December 8, 2017

Thank you for an amazing five years

This is a difficult note to write, so I’m just going to say it: CWC is shutting down.

In the short space of five years, we grew faster and quicker than we ever anticipated. While this was a great problem to have, we simply didn’t have the resources to support the growth. Most conferences grow out of an organization, a publication, or an association. We had none of those things, just a feisty founder and a handful of energetic volunteers who believed Chicagoans should have a place to meet editors, agents, publishers, and like-minded writers in their own backyard. So they made it happen.

When I look back through our flickr albums, it’s hard to believe we went from an idea to a 2-day conference with donated space to a 3-day, 250-person event with authors like Karen Abbott, Scott Turow, and Sara Paretsky joining us. I am so proud of what our team accomplished over the years.

Over the last two years, our board worked tirelessly to find CWC a new home that would have the infrastructure to keep the annual conference running. It simply did not pan out. So we must move on, shut down the conference, and continue with our literary lives. All of us will still be part of Chicago’s literary landscape, and we hope to see you there.

There were a handful of friends and supporters who helped us get going back in 2012, so I personally want to thank them. My biggest thanks to: Kevin Swallow, Toney W. Merritt, Cheryn & Bob Swallow, Judy Runge, Marcie Ward, Patricia Ann McNair, Robert K. Elder, Barry Benson, Susan Dennison, Amy Davis, Lee Nagan, Andrew Huff, and William Shunn for their help, support, and guidance over the last five years.

And a huge thanks to the organizations that supported us over the last five years: The Chicago Tribune, Northwestern University’s MFA in Creative Writing, The Book Cellar, Chicago Writers Association, Open Books, Barnes & Noble, Tuesday Funk, The Writers Workspace, The School of the Art Institute, The Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison, Agate Publishing, and Chicago Review Press.

And we’d like to thank you – whether you sent us love mail, hate mail, attended a conference, workshop, fundraiser, attended only our free events, or signed up for our email list, THANK YOU. You’re the reason we did this very rewarding and fun work.

Now get back to writing. I hope to see you at another Chicago lit event soon!

Mare Swallow
Founder, Chicago Writers Conference