In addition to the insane amount of meet-ups and events surrounding NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), Chicago has a ton of exciting readings, lectures, and other literary events happening during the month of November.
November 10: Columbia College Chicago’s Creative Writing program’s Reading Series features poet Ross Gay and writer Thalia Field. Ross Gay is a National Book Award Finalist, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kings Tuftley Poetry Award for his book, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude. Currently, he teaches and is the Director of Creative Writing at Indiana University in Bloomington. Thalia Field has authored or co-authored six books including Experimental Animals and Bird Lovers, Backyard. She is a prominent voice in the innovative fiction world, and currently teaches at Brown University.
November 12: Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander will be doing a reading at the Harold Washington Library. Her latest book, The Light of the World, is “a memoir about loss, a reflection on her existential crossroads after the unexpected death of her beloved husband four days after his 50th birthday party.” In 2009, she was asked to read her poetry at the White House for the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and has spent the last 15 years teaching at Yale University in the African American Studies Department. Her book, The Light of the World, was a 2015 “Best Book of the Year Pick” according to The Wall Street Journal, and has received glowing reviews from The Washington Post and The New York Times.
November 13: Chicago’s small presses are gearing up for the Chicago Book Expo. Speakers at the Expo include Bill Ayers, Eve Ewing, Jay Bonansinga, and Shawn Shiftlett. The expo also features events such as “Practice Your Novel Pitch,” “Justice and Injustice in Chicago,” and “Our Voices: Encouraging Diversity.” Readings will be done by Chicago authors, including Columbia College Chicago students at In the Loop and some of Habitat’s own contributors.
November 17: The Art Institute of Chicago hosts another Pop-Up Poetry event, this time featuring Nate Marshall, author of Wild Hundreds and National Program Director of Louder Than A Bomb Youth Poetry Festival. Marshall has received the 2014 Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award for College Writers, and was the recipient of the 2015 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship.
November 30: Author Zadie Smith will be talking about her newest novel Swing Time, at the DuSable Museum of African American History. Swing Time takes place in London in the 1980’s and follows two biracial friends as they navigate adulthood after meeting in dance class. The Guardian called the novel “an unflinching portrait of friendship,” and Kirkus Review said the novel is “moving, funny, and grave.”