As mentioned in our last few posts, Chicago Publishes is going on hiatus until further notice. Thanks to all of you for reading and supporting Chicago publishing through your participation. We have loved writing about and getting to know Chicago’s rich, exciting, quirky, wonderful literary community, and we hope to be up and running again soon. Please refer to the following resources for updates on local literary news, events, and networking opportunities:
In our last podcast before Chicago Publishes goes on hiatus, reporters Mare Swallow and Sarah McJohn visit with author and Audrey Niffenegger. Hear about how she came to be an occasional tour guide at Highgate Cemetery, and how she works among three different artistic formats.
This week, Mare Swallow chats with author Aleksandar Hemon. An accomplished novelist and short story writer, he is the recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant, and his work appears regularly in The New Yorker. In this podcast, Aleksandar talks about his first jobs in Chicago, and what type of writing he will not do. (Author Image: Velibor Bozovic)
“I’m sure that Chicago has completely seeped into everything I do,” says Ivan Brunetti, our featured June banner artist, “but I’m not consciously aware of it when I’m working. I can’t even imagine living anywhere else at this point. I’m always drawing Chicago, because that’s the air that I breathe.” Brunetti, who has brought his satirical, doom-and-gloom aesthetic to cartooning, illustrating, writing, anthologizing, and teaching, talked with Chicago Publishes about his past projects and current work.
This week’s literary escapade led us to the South Shore, a lakefront neighborhood nine miles southeast of the Loop. Originally built as an annex of model homes during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, South Shore is now home to a vibrant collection of community builders, writers, and writing groups. There’s plenty to explore and participate in, so be sure to check local websites for upcoming events!
Step Right into the Pages of The Great Gatsby
While walking through the South Shore Cultural Center and its sprawling grounds, it is hard not to imagine yourself living in the heyday of the roaring twenties. Originally opened in 1905 as the members-only South Shore Country Club, the complex served as a recreational playground for the likes of Jean Harlow and Amelia Earhart. At the time, a few of the Club’s offerings included a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, a bowling green, horse stables, and fine dining. Renamed the South Shore Cultural Center in 1975, the complex is now owned by the Chicago Park District. Many of the original facilities are still open and available for use by the public. Located at 71st Street and South Shore Drive, the South Shore Cultural Center also presents arts programs in every discipline, including many literary offerings. Check out the Center’s upcoming programs here and plan a visit. From unobstructed views of the Chicago skyline and historic architecture to pristine beaches and a butterfly garden, you will be sure to find inspiration for your next writing project.
FUN FACT: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama held their wedding reception at this historic building almost two decades ago.
Chicago Author Patrick Somerville (The Universe in Miniature In Miniature, 2010) will be celebrating the release of his second novel—he’s authored short story collections, too—This Bright River on Tuesday June, 26 at7pm at the Book Cellar. The release is a nice way to celebrate this local success in a local way at one of the city’s loveliest small book shops. As of June 30, Chicago Publishes will be going on a hiatus until further notice, so please come out and say hello!
This Bright River (Little, Brown) has already been lauded by critics, including Kirkus Review and Oprah.com, and describes the stories of two lives, each wracked with its own turbulent history, as they converge and transform. Ben and Lauren were momentary acquaintances in high school, working together on a science project, which carries a strange significance despite its brevity, for both of them. Their relationship as adults, as well as the ones they have with family and past lovers, drugs and violence, and with the small Wisconsin town in which they grew up are very much alive throughout the novel and drive the story forward. The book is about a lot of things, but apart from those concrete and engaging plot points, it’s about the act of telling, or not telling, another person your story.
Somerville will read from the novel and there will be a question and answer period at the end, presented by Gapers Block’s literary page, Book Club. There may also be opportunities for attendees to win free copies of the book.
As this will be our last event post for the foreseeable future, we hope you’ll check back in our archives to see the events we’ve covered in the past when developing your own programming or if you’re looking to get a sense of Chicago’s contemporary lit scene.
This will be our last resources post until further notice as Chicago Publishes is going on hiatus. Please do check into our archive for ongoing opportunities.
In an economic climate that is in need of the arts more than ever, Chicago Publishes set out to find grants and funding support for both individual writers and literary-related arts organizations in the Chicagoland area. We hope this list of Grants Resources will help you fund your next publishing venture!
The Awesome Foundation is, well, awesome! The Chicago Chapter is notable for funding projects like the Poetry + QL Codes and the Neighborhood Little Free Library. Awesome “micro” grants are awarded up to $1,000 for projects that meet the criteria of “micro” brilliance. The grants are awarded with no strings attached and the Awesome Foundation claims no ownership of the projects funded. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and distributed monthly. For more information or apply for an Awesome grant, visit: http://www.awesomefoundation.org/
Sunday Soup is curated by InCUBATE, the Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday. Grants are unrestricted and support small and medium-sized projects. Funds for Sunday Soup are generated through community engagement, according to the following guidelines: “collect grant proposals, cook a meal, invite people to pay and eat, and have the diners democratically allocate the meal’s profits.”