Kick-off Party: FRI April 13 @ Harold Washington Library (401 S. Plymouth Ct.) 6PM – 10PM
Festival Day: SAT April 14 @ Columbia College Chicago (1104 S. Wabash Ave.) 10AM – 6:30PM

Below is a look at 2017’s past events. Stay tuned for the 2018 schedule!


All on the 8th floor.

Digital Storytelling: Game Changers Chicago
How might we create a narrative game that will normalize conversation about…politics, health care, or civic engagement? Come play Hearsay a student created game from the Hexago Health Academy. Learn some basic game design principles and get ideas for creating your own narrative storytelling game!

MYOP: Make Your Own Paper with Fata Morgana Press
Create and showcase your personal narrative with the Chicago People’s Library Project once you learn the art of papermaking in this highly interactive and hands-on workshop.

ChiArts: Poems While You Wait
Come and have a custom poem or story written just for you right on the spot! ChiArts Creative Writing students will compose a personalized piece of writing on any topic of your choice. Just give them your name, any topic, 15 minutes and boom!

YOUMedia: LED Bookmarks
Learn how to make and design your own light-up bookmark using simple LED technology!

ChiTeen Lit Fest: Flash Chats
Go live with ChiTeen Lit Fest and record a poem, story, thoughts, whatever tickles your fancy! Stop by the ChiTeen Lit Fest table to record a flash podcast immortalizing your here and now.

Meet and Chat
Pick the brain of a college student who is studying writing and find out what it really takes to follow this path.

GEAR UP Gallery
Come to the GEAR UP Interactive Gallery to see and hear the work that Chicago teens created in their classrooms. They wrestled with the big questions of our day and created audio and visual works that represent themselves and their Chicago.

Street Art in Words: A Wabash Arts Corridor Instagram Tour
The Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) is a powerful ‘living urban canvas’ for creative expression and innovation in the arts. The WAC is home to over 15 large-scale murals and installations by some of the most famous street artists in the world, including Ben Eine, Shepard Fairey and Chicago’s own Hebru Brantley. Take a walking tour of the WAC, jot down your thoughts and get some Instagram worthy photos! *Meet by the check-in table on the 1st floor. Time 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Glass Curtain Gallery
Check out the exhibit, Revolution at Point Zero: Feminist Social Practice, and do some ekphrastik writing. Let the art inspire your words! 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Headliners in Conversation
Get to know influential literary figures and hear their ideas about writing. ChiTeen Lit Fest Headlining authors Tara Mahadevan, Nate Marshall, Eric May, Megan Stielstra, and The Sun Bros. as they discuss their pathways to being awesome, successful writers, editors, and authors. Auditorium, 8th floor, 11-12p.m.

Breaking the Panel: Comic Artists of Color on Representation in Comic Books
The connotation of comic books and comic book lovers are cisgendered white males, who live in their mothers’ basements. But that has changed throughout the years, with representation in media, and girls of color creating their narratives through DIYing the content they want to see. Comic artists Leila Abdelrazaq, Bria Royal, Sal Saldovar, and Vicko Alvarez discuss their bit of how their personal stories are told in their comics, why it is important for young people of color to write and illustrate their stories, and hold an interactive portion where they will provide a glimpse into the process of creating a comic story. Auditorium, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Finding Your People: Writers on Creating and Participating in Writing Communities
Do you know others that have the same passion for writing as you do in your community? Whether that be a literary magazine or a book club, establishing platforms that support writing in your neighborhood, is the one of the first steps in connecting with the writing world. Listen to guests writers Keith Wilson, Sarah Hollenbeck, Jupiter Dandridge, and Daniel Khalastchi, joined by our own teen writer Jupiter Dandridge in exploring what it takes to create a name for yourself in the writing world. Don’t go unseen, make yourself known. Room 705, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Journalism in a Changing World
With alternative facts sweeping the nation, the information we share online can be very influential. How do we, journalists and bloggers, remain authentic and fact-based in a society that is constantly changing? Discover the political and social impacts of journalism and blogging in today’s world with journalists and bloggers Zach Stafford, Elizabeth Aguire, and Raymond Salazar. Room 502, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Self-Care Through Fiction
Do you feel sad sometimes? Do you wanna know how you can relieve that feeling with writing? Join April Gonzalez, JD Woodson, and Aline Aguilar for an interactive and in-depth discussion about fiction and its various forms. It will focus on the use of fiction to convey messages, emotion, and streams of thought that can act as a form of therapy for the author and reader both. Room 502, 2-3:15 p.m.

