Talents from the literary community were on display at the third annual Chicago Book Expo at Columbia College on Saturday, December 6 from 11am-5pm. Eighty-five booths blanketing two floors of the college’s campus at 1104 South Wabash housed authors selling their books, presses promoting works by their authors, and literary journals showcasing their work and providing information on their submission processes to visiting writers; other associations, groups, nonprofits and educational institutions were also on hand to promote their unique approaches to writing and publishing. There was something for every literary taste, from Rose Metal Press’ beautiful hybrid chapbooks to Appoet’s interactive mobile application that transforms two-dimensional stories into three-dimensional tales that interact with the time and space of the reader, to “After Hours,” a literary journal dedicated to the poetry and prose of Chicago authors. Mystery novels, parenting guides and history books also filled the booths of this animated event that drew in about a thousand visitors.
Patrons at the Expo also enjoyed a literary conference in addition to the book fair, and experienced the difficulties one faces at all quality conferences: Which lectures to attend? Talks were held simultaneously on a rolling basis throughout the day. Various novelists, screenwriters, essayists and others held hour-long informational talks and question and answer sessions on topics varying from the literary legacy of Nelson Algren with Michael Caplan and Bill Savage to the history of black Chicago with Gerald Butters, Elaine Hegwood Bowen and Lowell Thompson to a discussion on the art of writing with Ana Castillo and Cristina Henriquez. Local authors including Megan Stielstra and Dan Campana shared readings from their latest books, while writers covering the recent Chicago teachers’ strike discussed education and politics in Chicago.
The Expo concluded with a poetry reading, followed by a walking tour with Paul Durica, the founder of Pocket Guide to Hell, a series of events and reenactments that depict Chicago’s past. (Amy Friedman)
For a complete list of speakers or a schedule of the day’s events, please visit chicagobookexpo.org.