I spent Saturday at Printer’s Row, Chicago’s literary festival. The weather couldn’t have been better: low 70s, sunny, a very slight breeze. I met my Goodreads buddy Suzanne and we walked through the tents, browsing and chatting before heading in different directions for different events.
In years past I worked Printer’s Row as part of the Borders presence. I don’t miss working the fest and prefer to browse around and see whatever I want to see. Some of the big-name authors that I’ve seen in the past include Dan Brow (the year The DaVinci Code came out), Erik Larsen (the year The Devil in the White City came out), Lisa Scottoline (don’t remember which book was out), and Matthew Pearl (the year his first novel came out, The Dante Club).
This year, however, I thought it would be interesting to focus on hearing from new writers at the festival. (New to me, anyway!) I attended events like the readings by the Young Chicago Authors and the Neighborhood Writing Alliance. I’d really wanted to see the New Town Writers reading, but didn’t make it down there in time. I heard smart, funny, and heartfelt stories.
As for reading material, since I’m in the midst of spring cleaning my entire house and also weeding my books as well, I wasn’t looking to shop for books. However, a newish literary journal that I’d not heard of before caught my eye: Midwestern Gothic. It’s a quarterly journal showcasing Midwestern writers and issue #9 is the latest. I plan on reading it cover-to-cover and already dipped into it on the train ride home.
If you’ve never attended Printer’s Row I highly recommend it. I think you get the most out of it by studying the schedule and selecting a variety of events to attend while also giving yourself plenty of time to browse the tents of the dozens of booksellers and literary organizations. I’ll leave you with some pictures of my day.
The big building with the stuff on top is the main branch of the Chicago Public Library System, The Harold Washington Library Center. Some author events are held inside the library, which is just a block away from Printer’s Row.
Chubby Wieners, best dogs in Chicago and the breakfast of champions (or at least the breakfast of one bibliophile who was running late).
A non-literary collector’s item.
A writer from the Neighborhood Writing Alliance shares his story of the first black man he knew, a man whose shoe shining shop was blown up the day after Dr. King was assassinated.
A writer from Young Chicago Authors delivered her powerful poems against stereotypes of femininity and homophobia.
Midwestern Gothic, issue 9
This is me and my high school friend Sue…we hadn’t seen each other in 29 years! We reconnected on Facebook and found we were both going to Printer’s Row and exchanged cell phone numbers to connect at some point over the weekend.