Storytelling Across Art
Explore storytelling beyond words and genres as artists share how they express themselves through art in different forms such as poetry, photography, film, and music. Get inspired by Fatimah Asghar, RJ Eldridge, Semira Truth Garrett, and Fred Sasaki as they share their artistic ways, experiences and creative processes across mediums, and learn how you can use new and creative ways to tell your stories. Auditorium, 8th floor, 2-3:15 p.m.

The Ins-and-Outs of Publishing Your Work
Want to become a published author? Learn about the ins-and-outs of the publishing process with Don Share, Jessie Ann Foley, and Nyvia Taylor. Join the discussion and you can discover how to turn your everyday poems and stories into published works. Room 705, 2-3:15 p.m.

Young Playwrights Festival in Conversation
Have you ever wanted to see your work performed on stage? Explore the art form of playwriting and learn how to make your characters, ideas, and stories come alive with the 2016 Young Playwright Festival Awardees Elyssa Saldana, Sejahari Saulter-Villegas, Alexandra Obert, and Ricardo Salgado. And…scene! Room 504, 2-3:15 p.m.

Channeling Your Muse: What Inspires You to Write
Does trying to be inspired make you perspired? Join Jacob Knabb, Jacob Saenz, Deon Stevenson, and Maura Ramos for a discussion on how writers find their muse and craft successful and engaging writing. Auditorium, 3:45-5 p.m.

Gender Identity & Allying in Writing
Are you agender? Trans male? Trans female? Genderfluid? Non-Binary? Bigender? Cisgender? Come on over and tell us your pronouns no matter who you are! Understanding your identity in both writing and day-to-day life can be a struggle. Aisha June, Noire Lin, Fatimah Asghar, and Ricardo Gamboa discuss the way gender and gender politics influence their work as writers and creators. Room 705, 3:45-5 p.m.

The College/Editor Life: Columbia College Chicago Creative Writing Students Talk Editing National Literary Magazines
Go behind the scenes of college lit mags with the writers and editors of Columbia College Chicago’s literary magazines. Cora Jacobs, managing editor of Columbia’s literary magazines and student editors T. Daniel Frost, Emma Lassaine, and MaryGrace Schumann discuss the editing of national literary magazines as college students. Get inspired by these editors’ and students’ passion for writing and publishing. Room 709, 3:45-5 p.m.

Let the Lyrics Speak: Telling Your Story Beyond the Beat
Who doesn’t like music? You may be asking yourself why is there a music panel at a lit fest and how you can tell your story through music. HUEY Gang is here to answer your questions and share how they use lyrics and sound to tell the world who they are, where they come from, and where they’re going. Room 504, 3:45-5 p.m.

Where’s Your Sense of Humor?: Finding the Funny Bone in Your Writing
Two poets walk into a Teen Lit Fest…Hahaha…was that very funny? We may not know when our writing is funny or even how to make our writing funny. Alison Ogunmokun and Russell Jaffe might be able to help you with that. If you think you are funny or want to be funnier in your writing, you better come check out this panel. Room 502, 3:45-5 p.m.


Lyric Writing
HUEY Gang (Headstrong Urban Educated Youth) is here to help you rise to stardom by showing you how to write lyrics with an impact. Room 836B, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Pamphlet Stitch Three Ways
Interested in zines? Well this is the workshop for you! Join Molly Berkson to learn how to add a sophisticated, unique touch to chapbooks and zines. This workshop covers the basic three-hole pamphlet stitch as well as more complex variations on this simple bookbinding skill. Room 719, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Telling My Own Story: GEAR UP Students Answer “Who Am I?” Through Digital Storytelling
Who Am I? What can my family teach me? What does it mean to be from here? What does it mean to be from somewhere else? Come to the GEAR UP Interactive Gallery to join Chicago teens as they wrestle with the big questions through conversations, and teen-created interactive online activities, gallery exhibits, games, and performances. Room 835C, 12:15-1:30

