This past weekend I attended the 30th annual Printer’s Row Lit Fest in my South Loop neighborhood in Chicago. This is definitely one of my MOST favorite festivals of the year, and lucky for me it takes place just a few blocks from my apartment. Despite the fact that no one was around to join me, I took advantage of the stunningly sunny Saturday morning (after spin class, of course!), got myself properly caffeinated and strolled on over to soak up some literary vibes! Since reading is mostly a solitary experience, I had no qualms about attending this event solo. In fact, I felt more free to float through the various book stalls and other performance stages at my own pace without worrying about what my friends were up to and when I should be meeting them.
Although, I am writing this blog from my laptop, I am NOT a fan of the E-book. I still enjoy the physical weight of an actual book in my hand. I love the smell of the pages, especially from library books. Yes, I still go to the library. In my neighborhood, I have The Harold Washington Library with its fabulously adorned roof featuring green owls and which was named for Chicago’s first African-American mayor. I just love it!
Back to my story…
Printer’s Row Lit Fest is a 2-day event (put on by The Chicago Tribune) which takes place each year in early June along the stretch of space on Dearborn Street between Congress and Polk, known, surprisingly (HA!), as Printers Row which was once home to Chicago’s printing and publishing industries. Printer’s Row Lit Fest is the largest, FREE, outdoor literary festival in the Midwest. This is NOT some boring writer’s conference. Rather, it is a celebration which brings together 200+ authors, poets, booksellers, publishers, illustrators, bookbinders, readers and performers from all over the country to mingle amongst book stalls, performance stages, poetry readings and panel discussions. It is so much fun to see what other folks are reading. Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting my favorite writer, Marcus Sakey, a Chicago resident and author of 8 books, after attending a panel discussion he was on with 2 other crime writers. Two of his books, Good People and Brillance, are being made into films. Very cool!
At Printer’s Row Lit Fest, folks browse and purchase discount books, used books, rare and expensive books, as well as journals ranging from $30-$500! I purchased a beautiful, moderately priced journal from Poetic Earth Handmade Journals which is based out of Syracuse, New York. Also, I stopped by Columbia College Chicago’s tent to listen to a few 2nd and 3rd year students recite some of their poetry. What a lovely way to start my day!
What is especially cool about Printer’s Row Lit Fest, aside from being a free event, is that there is something almost certain to entertain everyone’s literary tastes. From rare editions of literary novels to classic comics to children’s picture books to religious books, this is a place to stimulate even the most lazy readers!
The Printer’s Row neighborhood is actually a residential area now but it retains its storied edge in the shadow of the old Dearborn Station (now a galleria!). Dearborn Station was the entry point for many of the poor murder victims who visited Chicago during the 1893 Chicago World’s Exposition, as recanted in the wildly popular book, The Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. This fact is incredibly creepy!
Enjoy the photos and do consider visiting Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chicago next June. Happy Summer Reading!
ROAM. REVEL. REPEAT.