October is the perfect time for reading and reflection. As the colorful leaves begin to bloom like fall flowers, memories push their way to the surface. Writing now functions as the preserver of life, capturing important events, recalling traumas in careful detail, protecting small, treasured moments from the coming frost of forgetfulness. Lean into the thoughtful mood by attending a book club, listening for the intersection of writing and music, or cathartically connecting with a compassionate audience when you share your intimate work at an open mic. As always, Habitat has the roundup to get you started!
Chicago Book Expo - Sunday, October 1st, 12:00-5:00 p.m.
October kicks off with the 6th annual Chicago Book Expo, where you can get your literary fix with workshops, books from local presses, and by brushing elbows with the likes of Dr. Haki Madhubuti and Jac Jemc, among other esteemed presenters. Plus, catch Habitat Magazine Editors Jan-Henry Gray, Rozina Kidari, and Emma LaSaine and Issue 2 contributor Vanessa Borjon sharing their latest work in the Columbia Faculty/Student Reading! The expo takes place in Columbia College Chicago’s 1104 S. Wabash building from noon to 5:00 p.m and all programs are free and open to the public.
Author Event: Patricia Ann McNair and Sahar Mustafah - Thursday, October 5th, 6:30 p.m.
Columbia College Chicago Professor Patricia Ann McNair’s much-anticipated essay collection, And These Are the Good Times, is here at last! On the 5th, City Lit Books (2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.) presents a 6:30 p.m. reading by McNair of some “raw and loving moments” from her book. Also featured is Code of the West author Sahar Mustafah, reading from her David Friedman Award for Best Fiction-winning short story collection. It’s hard to pass up one great reading, but who knows what you’ll be inspired to write after two!
Graphic Content Book Club - Monday October 9th, 6:30 p.m.
Graphic narrative fans rejoice! Beginning October 9th, City Lit Books (2523 N. Kedzie Blvd.) will feature a new monthly book discussion group devoted to graphic novels. This month’s Graphic Content Book Club topic of discussion is critically acclaimed Y: The Last Man: Book One by Brian K. Vaughn with art by Pia Guerra. The novel follows the last human survivor of a malady that instantly kills every mammal with a Y chromosome on the planet and—if the book’s three Eisner Awards are any indication—promises an interesting discussion, so get to reading!
Joyce Carol Oates at the Poetry Foundation - Tuesday, October 12th, 7:00 p.m.
2010 National Humanities Medal recipient and writer of fiction, plays, essays, and memoir, Joyce Carol Oates is an American literary institution. Ever delivering, the Poetry Foundation will feature a reading by Oates of her poetry on October 12th, 7:00 p.m. The event has free admission; what are you doing still staring at that empty Tuesday evening on your calendar?
Readings and Remembrance: Writing and Witness - Sunday, October 15th, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
The Chicago City of Refuge Initiative invites all to attend their free October 15th discussion of writing as an act of witness. Unoma Azuah and Riad Ismat, two of the organization’s writers will interview Lucina Kathmann, PEN International Vice President, about her essay collection, Private Spaces Public Places: a woman at home in the world, and scholar Wendy Perlman, author of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria. The event runs from 1:00-3:00 p.m. at Loyola University’s Piper Hall (1032 W. Sheridan Rd.).
Surviving the Mic Open Mic - Monday, October 16th, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Founded by Illinois State-certified Crisis Counselor Nikki Patin, this open mic is a safe space intended for trauma survivors, particularly survivors of sexual or domestic violence, to share their poetry, prose, comedy, or creativity in an environment where the audience will listen compassionately. Surviving the Mic is free and hosted every third Monday of the month from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Cup & Spoon Cafe (2415 W. North Ave.). Volunteer first responders are always on hand at each show. While powerful, the event is triggering, which attendees are advised to take into account.
Sijo Poems in Settings from Classical to Hip Hop - Saturday, October 21st, 4:00 p.m.
Where do poetry and music intersect? The Poetry Foundation (61 W. Superior St.) seems committed to tackling this question all month long—perhaps most enticingly in their October 21st event exploring Sijo Poems, “a traditional Korean poetic form typically exploring cosmological, metaphysical, or pastoral themes.” The free performance features piano/violin and cello/flute duos, jazz, and a hip-hop performance, all inspired by this long-beloved Korean lyric poetry form.