Story Week Festival of Writers is a free week long annual event downtown Chicago. It’s put on by Columbia College of Chicago and several other sponsors. The events include panels, Q&A’s, readings, and performances. Authors, editors and agents come into town for events, readings, book signings, discuss the current state of affairs from their view point in the world of publishing, and answer questions. One of the best things is that it’s free and open to everyone. (Except for a couple events that are housed at bars late in the evening and are either 18+ or 21+)
It’s housed at many different venues throughout the city which sometimes change. Some of the regular venues are the Harold Washington Public Library and Columbia College of Chicago’s campus. At the Harold Washington Public Library most events are held in the Cindy Pritzker auditorium which is on the lower level of the library. At Columbia College of Chicago the events are usually held at stage 2 which is on the second floor of 618 South Michigan Avenue. Take either the sparkly spiral stair case up or find the elevators up to the second floor, the elevators are closer to stage 2. Story Week includes miniature versions of the Creative Writing Department’s main class courses, classes in which people can workshop some of their writing or just exercises their creative writing juices. Different reading series will also include their performances and celebrate the week with guests as well, like Second Story where music and reading works together to bring to life personal stories that the readers perform, usually at a bar.
The event is a fun a way to get out and interact with the literary community. This event usually happens before Columbia College Chicago goes on Spring Break, in March. Late February a schedule can usually be found online. I’ve volunteered to help out at several of the events including when AWP was in town. (A larger writer’s conference Association of Writers & Writer’s Programs) One of my favorite events is at the end, it’s Literary Rock and Roll which is usually housed at the Metro. Literary Rock and Roll usually matches the overall theme of that year’s festival and the writers or their works match. At the end a band comes out and all of the chairs are removed and to make space for a dance floor. The Book Cellar sets up tables with the books of the authors who read who do signings at the end. It’s one of the biggest draws of the Festival.