The event features an expo hall with over 70 exhibitors, including Chicago's best independent publishers and authors selling books, as well as author readings, panel discussions, writing workshops, and bilingual/Spanish programs. Nonprofits and associations serving the writing and publishing communities will be represented.
Chicago Book Expo is run by a nonprofit group of volunteers whose mission is to celebrate Chicago’s vital indie publishing scene. Our fiscal sponsor is Uptown United, a 501(c)3, with generous support for the Chicago Book Expo provided by the Uptown SSA.
The Expo originated in 2011 as a project of Chicago Writers House, and was founded by John Rich. Forty publishers participated, and a wide array of workshops and other events accompanied it. Named by Newcity named as “best new literary event” in Chicago, it was attended by 1,200 people. Since then, a variety of pop-up events at the Empty Bottle have continued to bring readers and indie publishers together. While Chicago Writers House is no longer officially associated with the event, we plan to continue its vision with this new Expo.
New This Year
- New venue: This year’s location, St. Augustine College, is the first bilingual institution of higher education in Illinois and also houses Charlie Chaplin’s historic Essanay Studios, making it a venue that nicely marries the future and past of Chicago.
- Expanded programming: We will feature six tracks of programs going on simultaneously; one track will be in the Charlie Chaplin Auditorium in the Essanay Studios, with the rest held in the classrooms at St. Augustine.
- Bilingual programming: A track of bilingual programming is planned.
- Non-fiction Chicago-related programming: In addition to featuring poetry and fiction, we will include discussions of Chicago history (Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones in conversation with Harvey Young), politics (Kari Lydersen on Rahm Emanuel), and culture (Jessa Crispin and Charles Blackstone discussing Bookslut).
- Publishing and writing programming: Flash fiction and self-publishing workshops, as well as panels on publishing issues, will educate those who have been inspired by the offerings of local presses and authors.
- Self-published authors: To celebrate the rise of self-publishing as an increasingly respected avenue of publication, this Expo features the expanded presence of authors who have chosen this route.