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Wednesday, October 21

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Books Fri Nov 18 2011

The Chicago Book Expo This Weekend!

This weekend marks the inaugural Chicago Book Expo, Saturday November 19th and Sunday 20th. The Chicago's Writer House, in partnership with Uptown United , delivers a festival in the vein of pop-up galleries across the city. The Book Expo in a sense is a pop-up bookstore, taking over the historic Goldblatt's building, the recent home of the bankrupt Border's bookstore in Uptown. There focus is on Chicago publishers and literary organizations celebrating the rich tradition of Chicago literature. The location is symbolic, a book event at site where one of the largest chain bookstores once was housed.

"Whether you loved them or hated them, Borders was a part of the publishing world and the local landscape," says John Rich, founder of the Chicago's Writer House and one of the Expo organizers. "Their demise has impact. With the Expo, we are relying on the history of the building as a literary destination. [T]hat the memory of the old Borders is evocative, but the compelling symbol for us is that a strong, accessible book industry does and can exist in Chicago, without Borders and beyond Borders."

Participants during the weekend include over 40 Chicago publishers of fiction and poetry. "Our focus has been on creating a support mechanism, a platform, for Chicago publishers of fiction and poetry," says Rich. This list is varied, featuring: Agate Publishing, Ampersand, Another Chicago Magazine, Curbside Splendor, Featherproof Books, Green Lantern Press, MAKE Magazine, Short Pants Press, and Zoo Mouse Key Press, to name a few. "We hope that people will come and browse, just like they would at any other store, but here they can also talk directly to publishers, learn about the mission or aesthetic of a press first hand, and hear a range of published authors read," says Rich.

Saturday will showcase a non-profit fair. Keeping with the overall theme, these are literary organizations rather than publishers. Those booked will include: 826CHI, Center for Book and Paper Arts, Chicago Architecture Foundation , Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Writers Association, Chicago Zine Fest, Friends of the Uptown Neighborhood, Poetry Foundation, Read/Write Library (formerly Chicago Underground Library), St. Augustine College, and Uptown United. Each will have a table staffed with members on hand, presenting more information about their group and how one can get involved.

Entertainment also includes a Saturday performance by local indie rockers Joan of Arc, commissioned to write a new soundtrack to Charlie Chaplin's first Chicago-made film His New Job (which was shot in Uptown as well). Opening the show will be poet and performer Luis Humberto Valadez. The showcase is at St. Augustine College 1345 W. Argyle Ave. Then on Sunday the Chicago Architecture Foundation will conduct walking architectural tours of the Uptown neighborhood. Both are ticketed events.

Throughout the weekend, Chicago Public Library will available to register attendees for library cards. And local bookseller Open Books will be accepting donations of gently used books for their bookstore. Any purchase from them will go to support literacy programming and events.

During the Expo there will be scheduled readings sponsored by Curbside Splendor and more, workshops sponsored by Read/Write Library and more, panels lead by writers from the Chicago Reader, TimeOut magazine and others, plus kids activities lead by Grow Books Press authors and 826 CHI.

"We want people to discover the depth of Chicago's literary publishing efforts, big and small, and find their next favorite book," exclaims Rich.

Browse the Chicago Book Expo 2011, November 19-20 at Borders Books (4720 N. Broadway), and the basement of the Uptown Broadway. Hours are Saturday, November 19th, 10am-6pm and Sunday, November 20th, 12-6pm. The book fair activities are free and open to the public.

 
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