poetry and converse about poetry and the POL program. Since 2005, POL has attracted 3.8 million participants and awarded more than $1.5 million in prizes and school stipends.
This is What it Feels Like to Exist // 826CHI Teen Writers Studio Chapbook Release Party
Join 826CHI’s Teen Writers Studio in releasing This is What it Feels Like to Exist, its latest chapbook of poems and stories on identity and love. The Teen Writers Studio is a group of high-school writers from across the city who have met at 826CHI twice a month throughout the school year to explore their personal styles, expand their knowledge of genre, and write with professional authors. 826CHI is a nonprofit writing, tutoring, and publishing center dedicated to amplifying the voices of Chicago youth. Their tuition-free writing programs serve over 3,500 Chicagoland students ages 6-18 annually.
Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, The Amazing World of Aviation
Dean Robbins, The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon
Printers Row Lit Fest’s first-ever Storybook Parade will take place on Saturday, June 8 at 10:30 a.m. Children are encouraged to join the march down Dearborn Street in celebration of literacy and the literary arts. Those interested are asked to meet behind Center Stage at 10:15 a.m. dressed as their favorite storybook character, author, or playwright.
ARTS & POETRY TENT
Poetry Reading with avery r. young, neckbone
Poetry Reading with Grady Chambers, North American Stadiums
The BreakBeat Poets featuring Kevin Coval, Britteney Black Rose Kapri, Raych Jackson, Diamond J. Sharp, and E’mon Lauren
Poetry Out Loud Showcase
Celebrating The Eloquent Poem with anthologist/editor Elise Paschen and contributors Calvin Forbes, Christina Pugh, and Tony Trigilio
Celebrate the publication of The Eloquent Poem: 128 Contemporary Poems and Their Making with the anthology editor Elise Paschen and contributors Calvin Forbes, Christina Pugh, and Tony Trigilio. The Eloquent Poem is a ground-breaking anthology of 128 never-before-published poems by more than 100 contemporary poets, divided into fourteen chapters by poetic approach and including illuminating micro-essays on the genesis of each poem.
EmceeSkool hosted by Phenom
EmceeSkool will conduct a 45-minute Open Mic with a live DJ that will provide opportunities for Lit Fest participants to display their works before a live audience.
READINGS + “YEAR OF CHICAGO THEATRE” PRESENTATIONS
Coya Paz Brownrigg and Chloe Johnston, Ensemble-Made Chicago: A Guide to Devised Theater in conversation withBenna Wilde
SUNDAY, JUNE 9
HEADLINE PROGRAMS HELD AT THE HAROLD WASHINGTON LIBRARY AUDITORIUM
Valerie Jarrett, Finding My Voice
C-SPAN/NONFICTION PROGRAMMING HELD AT PLYMOUTH & POLK
The Human Toll of Gun Violence: An American Summer with Alex Kotlowitz
Author and filmmaker Alex Kotlowitz spent the summer of 2013 researching how gun violence shapes the city of Chicago. In his most recent book, An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago, Kotlowitz, author of the national bestseller There Are No Children Here, chronicles the stories of individuals impacted by gun violence, upending what we think we know about gun violence in America. Join WBEZ Chicago’s Shannon Heffernan for a conversation with the author and some of the individuals profiled in An American Summer for firsthand accounts of how gun violence penetrates the minds, bodies, and communities of all it touches.
Eve Ewing, 1919 in conversation with Carey Cranston; Program sponsored by American Writers Museum
Dorothy Gilliam, Trailblazer in conversation with WBEZ Chicago’s Jenn White; introduced by Maudlyne Ihejirika
Colin Asher, Never a Lovely So Real: The Life and Work of Nelson Algren and Mary Ann Cain, South Side Venus in conversation with Chicago Tribune’s Rick Kogan
Josh Levin, The Queen: The Forgotten Life Behind an American Myth in conversation with Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Todd-Breland, A Political Education and Bill Ayers, about Becoming A Teacher in conversation with Jennifer Johnson
Chicago Tribune’s Howard Reich, The Art of Inventing Hope in conversation with Daniel Greene
History of Comics in Chicago: Chris Ware, Anya Davidson, and Tim Jackson moderated by Jessica Campbell
From bringing the color newspaper press to North America; to operating one of the most significant African American newspapers ( The Chicago Defender ); to inventing the daily newspaper strip; to acting as a major locus for the contemporary graphic novel movement, Chicago has always held an important role in the development and history of comics. Cartoonists and comics historians Anya Davidson ( Band for Life ), Tim Jackson ( Pioneering Cartoonists of Color ), and Chris Ware ( Building Stories ) come together to discuss the unique role that their shared city has played in the advancement of the comics field. This talk will be moderated by Jessica Campbell ( XTC69 ).
Biography: Telling Their Stories with Ron Rapoport, A. Brad Schwartz, Sanford Horwitz and Yuval Taylor; moderated by Chicago Tribune’s Mary Wisniewski
Everything You Need to Know About Story Structure You Can Learn from Where the Wild Things Are led by Janet Burroway
Everything to know about story structure can be learned from Where The Wild Things Are. On the surface, this seems like a fairly simple children’s picture book, but Maurice Sendak was a sophisticated storyteller and ten fundamental lessons can be taken from the way he structured his story. Janet Burroway, author of the best-selling Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, will discuss these lessons and share some of her own. Fiction writers of all ages and stages are welcome.
