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Get Psyched For Printers Row Lit Fest

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 7, 2010 6:00PM

2010_06LitFest.jpg We cracked open our Sunday Trib yesterday to see a column by Julia Keller titled “As Lit Fest nears, a query: What's the future of books?” And we realized that the Printers Row Lit Fest just snuck up on us. For months, we’ve been hearing about the mind-blowing number of authors, booksellers, publishers, literacy organizations and even chefs who will be squeezed into five Printers Row neighborhood blocks on June 12 and 13. Most authors we’ve highlighted in the Chicagoist Chicago Author Spotlight series will be present. Actually, almost everyone we’ve spoken to in regards to writing, publishing and reading in Chicago will have a booth or an event.

Due to the sheer volume of all that’s happening at the festival, we can’t highlight it all. There’s absolutely something for all interest levels and ages, so we think it’s best to check the Printers Row schedule of events yourself. But here are a few things you can do over the next week to prepare.

Plan how you want to spend your time (within reason). If you've ever been to Lollapalooza, you know it's impossible to see every band on your list. Lit Fest is no different. Over the course of the weekend, 125,000 people will be weaving through the 11 stages, 100+ booths and 150+ booksellers and will be attending hundreds of events, panel discussions and demonstrations. Now is a good time to check out the schedule and make a short list of what you absolutely want to do. But don't micromanage the weekend. Make sure to leave some time to wander around.

Reserve your seat for ticketed events. Although the seats are free, but you must reserve a ticket for all events at Harold Washington Library Center. A few of the events are already sold out (we reserved our tickets to Anne Lamott weeks ago), so we recommend registering asap for anything that might interest you. Ticketing for all events closes on Thursday at 5 p.m. Tickets remain for the following:

Get in the Lit Fest zone on Twitter. Printers Row has compiled an official list of participating authors, speakers, moderators and vendors. See what they're chatting about leading up to their events.

Register to volunteer. Volunteering has proven to be the best way to score free lunch and a free t-shirt and to get in on the behind-the-scenes action. There are 10 different volunteer jobs available, which include duties such as escorting authors, manning the kids' corner and providing support to the good eating tent. All the Saturday shifts are full, but there are still a few spots open on Sunday from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Orientation is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, but is not required. Register here.

Clean out your bookshelves. Non-profit sponsor Open Books, the literacy organization and bookstore that operates entirely on donated books, will be collecting books. All proceeds from their book sales go to fund their literacy programs for both kids and adults, and the store repurposes or recycles anything they can't sell. If you're already planning on attending Lit Fest, you might as well get rid of some books in the name of literacy.