Story Week Festival of Writers 2011
Our recommended picks for the best author readings and panels.
We say it every year, but it bears repeating: Though Printers Row gets all the fanfare, writers and readers interested in proving their True Lit check out Story Week in the spring and the Humanities Fest in the fall. The Story Week Festival of Writers—thrown every year for the past 15 by Columbia College’s fiction-writing department—offers panels, readings and discussions pretty much all day every day for one week in March.
Because it’s put on by a college, the events tend to appeal to a wide range of listeners, from beginning writers to just lovers of literature. So we thought we’d break down the calendar for you, depending on what you want out of your week.
Books are great, but I prefer to have them read to me.
That’s sort of the name of the game this week, with lots of readings on the bill. Jennifer Egan reads from her latest novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, which found its way onto just about everyone’s year-end list (Monday 14, 6pm, , 400 S State St). Later the same night, Geoff Hyatt (Malagon Rising) and John McNally (Ghosts of Chicago) read at the school’s grad-student open mic (9:30pm, , 3258 N Sheffield Ave).
Books aren’t bad, but I prefer booze.
Well, you’re in luck. To kick the week off, Columbia professor Megan Stielstra hosts Serendipity Theatre’s night of first-person essays matched with wine flights (Sunday 13, 7pm, , 3855 N Lincoln Ave). But don’t let the wine flights fool you; it’s usually much more boozy than classy. The week’s signature event, Literary Rock & Roll, always packs one of the city’s major music venues. Tonight, Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh headlines and is joined by Preston Allen (Jesus Boy), Gina Frangello (Slut Lullabies) and Stephanie Shaw. A DJ dream team of Metro owner Joe Shanahan, Welsh and author Don De Grazia spins (Wednesday 16, 6pm, , 3730 N Clark St).
Books are the best ever, and I want to make them.
Well, too bad, they’re dying! (Little joke.) Publishing is changing in approximately 1,005 ways, however, and at the Future of Publishing panel, Columbia prof Craig Jobson, Bath Spa University prof Steve May, author Joe Meno (The Great Perhaps), Booklist’s Donna Seaman and Cellstories.net/@MayorEmanuel’s puppetmaster Daniel Sinker provide the dystopic and utopic visions (Wednesday 16, 2:30pm, , 1104 S Wabash Ave, 8th floor). Akashic Books publisher Johnny Temple, Graywolf Press editor Katie Dublinski, literary agent Scott Miller, author Sam Weller (Listen to the Echoes) and freelance editor Heidi Bell tell you how to actually make a book happen at the Make-Ready: Manuscript to Book Publishing panel (March 17, 11am, ).
Books are okay, but what else you got?
Not all writers write books. Some make these things called “plays.” Toward the end of Story Week, several playwrights get in on the fun. Regina Taylor (The Trinity River Plays) leads a morning playwriting workshop (March 17, 10am, Columbia College Chicago Theater Building, room 211, 72 E 11th St), and in the afternoon, she talks with Columbia prof Lisa Schlesinger and playwright Tanya Saracho (El Nogalar) about the craft (March 17, 1pm, ). Rod Slemmons of the Museum of Contemporary Photography chats with artist Philip Hartigan, author Audrey Niffenegger, poet Tony Trigilio, dancer Darrell Jones and filmmaker Bruce Sheridan at a panel on Story and the Arts (March 17, 4pm, ).