Story Week Festival of Writers | Festival | Chicago Reader

Story Week Festival of Writers 

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Columbia College's eighth annual literary festival, hosted by its fiction writing department (and for the first time stretching its "week" to ten days, to overlap with the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference being held in Chicago), features readings, book signings, and panels with local and national writers under the theme "Story and the Sister Arts." Events run Thursday, March 18, through Saturday, March 27, at locations in the Loop (Harold Washington Library Center, Columbia College, Chicago Cultural Center, Palmer House Hilton) and at several neighborhood venues (Cafe Penelope, Chopin Theatre, Empty Bottle, Metro). All are free unless otherwise noted. For more information call 312-344-7611 or 312-344-8559 or see

Thursday, March 18

John McNally, Colson Whitehead

The novelists read their work. Harold Washington Library Center, auditorium, 400 S. State. 6:30 PM.

Friday, March 19

Fiction Writing Department Alumni and Student Reading

Featuring Herb Jackson, Phillip Klapperich, and Judy Veramendi. Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark. 6:30 PM. A reception follows; 21 and over only.

Saturday, March 20

Under the Influence

Panel on "artistic influences and the process of creation" with visual artists Philip Hartigan and Scott Nava, dancer Deb Siegel, and writers Ann Hemenway, Steve Kapelke, and Judy Veramendi. Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. 2 PM.

The Empty Chalices

Performance of excerpts from Judy Veramendi's play about Uruguayan poet Delmira Agustini. Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. 4 PM. A reception follows in the Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Audrey Niffenegger, Richard G. Stern

Novelists Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife) and Stern (Pacific Tremors) read their work. Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. 6 PM.


Screening of the film by Hakim Bellabes, described by the Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum as a "striking and poetic experimental feature." Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. 7 PM.

Sunday, March 21

Readings in the Raw

Readings by Columbia College fiction writing department graduate students. Cafe Penelope, 234 S. Ashland. 6:30 PM.

Monday, March 22

Fiction Writing Department Part-time Faculty Open Mike Reading

Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. 10:30 AM.

What's the Story?

Panelists discuss "the role of the narrative on their artistic endeavors"; with dancer-choreographer Michael Cole, writers Maggie Kast and Shawn Shiflett, visual artist Leonard Lehrer, composer Gustavo Leone, filmmaker Bruce Sheridan, and photographer Bob Thall; moderated by novelist Antonia Logue. Columbia College, Ferguson Theater, 600 S. Michigan. 1:30 PM.

The Brian Costello Show

Novelist John McNally guests on "America's longest-running, most critically acclaimed live talk show." Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. $3. 8 PM. 21 and over only.

Tuesday, March 23

Fiction Writing Department Full-time Faculty Reading

Featuring Andrew Allegretti, Don De Grazia, and Patricia Ann McNair. Columbia College, Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash. 2 PM.

Student Board Open Mike Reading

Featuring students from the fiction writing department. Columbia College, Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash. 4 PM.

Story in the Professions

Panelists discuss the role storytelling plays in their work; with therapist Blair Barbour, Eli Lilly senior writer Rob Friedman, attorney Richard McLeese, journalist Marianne Murciano, Columbia College writing professor emeritus John Schultz, and Columbia College marketing communications chair Margaret Sullivan. Columbia College, Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash. 7:30 PM.

Wednesday, March 24

Harry Mark Petrakis

The novelist (Twilight of the Ice) reads his work and answers questions from the audience. Columbia College, Residence Hall, 731 S. Plymouth Court. 2 PM.

The Next Step: A Publishing Panel

Publishing executive Elizabeth Crow, Paris Review editor Brigid Hughes, Grove/Atlantic editor Amy Hundley, "Stories on Stage" producer Kathe Telingator, writer Harry Mark Petrakis, and agent Stephanie von Hirschberg discuss "the mechanics of submission and publication." Columbia College, Residence Hall, 731 S. Plymouth Court. 3 PM.

Literary Rock & Roll, Chicago Style!

Readings by Elizabeth Crane (When the Messenger Is Hot), Aleksandar Hemon (Nowhere Man), and Shawn Shiflett (Hidden Place). Music by Bumpus follows. Metro, 3730 N. Clark. 6 PM. All ages.

Thursday, March 25

Shawn Shiflett

F Magazine hosts a conversation with the writer. Columbia College, 11th-floor faculty lounge, 624 S. Michigan. Noon.

Playing the Story

Novelist Jeffery Renard Allen (Rails Under My Back) reads; Allen and musician Corky Siegel discuss "the interaction between music and narrative"; and Siegel closes with a concert. Chicago Cultural Center, Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington. 6 PM.

Friday, March 26

Conversations: Text and Image

Panelists discuss "the use of text and image in artistic endeavors"; with Columbia College fiction writing department chair Randall Albers, visual artist Matt Siber, photographer Lynn Sloan, and Museum of Contemporary Photography director Rod Slemmons. Columbia College, Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan. 6 PM.

Piece by Piece

Collaborative multimedia work by writers Elizabeth Crane, Lott Hill, Joe Meno, and Megan Stielstra and visual and performing artists. Copresented by Sleepwalk magazine and Barefoot Productions. Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division. $3. 10:30 PM.

Saturday, March 27

Publishing Panel Q & A

Discussion with novelists Jeffery Renard Allen, Antonia Logue, and Joe Meno. For high school students. Columbia College, Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash. 3 PM.

Young Authors High School Writing Contest Awards Ceremony

First-place winners are honored, followed by readings and an open mike. Columbia College, Hokin Gallery, 623 S. Wabash. 3:30 PM.

Meet the Authors

Mingle with Story Week authors in conjunction with the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference. Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe. 5:30 PM.

Jane Hamilton, Lorrie Moore

Novelists Hamilton (Disobedience) and Moore (Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?) read their work and answer questions from the audience. Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe. 8:30 PM.

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