Sunday, August 1, 2021
Oak Park Brewing Company
155 S. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park, IL 60302
Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks, which hangs in the Art Institute, has been the subject of much literary exploration. Stuart Dybek and Joyce Carol Oates are among the authors who’ve used the painting in their own fictional explorations. Hopper himself was inspired, according to some reliable accounts, to create the masterpiece after reading Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers, a short story set near Chicago at a diner much like the one in the painting. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame will team up with Phantom Collective, the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, and Oak Park Brewing Company to create an intimate staged reading. June Sawyers’s original script Nighthawks: A Theatrical Meditation on Solitude and Loneliness brings Hopper’s 1942 iconic painting to life through the intersection of music, poetry, and fiction. Bookended by the songs of Tom Waits and incorporating the work of Hemingway and Dybek, among others, Nighthawks is a hybrid theatre piece directed by J. R. Sullivan and starring acclaimed Chicago actors Si Osborne as Edward Hopper and Amy Montgomery as his wife, and fellow artist, Jo Hopper. Doors opened at 5 p.m. for those wishing to dine off of OPB’s menu.
Thursday, June 24 to Thursday, July 22
4-5 p.m. CST
Jerakah Greene, recent recipient of the Pen America 2021 Emerging Voices Fellowships, will lead this summer's Chicago Literary Hall of Fame virtual creative writing workshop for high school students. "Chicago Voices" is free, but registration is required. Throughout this one-month workshop, high school-aged students from across Chicagoland will form their own writing community engaged in reading and writing exercises related to the city. Jerakah will help students find and develop their own voices as they produce and elevate work inspired by their lives, their city, and a diverse selection of notable Chicago literature. The workshop meets 4-5 p.m. CST every Thursday from June 24 until July 22.
Greene graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Creative Writing and a double minor in Literature and Gender Studies. Greene was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Prize in 2019 for stories published in Crabfat Magazine (October 2019) and Impossible Archetype (Issue 6). Greene moved back to their hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma, after they were awarded a position in Tulsa Service Year, a pilot program aimed at pulling recent college graduates from all over the country to better the Tulsa community. Greene has started work at Tulsa Public Schools.
Read more about Greene in an interview on our blog.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
7 p.m. CDT
Cyrus Colter’s 1970 short story “The Lookout,” in which aspiring socialite Mildred stalks a Woodlawn street to witness the goings on at a party to which she was not invited, was dramatized in a special theatrical reading. Mardra Thomas directed and starred in a staged reading of Sandra Seaton’s adaptation. Eric May introduced Colter and his work. Afterward, Mardra and Sandra, who has written two other one-act plays based on Colter stories, participated in a question and answer with the Zoom crowd. The Guild Literary Complex, Cliff Dwellers, and Chicago Writers Association teamed up with the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame to present this program.
Special permission is given to use these portions of music from “Fade To Blue” written and recorded by Mardra and Reginald Thomas (MRT Jazz Productions) in this June 12, 2021 Zoom Production of “The Lookout”.
Friday, June 4 through Saturday, September 4
Evenings and Weekends, Mostly
Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Fit/Lit returns for the summer, and the new session is open to all ages.
What It Is: A community of Chicago book lovers reading Chicago literature and plotting excursions based upon local writers and their books. The idea is to read about and see more of Chicago to deepen our appreciation of our city’s history (literary and otherwise) while reaping the health benefits of some good walks (or bike rides).
How it Works: Register for the session (there is a totally optional suggested donation; donate for yourself, donate for your family, or just join our group). Use our Discord Channel to post reactions (in writing, pictures, or video form) to what you’re reading and seeing. View and respond to the posts of others. In other words, engage with others in our community. Join us on our weekly socially distanced outings to places like the Eugene Field Memorial in the Lincoln Park Zoo or the Gwendolyn Brooks statue in Brooks Park. Let others know about your own outings and if you feel comfortable inviting group members to meet up. (We always wear masks). Once, every other week, usually on a Sunday evening, join our Zoom session to talk about some of what we've seen and read.
Where to Find Ideas: We will use the Discord Channel to post resources, like suggested reading lists, that will help you shape your self-guided reading and touring activities. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame website is a primary source of materials on literary sites, authors, and books.
Why You Should Do It: This is a way to set goals and focus on activities that are both enrichening and entertaining. Just as some people record their steps as a way to monitor their fitness activity, we will (optionally) record our pages read and steps taken. For example, a daily goal might be 100 pages and 10,000 steps.
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Independent Bookstore Day, a national celebration that usually features scavenger hunts, giveaways, frosted goodies, and so forth and so on, will, like everything else, be subdued in 2021 because of the corona virus. Although many stores are open, there are severe limits on the number of people that can gather safely, and hours of operation.
So...the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame facilitated a live “Inside for Indies” program featuring author Faisal Mohyuddin and also pop-ins at some of our cherished indpendent stores, including Women & Children First bookstore, Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore, Seminary Co-op Bookstore, The Dial Bookshop, and Bookie’s bookstore. Jim Garner will host. The event was free and open to the public.
Jim Garner and a cast of Chicago authors joined together early in this pandemic to raise awareness and money for Chicago’s struggling independent bookstores. Jim called his creation, “Inside for Indies,” and each episode featured an author showing off his home and writing space. A concerted effort was made to direct donations to local stores like The Book Cellar, and also to the American Booksellers Association, which was distributing funds to bookstores in need.
