Chicago Writers Conference http://www.chicagowritersconference.org September 25 - 27, 2015 Thu, 28 May 2015 15:33:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Photos from CWC 2015 Annual Fundraiser http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2015-annual-fundraiser/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2015-annual-fundraiser/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:27:49 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4515 Chicago Writers Conference

Photos from Bad Poetry Night, CWC’s 3rd Annual Party with a Purpose Chicago, IL

Photos from CWC 2015 Annual Fundraiser

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Chicago Writers Conference

Photos from Bad Poetry Night, CWC’s 3rd Annual Party with a Purpose
Chicago, IL

Photos from CWC 2015 Annual Fundraiser

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Photos from #CWC2014: Day 1 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-1/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-1/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:27:07 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4513 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 1 – #CWC2014 University Center October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 1

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 1 – #CWC2014
University Center
October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 1

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Photos from #CWC2014: Day 2 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-2/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-2/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:26:27 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4511 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 2 – #CWC2014 University Center October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 2

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 2 – #CWC2014
University Center
October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 2

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Photos from CWC 2013 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2013/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2013/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:25:40 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4509 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2013 Annual Conference Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Center September 27-29, 2013

Photos from CWC 2013

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2013
Annual Conference
Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Center
September 27-29, 2013

Photos from CWC 2013

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Highlights from CWC 2012 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/highlights-from-cwc-2012/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/highlights-from-cwc-2012/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:24:58 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4507 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2012 Tribune Tower September 14-16, 2012

Highlights from CWC 2012

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2012
Tribune Tower
September 14-16, 2012

Highlights from CWC 2012

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CWC on CANTV http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/cwc-on-cantv/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/cwc-on-cantv/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 11:58:47 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4505 Chicago Writers Conference

The 2nd Annual Chicago Writers Conference will be held from September 27-29, 2013. Mare Swallow, Ines Bellina and Samantha Hoffman discuss Chicago’s literary culture and how the conference has become one of the gathering place for writers from all over the city. Juan Carlos Hernandez hosts the show. This program was produced by Chicago Access […]

CWC on CANTV

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Chicago Writers Conference

The 2nd Annual Chicago Writers Conference will be held from September 27-29, 2013. Mare Swallow, Ines Bellina and Samantha Hoffman discuss Chicago’s literary culture and how the conference has become one of the gathering place for writers from all over the city. Juan Carlos Hernandez hosts the show. This program was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

Watch the video!

CWC on CANTV

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3 Books to Read on Memorial Day http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/19/3-books-to-read-on-memorial-day/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/19/3-books-to-read-on-memorial-day/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:29:40 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4492 Chicago Writers Conference

In honor of Memorial Day, the Chicago Writers Conference has cultivated a short list of books that honor American soldiers. Each selection has been published within the last five years and provides a deeply affecting account of modern warfare. Stop by a local bookstore between barbecues this weekend and check them out! (Photo Credit: Eros […]

3 Books to Read on Memorial Day

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Chicago Writers Conference

Anbar Province Iraq

In honor of Memorial Day, the Chicago Writers Conference has cultivated a short list of books that honor American soldiers. Each selection has been published within the last five years and provides a deeply affecting account of modern warfare. Stop by a local bookstore between barbecues this weekend and check them out! (Photo Credit: Eros Hoagland, Redux)


Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds: A Novel  (2013)

Kevin Powers

This National Book Award Winner tells the story of two unprepared soldiers: twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy in Al Tafar, Iraq. They cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city.

“In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined.”

The New York Times had this to say about The Yellow Birds: “A remarkable first novel…The Yellow Birds is brilliantly observed and deeply affecting: at once a freshly imagined bildungsroman about a soldier’s coming of age, a harrowing story about the friendship of two young men trying to stay alive on the battlefield in Iraq, and a philosophical parable about the loss of innocence and the uses of memory.”

the things they cannot say

The Things They Cannot Say: Stories Soldiers Won’t Tell You About What They’ve Seen, Done or Failed to Do In War (2013)

Kevin Sites

Award-wining journalist Kevin Sites asks difficult questions to eleven soldiers and marines, prompting them to share the rarely heard truth about what it is like to kill, be under fire, and see sights that you can never forget:

“For each of these men, many of whom Sites first met while in Afghanistan and Iraq, the truth means something different. One struggles to recover from a head injury he believes has stolen his ability to love; another attempts to make amends for the killing of an innocent man; yet another finds respect for the enemy fighter who tried to kill him. Sites also shares the unsettling narrative of his own failures during war—including his complicity in a murder—and the redemptive powers of storytelling that saved him from a self-destructive downward spiral.”

The San Francisco Chronicle said this about The Things They Cannot Say: “Sites highlights the importance of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and sharing stories. Most importantly, he forces readers, those average civilians, to look at what war does to people and think about whether it’s always worth it.”

