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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.

Julia Borcherts Reads Rick Kogan’s Beer and baseball: Reunited, and it feels so good

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


Barbara Gregorich Reads from “Veeck As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck” for the Chicago (Baseball) Classics

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


Ira Berkow Reads from “Wrigley Field: An Oral And Narrative History Of The Home Of The Chicago Cubs” for the Chicago (Baseball) Classics

Tuesday, April 6, 2021


John Freyer Reads “Baseball from a Colored Point of View” Chicago Tribune, August 24, 1870 for the Chicago (Baseball) Classics

Saturday, April 3, 2021


Peter Orner Reads Bette Howland During the Chicago (Love) Classics

Sunday, February 14, 2021


Dipika Mukherjee Reads Ifti Nasim During the Chicago (Love) Classics

Sunday, February 14, 2021


Michele Morano Reads Ana Castillo During the Chicago (Love) Classics

Sunday, February 14, 2021


Toya Wolfe Reads Gwendolyn Brooks During the 2020 Online Fundraiser

Thursday, December 10, 2020


Carlos Cumpián Reads David Hernandez During the 2020 Online Fundraiser

Thursday, December 10, 2020


Michael Drobot Reads Audrey Niffenegger — Special FIT/LIT Edition

Tuesday, December 8, 2020


Roberta Rubin Reads Dr. Michael S. Lewis

Wednesday, November 4, 2020


Jennifer Shanahan Reads Greg Kot

Thursday, October 29, 2020


Kathleen Rooney Reads Trumbull Park by Frank London Brown

Tuesday, September 1, 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


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