Old-school publishing died in Printers Row well before the era of Kindles and iPads. But the industry that flourished there for close to a century makes it an apt home for the midwest's largest literary festival. Sponsored by the Chicago Tribune, the 27th annual Printers Row Lit Fest comprises 150 booksellers, 200 authors involved in about 160 events, and thousands of literary pilgrims. Here are some highlights of the two-day event. (Unless otherwise noted, all locations are on the fest grounds, Dearborn between Harrison and Polk.)
Saturday: Four promising newcomers discuss their debut novels (2 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State) while Donna Seaman leads midwest writers Gina Frangello, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Christine Sneed, and Melissa Fraterrigo in a discussion of "Desperate Characters in the Short Story" (2:30 PM, Center Stage). "Writing Dangerously: How to Write About Sex, Religion, and People You Don't Like" features Deb Olin Unferth, Skip Horack, and Adam Levin (3 PM, Hotel Blake, 500 S. Dearborn). Sunday: Jamie Frevelletti, Kevin Guilfoile, Andrew Gross, and Keir Graff talk thrillers (11 AM, University Center, 525 S. State). The subject is historical fiction for Rebecca Johns, Goldie Goldbloom, Brigid Pasulka, and Ellen Bryson (3 PM, University Center, 525 S. State).
Saturday: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ishmael Reed has a conversation with Haki Madhubuti (noon, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State). Reporter and novelist Pete Hamill is paired with the Tribune's Rick Kogan. And here's a hard choice: Trib literary editor Elizabeth Taylor sits down with filmmaker John Sayles (1 PM, University Center, 525 S. State) at the same time that literary critic Art Winslow interviews Chicago novelist Luis Alberto Urrea (1 PM, University Center, 525 S. State) and theater critic Chris Jones chats with playwright David Henry Hwang (1 PM, Trib Nation Stage). Sunday: Shock of Gray author Ted Fishman analyzes an aging world with Jerome McDonnell (11 AM, University Center, 525 S. State). Gioia Diliberto talks Hemingway with Geoffrey Johnson (3 PM, University Center, 525 S. State). Reader writer Robert McClory discusses Father Pfleger with Manya Brachear (4 PM, University Center, 525 S. State).
Saturday: Take your manuscript to "Pitchapalooza," brought to you by the authors of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published (4 PM, Center Stage). Sunday: Carol LaChapelle leads a memoir-writing workshop called "Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories" (11 AM, University Center, 525 S. State).
The Good Eating Stage hosts an impressive lineup of chefs discussing culinary literature and offering demos. Saturday: Watch expert Lady Shay decorate a cake (11 AM) and hop aboard the vegan bandwagon with authors George Black and Dave Stowell (2:30 PM). Sunday: Prep for your next party with Chicago caterers and Food Network reality stars the Hearty Boys (2 PM).
For the Family
Saturday: The Fulcrum Point New Music Project's Book Sounds is a multimedia concert featuring projections from two children's books (3 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State).