Redeployment Phil Klay

Redeployment (2014)

Phil Klay

Another National Book Award Winner, Phil Klay takes readers to the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with short stories that interweave themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival.

In the moving story that gives the book its title “a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people “who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died.”

“These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.”

The New Yorker says of Redeployment: “The best literary work thus far written by a veteran of America’s recent wars…. Klay’s fiction peels back every pretty falsehood and self-delusion in the encounter between veterans and the people for whom they supposedly fought.”


For more book recommendations, event listings, fun articles, and inspirational quotes like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter. Be on the look out in coming weeks for information about the Chicago Writers Conference 2015!

3 Books to Read on Memorial Day

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A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/05/a-celebration-of-asian-american-authors-in-chicago/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/05/a-celebration-of-asian-american-authors-in-chicago/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 22:25:47 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4424 Chicago Writers Conference

Pictured above from left to right: Vu Tran showing his novel dragonfish, due out August 3, 2015, and Wailin Wong and Alec Nevala-Lee pre-reading at Open Books.  On Friday, May 1, the Chicago Writers Conference with our partner Open Books presented “A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago” in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. The night […]

A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago

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Chicago Writers Conference

asian american reading 2asianamericanreading
Pictured above from left to right: Vu Tran showing his novel dragonfish, due out August 3, 2015, and Wailin Wong and Alec Nevala-Lee pre-reading at Open Books. 

On Friday, May 1, the Chicago Writers Conference with our partner Open Books presented “A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago” in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. The night featured four of Chicago brightest Asian-American authors reading from works old and new. Here’s a recap of the night’s highlights and a brief spotlight on each of the authors current work.
  • Wailin Wong re-created a podcast, mixing audio with live reading. This podcast about The World’s Largest Laundromat was produced for The Distance.
  • Vu Tran, a Whitings Writers’ Award winner, read from his forthcoming novel, dragonfish. He prefaced the reading by warning us that he could only do “a bad Vietnamese accent.” When he got to the part where a character spoke with a Vietnamese accent, Vu paused and said to the audience, “I feel like Al Pacino!’
  • Alec Nevala-Lee, read Kawataro, a science fiction piece written in tribute to Japanese horror. Nevala-Lee, an Oak Park resident, has penned three art-world thrillers since leaving his job at a financial firm in New York to pursue his passion for writing: The Icon Thief, City of Exiles, and Eternal Empire.
  • Nami Mun closed out the night with a reading from her story Apartment 1G. She told the audience she had originally set out to write a comedic piece, to counter-balance her prior work, including her novel Miles from Nowhere, which was fairly dark. She ended up writing a story wherein one of the main characters is scalped.

 

Are you bummed out you missed our reading? Never miss another literary event by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or subscribing to our newsletter. Be on the look out in coming weeks for information about the Chicago Writers Conference 2015!

A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago

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What I Wish I Knew About Storytelling http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/04/21/what-i-wish-i-knew-about-storytelling/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/04/21/what-i-wish-i-knew-about-storytelling/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 23:07:46 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4354 Chicago Writers Conference

As a writer in Chicago, you can’t help but be aware of the growing and lively storytelling scene in the city. Last week, CWC employee Amanda Claire Buckley hosted her own cross-generational storytelling event “Under 30/Over 60: What I Wish I Knew” at the Book Cellar. This week, she shares what she learned about storytelling […]

What I Wish I Knew About Storytelling

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Chicago Writers Conference

Ted Wesenberg at the Book Cellar

As a writer in Chicago, you can’t help but be aware of the growing and lively storytelling scene in the city. Last week, CWC employee Amanda Claire Buckley hosted her own cross-generational storytelling event “Under 30/Over 60: What I Wish I Knew” at the Book Cellar. This week, she shares what she learned about storytelling from the event and her fellow writers. 


 

