Chicago writers are visionaries, unafraid of trying something new. The city is one of the birthplaces of realism, an approach to writing that elevates the “everyday” into art. Chicago poets, novelists, journalists, and other writers have found inspiration in everyday people, telling their stories and transforming the way they talk into art. Chicago writers are also troublemakers…with a humanist bent. They have shone the light on injustice, questioned authority, and articulated bold new visions for a better world. Chicago writers are agents of change.
The story of literary Chicago is one of overlapping communities – avant-garde intellectuals, journalists, activists, artists, and migrants from places near and far. The city’s many newspapers, magazines, and literary journals have offered experience and exposure for aspiring writers. Programs at local libraries, bookstores, and cafes have connected writers with the reading public. Chicago: a city of writers, a city of readers.
Rotating panels will allow visitors to learn about famous Chicago writers and their influence on American life.
Nelson Algren (1909-1981) was the quintessential Chicago writer. A troublemaker through and through, he rejected authority in favor of the hustlers and strugglers who populated his work. City on the Make (1951), his book-length prose poem about Chicago, is perhaps his most visionary work. It is a brutal, beautiful love letter to the city and its history, a descendant of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems (1916) yet utterly singular.