About the Founder

Mare SwallowMare Swallow was raised in the shadows of the steel mills on the southeast side of Chicago. Walking to the neighborhood library, joining summer book clubs, and attending theater camp kept her busy in those childhood years. She’s always loved writing — keeping a diary and journaling about her life for over 30 years.

Previously, Mare studied acting and is a graduate of Second City and Improv Olympic. She founded First Date Productions where she wrote and produced her own one-woman play, My Dirty Little Secret, receiving Critic’s Choice in the Chicago Reader. She also acted in numerous small independent films, plays and commercials, including a Saudi Arabian cigarette ad. For the past year, she has hosted and produced the Chicago Publishes podcast (currently on hiatus).

In 2011, Mare co-founded CreatorCamp Chicago which was a half-day event that brought together Chicago’s writers, artists, musicians, and designers to share new ideas and creative practices. Then, after writing her own book and discovering that it was difficult to meet agents in her home town, she founded the Chicago Writers Conference. CWC brings writers together for an informative and fun weekend conference to network with other writers, rub elbows with publishers, and connect with agents. The inaugural conference in 2012 was held at historic Tribune Tower. CWC 2013 is being held September 27-29, 2013 at the Chicago Public Library, Harold Washington Center.

Mare currently lives on the north-side of Chicago where she writes personal essays and performs at live lit events throughout the city. When she’s not performing or planning the Chicago Writers Conference, she runs a successful business as a public speaker and training consultant. Always up for an adventure, Mare loves traveling and exploring other cities with her husband. Most recently, she visited Memphis, where she rode the old trolleys and made a trek to Graceland. After the conference, she’s looking forward to sipping mojitos on a beach while reading a trashy novel.

PHOTO CREDIT: Birkenheur Photography