  1. Storytelling reaches readers in places you wouldn’t have thought to look. Storytelling events create a space where people who might have never said ‘hello’ to you on the street engage with you deeply and personally for eight minutes straight. At Under 30/Over 60, we had a crowd split between millennials and retired couples, two social circles that otherwise never cross. Many people came to see their under-30 friends perform, but stayed to chat with our over-60 authors and vice versa. If you’re looking for a way to move your experience, writing, and ideas beyond the limits of your social circle, I highly recommend storytelling.
  2. There is no better editor than a live-audience. It’s one thing to look at a page and mark where your own interest starts to fade, but it’s a whole other experience to be standing in front of an audience and feel the person two feet away from you start to pay more attention to the magazine rack behind you. Likewise, you also discover surprisingly effective punchlines and rhythmic grooves you might have missed when reading alone. Even if you aren’t writing for a “storytelling” event, reading aloud to an audience is a great way to viscerally experience what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Don’t be afraid of your first time: own it! One of our readers was Kayla Schwalbe, a volunteer at our partner 826CHI, and this was her first time reading at a storytelling event ever, but you wouldn’t know it. She read with the confidence and poise of a veteran. This gives hope to any writer who is worried about approaching the mic; just because you haven’t done it, doesn’t mean you can’t!
  4. Storytelling keeps the memory of all things alive. Over-60 author Samantha Hoffman shared with us a story about her father who passed away. After she read, a number of under-30 audience members took out their phones to text their dads “I love you.” There is a thin line between a story and a eulogy. By sharing your experience, you move your memories and that of your friends and family farther out in space and time so that the knowledge of them may exist longer. Share your loved ones with the world in your writing and you will keep them alive in ways you never thought possible.
  5.  Follow the fear. Famed improv instructor Del Close told his students to “follow the fear.”  If you aren’t telling a story that doesn’t scare you a bit, then you aren’t telling a story without stakes. Everybody has a story to tell, you just need to dive into the parts of your life that scare you the most: the places where you don’t have answer, the times where you disappointed yourself, the people you wish were still around. All of our readers, young and old, shared stories of vulnerability and that is what makes every storytelling event worth participating in. 

 

Missed our event? Don’t worry! Our next reading series will be held in conjunction with our partner Open Books on May 1! Join us then for A Celebration of Asian-American Writers in Chicago

In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date with the latest career advice and news for writers in Chicago by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or subscribing to our newsletter

What I Wish I Knew About Storytelling

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7 Things I Learned at The Writers Institute http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/04/07/7-things-i-learned-at-the-writers-institute/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/04/07/7-things-i-learned-at-the-writers-institute/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:18:48 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4336 Chicago Writers Conference

From March 26-29, our Executive Director, Mare Swallow, attended the Writers Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This conference is a perfect complement to CWC. The Writer’s Institute happens every spring; CWC takes place in the fall. And Madison is a lovely place to visit! Mare highly recommends you check it out, and here’s […]

7 Things I Learned at The Writers Institute

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Chicago Writers Conference

Madison, WI capitol

Sunrise in Madison, WI.

From March 26-29, our Executive Director, Mare Swallow, attended the Writers Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This conference is a perfect complement to CWC. The Writer’s Institute happens every spring; CWC takes place in the fall. And Madison is a lovely place to visit!

Mare highly recommends you check it out, and here’s why:

1. “Inspiration appears to the creative and active mind.”

…said by author John DuFresne, during the Friday keynote. John’s advice was to stay active, stay involved, and keep writing, no matter what.

John talked about the famous writerly excuses and what bs they are: “I’m just not feeling it today,” or “I don’t have the writing vibe right now.”

John said, “Imagine if a mechanic said, ‘I just don’t have the repair vibe today,’ or ‘I don’t feel inspired to fix cars today.’” Writing is your work – so get past the bs excuses and sit down and work.

2. Twitter is your friend.

There are some useful (for writers) hashtags on twitter. #mswl is how agents tag their Manuscript Wish List. #pitmad is for “pitch madness” – a “pitch party on twitter,” which happens 4 times a year. Next one happens June 10. Search these hashtags, and see what you find!

3. Words cost you $10.

The best lesson in conciseness came from Lane Shefter Bishop: “Imagine every word you write is $10 out of your own pocket.”

4. The Badgers are a great team.

Wisconsin Badgers on TV The fried walleye and an Old Fashioned at The Old Fashioned. Yum!

…even if they did lose the NCAA Championship. While I ate my fried walleye in a super-crowded bar on March 26, I watched half-assedly as the Badger fans around me cheered. You can see 3 bartenders at The Old Fashioned (above) watching the game. The food and Old Fashioned were amazing.

5. Twitter is your friend – Part 2

Mwi140-p1

In a digital writing workshop with instructor Jesse Stommel, we were instructed to write a mini-story, mini-poem, or mini-non fiction in 140 characters. I winced at first, but this exercise forced me to write something concise and focused. What I came up with was powerful and stunning.  “The constraints of twitter are also its importances,” Jesse said. How true! 140 characters makes it concise.

6. “Read what you’re trying to write.”

If you’re writing Historical Fiction, read Historical Fiction. Business book? Read business books, etc. You can’t expect to sell your work if you’re not reading what’s currently on the shelves.

7. “Take 15 Golden Minutes.”

You can’t find 15 minutes a day to write? Sure you can. This was stressed by instructor Julia Tallard Johnson, but reinforced when I saw Steven Salmon, an author with cerebral palsy, speak at the success stories panel. Steven can only type one letter at a time, yet he makes time to write every single day. What an inspiration!

 

Join us to learn more about what writers wish they knew at Under 30/Over 60, on April 16. Free and open to all – RSVP on facebook.

Can’t wait for CWC? Neither can we! Mark your calendar: Sept. 25-27 in downtown Chicago.

7 Things I Learned at The Writers Institute

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