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By Kate Gardiner in Arts & Entertainment on May 19, 2009 5:20PM

Pilcrow. That's the word for that funny little paragraph marker that pops up when you press the wrong formatting button in Word. But lately, Pilcrow has come to mean something else entirely: Chicago's first summer literary festival. It's pre-summer, technically, but the second-ever book-centric event kicked off with drinks and merriment Sunday night at the Elbo Room. It continues throughout the week at venues throughout the city, bringing together everyone from the indie people who write the books to indie presses that publish 'em.

The schedule is online, but some of the highlights include:

  • Tonight: Stop by for a quickie? Chicago's flash fiction community is gathering to read complete short stories in five minutes or less at the Innertown Pub (7:30 p.m., 21+)
  • Wednesday: Picture people and graphic artists conglomerate at The Whistler for the Show n' Tell Show (7pm, 21+) for a live talk show featuring David Barringer, Doug Fogelson, Paul Hornschemeier, Zach Huelsing, Matt Kessler and Jay Ryan.
  • Thursday: (10:30 p.m.) 2nd Story @ Strawdog Theater, $10. Drink wine, hear stories. Hang out.
  • Saturday: From 9:15 a.m., network, hang out and learn from workshops at at Trader Todd's and Matilda's. The free panels and workshops are targeted at the working author: from the "how-tos" of publishing to surviving the recession and social media, panel organizers hope to help and guide writers towards their end goals.

The events conclude with a Literary Death Match, (7 p.m., Viaduct Theater, $12): a "read off" between representatives from reading series Chicago-wide for the title of Death Match Champion. Proceeds go to Opium Magazine and the Young Chicago Authors.