YOUNG ADULT PROGRAMMING
Young Adult Fiction: Who Am I Anyway? with Jessie Ann Foley, Stephanie Kate Strohm and Caleb Roehrig; moderated by Stacy St. Clair
This panel of Young Adult novelists discuss what makes a good young adult novel and the ways they reward their readers, adult or teen.
Young Adult Panel with Samira Ahmed, Internment and Jasmine Warga, Other Words from Home in conversation withRachel Stolle
The Sky Is A Curious Place: DJ Corchin, STAR
ARTS & POETRY TENT
Poets with Class Poetry Slam & Open Mic
Poets with Class is a teaching and touring ensemble from Chicago Poetry Center. They enter classrooms and grace festival stages alike with slam poetry inspired workshops and interactive performances. To celebrate Chicago’s legacy as the birthplace of slam poetry, Poets with Class host a Chicago-style poetry slam and open mic. Interested participants are encouraged to arrive early to sign up.
Poetry Reading with Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
READINGS + “YEAR OF CHICAGO THEATRE” PRESENTATIONS
There is PoesIa in the Midwest presented by Contratiempo
Contratiempo presents readings from four distinct Latin American immigrant voices in todayÃ�ï��ï��s vibrant Spanish-language literary scene in Chicago.
Power Lines: Remembering The Guild Literary Complex’s Anthology, 20 Years Later
Twenty years ago, The Guild Literary Complex, Chicago’s home for literary arts and activism, teamed up with Tia Chucha Press to publish Power Lines, an anthology featuring writers whose contributions to the Guild’s innovative and integrative programming helped to make The Guild a grassroots cultural institution in its first decade. At the time Studs Terkel said, “The Guild Complex is as natural to Chicago as its rivers and lakes.” But, where did those writers imagine The Guild flowing twenty years later on its 30th anniversary in 2019? This year, on Sunday, June 9, authors featured in Power Lines will reconvene at the Printers Row Lit Fest to revisit their work from two decades ago and to share some of what they are up to today as the Guild celebrates 30 years.
A staged reading of the theatrical adaptation of Lived Through This by Anne K. Ream
Part personal history of writer Anne K. Ream’s experience rebuilding her life in the wake of sexual violence, part memoir of a multi-country journey spent in conversation with other survivors, the theatrical adaptation of Ream’s critically praised book,Lived Through This— adapted for the stage by Ream, Marilyn Campbell-Lowe and Caity-Shea Violette, and directed by 16thStreet Theater’s Ann Filmer— is a play about lives after saying #MeToo, and the gorgeous, funny, outspoken, all-too-human women and men who are living them. The staged reading is set to a rock and soul score performed by Trigger Gospel’s Anna Fermin.
Steppenwolf Theatre – Excerpts from the stage adaption of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter with author Erika L. SAnchez, playwright Isaac Gomez and ensemble members Sandra Marquez and Karen Rodriguez
Steppenwolf Ensemble members Sandra Marquez and Karen Rodriguez will read selected scenes from the play and discuss the process of bringing this book to the stage with playwright Isaac Gomez. This is a special opportunity to hear this Chicago story come to life for the first time.
“Sing-A-Little, Talk-A-Little”: Goodman Theatre’s The Music Man
Lit Fest visitors get a sneak peek of this summer’s smash sensation—Mary Zimmerman’s major revival of Meredith Willson’sThe Music Man, opening at the Goodman Theatre June 29. Music Director Jermaine Hill and cast members will offer a taste of this joyous musical masterpiece for the whole family. Hailed as “one of the sunniest musicals ever” ( New York Times ), The Music Man includes memorable favorites “Goodnight My Someone,” “Seventy-Six Trombones,” “Gary, Indiana,” and “Till There Was You.” The program will be moderated by cultural critic Hedy Weiss.
Cabrini Green Echos of History with Lookingglass ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks and Ben Austen, High-Risers
Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones, Rise Up! with Hamilton Chicago Company’s Miguel Cervantes ( Alexander Hamilton ) and Jeremy McCarter
Near South Planning Board is the official Festival Presenter. Wintrust is the Lead Program Sponsor. Major Sponsors include Robert R. McCormick Foundation, Chicago Tribune, Alphawood Foundation-Chicago, and Poetry Foundation. Contributing Sponsors include Better Media, Jim & Kay Mabie-Chicago Capital, Success Bound, and CSPAN. Sponsors also include Polk Bros. Foundation, ComEd, Byline Bank, Julia Stasch, Chicago Public Library, Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation, American Writers Museum, Allstate, Irving Harris Foundation, 3LRE, Grace Place, and Hotel Blake. Media Sponsors include Newcity, Chicago Reader, and WBEZ Chicago.
Near South Planning Board ( NSPB ) founded the Printers Row Lit Fest in 1985 under the direction of Bette Cerf Hill, who has returned to spearhead the Festival in 2019. NSPB is a not-for-profit community-based organization, serving businesses, institutions and property owners of the Near South Side of Chicago since 1946.
More information about the Printers Row Lit Fest can be found at .
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