Tribune’s Printer’s Row Lit Fest is a Bookworm Utopia: Hot Spots To Check Out

Lina Benich ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

With the humid heat of a Chicago summer bearing down on Dearborn Street, literature enthusiasts from all over gathered today for the first day in a weekend of events planned for this year’s 30th Annual Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest. Tent upon tent lined the closed streets of the Printer’s Row pocket of Chicago, with every local publishing house under the sun, and large tented stages played host to a variety of events throughout the day. Here are some of the highlights of Saturday:

“2nd Story: Flash Back to the 90s”

In a format  similar to “This American Life” and the “Moth” podcasts, this event showcased the storytelling talents of a group called 2nd Story, by having three writers communicate autobiographical tales from their experiences in the Nineties. A Pig Dissection, an unconventional prom, and a run-in with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade gave the origins to the performers’ stories, but they also showed a powerful and real look at a time when nothing made sense. Performers Coya Paz, Sahar Mustafah, and Bobby Biedrzycki spoke, and the event will be broadcast on their Podcast later this week.

“Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” in conversation with Kevin Nance”

The author of the 2005 Border’s Original Voices Award YA-novel Elsewhere, Gabrielle Zevin spoke with Kevin Nance about her newest novel “The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry” a tale of a curmudgeonly Bookseller Fikry and the publishing world he inhabits. The premise of this novel provided a nice springboard for Zevin and Nance to speak about Zevin’s experience in the publishing world, her respect for local booksellers, and her opinions on YA and adult novels. The conversation as a whole also informed the audience about the intricacies of getting a book onto the shelves of a local bookstore.

“Mistakes We’ve Made”

In recognition of the idea that mistakes often create the best stories, Podcast “Mistakes We’ve Made,” created by Lenny Gilmore and Jessica Galliart, brought this concept to Lit Fest by having their friends tell stories of their own mistakes in ten minutes each. Tales of missed orders, Kmart Kings, crazy road trips, misinterpreted Ultrasounds, and cameras full of water took the stage at this event, and reminding that everyone makes mistakes. “Mistakes We’ve Made” in podcast form will be published later this week.

“A History of Chicago in Music and Words” with Rick Kogan and Jon Langford

A shining moment in Saturday’s programming, Kogan and Langford teamed up to combine Printer’s Row’s love of storytelling with Chicago’s rich history, as they alternated between Kogan speaking about historical parts of the city (like why it’s called “The Windy City” and where exactly Haymarket is) and Langford using songs written about Chicago to create a profoundly nostalgic and proud opinion of Chicago. This was an amazing part of the Lit Fest, as it showed the great history of Chicago, and reminded those under the lofty tent why they continue to love Chicago.

Tune in this week for a more in-depth look at what Printers Row had to offer!

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