The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Columbia College Story Week Draws Inspiration From Urban Tales In Year 18

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 14, 2014 10:00PM


The midway point of March is the signal for many things: St. Patrick's Day and its attendant bacchanalia; baseball season is on its way (normally dead on arrival); nature stutters on her transition from winter to spring.

Then there's Columbia College's Story Week: Festival of Writers to celebrate storytelling and writing in all its forms. From March 16 through March 21 Columbia College Chicago's Department of Creative Writing hosts workshops, readings, panels, discussions, live performances and book signings featuring authors, poets, essayists and novelists from Chicago and across the country. All of these events are free to the public. This year's theme, "DiverCity: Urban Stories," looks at how urban landscapes influence us as writers.

The festivities kick off, as they have in previous years, with 2nd Story, 6 p.m. March 16 at Martyrs' (3855 N. Lincoln Ave.). Storytellers Julia Borcherts, Darwyn Jones, Sahar Mustafah and Nicole Chakalis will read and the Harold Washington Trio will handle the musical chores. Other featured events of note include a conversation and Q&A called "Why the Short Story" 2 p.m. March 17 at the Harold Washington Library's Cindy Pritzker Auditorium featuring authors Stuart Dybek, Roxane Gay, Katey Schultz and Christine Sneed. Dybek will also read at the Harold Washington Library at 6 p.m. on the 17th as part of a conversation and signing with Bookslut senior editor Donna Seaman. (400 S. State St.)

Chicagoist fave Barry Gifford will read from his works including his new collection of short stories The Roy Diaries at 2 p.m. March 17 at Columbia College's Film Row Cinema (1104 S. Wabash). If you ever had any questions about how Gifford came to write Wild at Heart or Lost Highway this would be an opportunity to get them out of your system.

Writers interested in learning about the publishing side of things should pencil in "The Publishing Ecosystem" panel at the Harold Washington Library's Pritzker Auditorium 2 p.m. March 19, while writers looking to forge a career as translators should beeline to the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse (1400 N. Sacramento Ave.) for "Translation Matters," a panel discussion with Achy Obejas, Kolin Jordan, Cristina Garcia, Valeria Luiselli and host Susan Harris of Words without Borders.

March 20 features "Literary Rock & Roll," an evening of readings and signings at Metro. Among the featured authors signing books is Eric Charles May, whose new book Bedrock Faith is set in Chicago's South Side in 1993. The band Street Sounds will pay tribute to the work of poet and musician David Hernandez, who died last year.

For a full lineup of events and featured writers, check out the Story Week website.