Photo: Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune
Nestled in among the various food events and music festivals this summer, Printer’s Row Lit Fest is a gathering point for the book lovers of Chicago.
At Dearborn and Polk streets, this weekend, you can sample the wares of various Chicago bookstores and independent publishing houses, rub elbows with the city’s literati, and listen as internationally renowned authors discuss their work.
All events are free, but many of the larger-name presentations require reserved tickets. The schedule of events and link to ticket reservations can be found online here. Here are our picks for the seven best ones to visit:
Art Spiegelman in conversation with Ivan Brunetti
Author of Pulitzer prize–winning graphic novel Maus, cartoonist Art Spiegelman helped establish the comic as a serious literary medium. He will be debuting Co-Mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps at this year’s fest. Ivan Brunetti is a Chicago-based cartoonist and comic scholar. He recently published his graphic autobiography Aesthetics: A Memoir.
June 8 at 10:00 a.m., Harold Washington Library Center/Cindy Pritzker Auditorium
Society of Midland Authors Award Winners: Mary Losure, Jack Driscoll and Neil Steinberg
Celebrate some of the best of the Midwest at this awards ceremony. Winners from three of the categories will discuss their books and respective genres. Those interested in Chicago history should keep an eye out for Neil Steinberg, author of You Were Never In Chicago (you can take the quiz of how well you know Chicago, based on Steinberg's book, here).
June 8 at 10:00 a.m., Grace Place/2nd Floor
Jack Gray and Nathan Rabin
Those looking for a laugh should stop by this discussion. A producer for Anderson Cooper 360, Jack Gray recounts his career with self-effacing humor in Pigeon in a Crosswalk: Tales of Anxiety and Accidental Glamour. Chicago-based Nathan Rabin is the head writer for The A.V. Club and author of You Don't Know Me but You Don't Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music's Most Maligned Tribes.
June 8 at 11:15 a.m., Wyndham Blake Hotel/Burnham Room
Narrative 4, featuring Colum McCann, Luis Alberto Urrea and Sting
As an honorary committee member, musician Sting is helping to establish Chicago’s new non-profit storytelling project Narrative 4 (N4). He will discuss the project’s goal of using stories as a catalyst for social change with Colum McCann and Luis Alberto Urrea, members of N4’s founding committee
June 8 at 12:00 p.m., Auditorium Theater
Cooking Demo: Rick Bayless
Printer’s Row always offers a number of cooking demonstrations from renowned chefs and cookbook authors. This year Chicago restaurant owner and winner of Top Chef: Masters Rick Bayless will demonstrate his modern twist on Mexican cuisine for the foodies in attendance.
June 8 at 1:45 p.m., Good Eating Stage
Mystery Writers Flash Fiction Contest
Flash fiction focuses on telling a complete story with a limited amount of words. One of a variety of interactive events, this contest will let festival attendees try their hands at the medium. Crime and mystery novelists Barbara D’Amato, Raymond Benson, and Sara Paretsky will help coach contestants through this challenging style.
June 8 at 2:00 p.m., Center Stage
Winner of the 2013 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize, Judy Blume’s pioneering children’s and young adult novels were some of the first in the genre to address tough subjects such as divorce, racism and sexuality. She will be talking with Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Julia Keller.
June 9 at 2:00 p.m., Harold Washington Library Center/Cindy Pritzker Auditorium