Faisal Mohyuddin reads for the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on Independent Bookstore Day
Jim Garner interviews Roberta Rubin during the live, “Inside for Indies” program. They talk about the bookstore business, authors, and the American Writers Museum.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Free and Open to the Public
Advanced Registration Required
Our themed series of Chicago Classics continues, with a proper celebration of the start (hopefully) of a new baseball season. Our beloved baseball teams have inspired a whole canon of great literature, from memoirs to short stories to detective novels to plays like Bleacher Bums. An all-star lineup of readers will share some of their favorite Chicago baseball passages. Pulitzer Prize winner Ira Berkow, born and raised in Chicago and a New York Times columnist these past four decades, will lead a lineup of notable literary baseball people. John Freyer will give tribute to Chicago's contribution to the Negro Leagues, in honor of its recent, official recognition by Major League Baseball as a Major League concern. Barbara Gregorich will give us a sampling from She's on First, her novel about the first female Major League player, before she reads her Classic selection. Billy Lombardo and Julia Borcherts will serve as our co-hosts.
March 13, 2021
Renowned writer Sandra Cisneros receives the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's Fuller Award for lifetime achievement.
Sandra Cisneros, the poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer, and artist whose work beautifully and profoundly explores working class lives and landscapes, will receive the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s Fuller Award for lifetime achievement. If the Zoom webinar reaches capacity and you cannot join, you can view the full program on YouTube here.
Carlos Cumpián will serve as the master of ceremonies for the evening, and a lineup of speakers that includes Jorge Valdivia and Richard Bray, will give short tributes. Donna Seaman will interview Sandra after her acceptance speech, with audience members invited to submit questions. More speakers and details will be added throughout the next couple of weeks. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required in advance.
Women & Children First have put together a list of Cisneros’ most popular titles for purchase. Browse here!
The American Writers Museum, Chicago Public Library, and National Museum of Mexican Art will co-present the award. Literature For All of Us, Guild Literary Complex, Chicago History Museum, Loyola University Chicago Creative Writing Program, StoryStudio Chicago, Open Books, Sarabande Books, Make Literary Productions, the Chicago Poetry Center, Greater Reach Consulting, Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart, Vintage & Anchor Books, the Hawkins Project, and Kaye Publicity, Loyola University Chicago Women's Studies/Gender Studies, DePaul University English Department, and 826CHI are among the partners for the event. Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has also provided support to the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.
Saturday, March 13, 2021
Free and Open to the Public
Register in Advance
Sandra Cisneros, the poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer, and artist whose work beautifully and profoundly explores working class lives and landscapes, will receive the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s Fuller Award for lifetime achievement. The event is free and open to the public, but you must register in advance. A native Chicagoan, Cisneros started her illustrious career with the 1980 publication of the poetry chapbook Bad Boys, and soon rose to the top of the literary stratosphere with her 1984 young adult novel, The House on Mango Street. The coming-of-age story, which follows, in a series of vignettes, a year in the life of Esperanza Cordero, quickly became one of the most adored books of her generation, an almost must-read at schools throughout the country. Her literary outpouring continued with an incredible array of poems, stories, memoirs, and essays, including her most recent work, A House of My Own: Stories from My Life (2015). Cisneros is the recipient of many of the literary world’s most prestigious awards, including the American Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's honor reflects upon Cisneros’s rightful place as one of our greatest contemporary authors, and also acknowledges the enormous influence she has had on our literary and cultural life. Carlos Cumpián will serve as the master of ceremonies for the evening, and a lineup of speakers that includes Norma Alarcón, Jorge Valdivia, Sonia Saldívar-Hull, and Richard Bray, will give short tributes. Donna Seaman will interview Sandra after her acceptance speech, with audience members invited to submit questions. The complete speaker lineup will be posted soon. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required in advance.
The American Writers Museum, Chicago Public Library and National Museum of Mexican Art will co-present the award. Literature For All of Us, Guild Literary Complex, Chicago History Museum, Loyola University Chicago Creative Writing Program, Loyola University Women's Studies/Gender Studies, StoryStudio Chicago, Open Books, Sarabande Books, Make Literary Productions, the Chicago Poetry Center, Greater Reach Consulting, DePaul University English Department, the Hawkins Project, Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart, 826CHI, Vintage & Anchor Books, and Kaye Publicity are among the partners for the event. Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has also provided support to the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. Register through Eventbrite.
Saturday, February 13, 2021
In the first of several themed Chicago Classics this year, a group of extraordinary writers will read to us about love. Chicago natives Jacquelyn Mitchard, Peter Orner, and Dipika Mukherjee lead a lineup filled with authors with much to say on the subject. Each will treat us to a sampling of one of her or his own books as well as a favorite Chicago book. Michele Morano, whose recent memoir Like Love, takes a deep and fascinating dive into the subject, will emcee the event. The event, held virtually via Zoom, is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
Friday, January 29, 2021
This interactive seminar is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $25 for those who want to contribute. We want you to attend whether you decide to donate or not. Register through Eventbrite.
For Sterling North and Carl Kroch's recipe collection, So Red the Nose, Oak Park native Ernest Hemingway contributed a cocktail named for his book, Death in the Afternoon: “Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly." Chicagoan Edgar Rice Burroughs contributed "Tarzan Cocktail" to that same recipe book. Raymond Chandler, a Chicago native, mentions a Champagne Cocktail in his masterpiece The Big Sleep. F. Scott Fitzgerald, who modeled a variety of his characters on well-heeled Lake Forest friends he made on several visits during his Princeton days, calls out the Gin Rickey in his novel, The Great Gatsby.
These and other Chicago literary-themed concotions will be part of the menu as mixologist Ryan Prindle, formerly of Band of Bohemia and other watering holes, leads an interactive, virtual class in bartending. Consider it a combination happy hour and seminar, as participants drink along to Ryan's instructive, entertaining class.
Register in advance; limited number of spots available.