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Chicago Classics
Chicago Classics

Chicago Classics

A dozen or so years into producing the Story Week Festival of Writers he had founded, Randall Albers was looking for something fresh, something that no one had thought of yet. Tucked away over whiskeys in the back room of the Billy Goat, he asked Rick Kogan, “OK, Rick, if you were going to do something new for Story Week, what would it be? Give me an idea.” Without hesitating, Rick said, “I’d get a whole bunch of people—writers, actors, politicians, bus drivers, whatever—and have them read their favorite half-page of a Chicago book.”

Randy jumped on the idea, and for quite a few years, Rick hosted just such an event, usually in Preston Bradley Hall, with 18 people doing five minutes apiece of incredibly varied choices. Story Week’s last hurrah was in 2015—funding issues halted the glorious festival after 19 years.

Fast forward. With Randy now serving as CLHOF’s board president, it seemed only natural to reprise Chicago Classics. The venerable series represents everything at the heart of CLHOF’s mission. The old format hardly needed refinement: we were set to resume the annual live show in late 2020.

And then came Covid. So we instead invited people to create videos, which we have dubbed Chicago Quarantine Classics. When the crisis is over, we may have both live presentations and more videos.

These short presentations highlight a cross-section of our great literary heritage—past, present, and future.

Would you like to share your favorite Chicago work? Email us with your idea and we’ll let you know how to become one of our Chicago Classic readers.

Randy Albers Reads Saul Bellow

Thursday, May 14, 2020


Mary Livoni reads Stuart Dybek

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Floyd Sullivan reads Ring Lardner

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


Robert Duffer Reads Richard Wright

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


Avery Cunningham Reads Lorraine Hansberry

Friday, June 26, 2020


Joann Fastoff Reads Lorraine Hansberry

Wednesday, June 24, 2020


Barry Benson Reads Frank Marshall Davis

Thursday, June 18, 2020


Jessica Keller Reads Fredric Brown

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


Albert DeGenova Reads Nelson Algren

Friday, June 12, 2020


Jeffery Wayne Helgeson Reads Saul Bellow

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


Billy Lombardo Reads Joe Meno

Monday, June 8, 2020


David Berner Reads Sherwood Anderson

Friday, May 29, 2020


Rita Dragonette Reads W. Somerset Maugham

Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Don Evans Reads Frank London Brown

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


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