The Action Plot: How to Move Your Story Forward in the Most Exciting Way Possible!
J.B. Michaels presents his formula for engaging readers from the first line of the first chapter all the way through the story! As a young adult thriller author JB knows his way around or over a good “cliff” hanger. PUN INTENDED. Room 505, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Write with Pride: An LGBTQ Writing Workshop
Join 826CHI for a workshop that uses writing to explore what it means to be a member of the LGBTQ community in America today. If you identify as LGBTQ, know someone who does, or are simply interested in the topic, then you have a story brewing inside you! We will explore the genres of memoir, poetry, and personal essay as we revisit transformative moments in our personal history and consider the formation of our value and belief systems. Room 837A, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Stand Up Comedy: Writing and Performance
Do you like jokes? Do you crack up about stuff you see daily? Do you enjoy writing and performing? Jump into a comedy writing workshop with Alison Ogunmokun where you can use all these skills at once! We’ll explore joke writing, performance skills, and writing for stand up. Room 506 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Graffiti as Resistance Writing
Graffiti, a tool popularized by black and brown people as a form of street art and self-expression, has always been a tool that marginalized people have used to express frustration and anger about the intersection of politics and personal life. With other like-minded individuals, the creation of resistance writing will be explained, and its essential purpose will be to create individual pieces of resistance writing/street art. Mary Rose O’Shea, Peggy Mark, Zebediah Arrington, and Bill Tran combine both graffiti and resistance writing in one. Before leaving this workshop you will have created your own piece of resistance writing and street art. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Come check it out. Room 835C, 2-3:15 p.m.

Headliner Workshop w/ Eric May
Chicago native and headliner Eric May will be running a workshop. You will learn about his motives and intent in his craft of writing. Come and explore the ways of Eric May. Room 506 2-3:15 p.m.

Headliner Workshop w/ Megan Stielstra
Megan Stielstra is an accomplished essayist and storyteller. She is an integral part of Chicago’s literary community, and, in addition to working for 2nd story, has had her work published in various magazines like the Rumpus and The Paper Machete. Room 513, 2-3:15 p.m.

Headliner Workshop w/ Nate Marshall
Come meet and talk with poet, Nate Marshall. He will be talking about his writing process and what steps he takes to develop his craft. Room 505, 2-3:15 p.m.

Headliner Workshop w/ Tara Mahadevan
Delve into Chicago’s music scene with music journalist Tara Mahadevan. Find your niche as a journalist and learn how Tara writes interviews and profiles, as well as her tips for story finding, form, and format. Explore the tools and avenues you can use to gain exposure and hone your craft. Room 837A, 2-3:15 p.m.

Headliner Workshop w/ The Sun Bros.
Comic book writers The Sun Bros. will be talking about their steps towards comic design. Room 719 2-3:15 p.m.

Designing Your Story Through Sound
National Museum of Mexican Art’s Yollocalli Arts Reach teens share how they developed the structure of an audio piece (scriptwriting) through the composition of scenarios with the goal to engage and connect the listener with their story. Each teen used sound design to bring their words to life. They blurred the lines – where storytelling becomes informative and creates awareness on teens’ opinions, concerns, feelings and emotions about what’s happening in our society. Room 836B, 3:45-5 p.m.

Empathy for the Bully: A Social Workshop on Characterization
R.S. Deeren wants to help you create compelling, dynamic characters in your writing, and understand not only your characters, but the real world individuals who may, most times, influence them. Loving or hating a character is only the first step of effective, aware writing. To fully understand, to empathize, with a character’s motivations is the next, deeper, stage of the writing process. And we’re gonna start with the bullies,how we come to understand the full spectrum of their motivations and humanity. Room 513, 3:45-5 p.m.

Graphic Novel Script Writing: 101
Alverne Ball takes you from inception to completion: comic script writing 101. Teens will learn basic scripting lingo and page layout techniques in order to craft a compelling comic script. Room 837A, 3:45-5 p.m.

Improv for Storytellers
According to Jeremy Babcock, everyone has a story to tell and improv is an outlet to share in a space free from judgment. In addition to taking part in a number of theatre games and exercises, we will work as a group to develop stories and characters that just might inspire future writing projects. Everyone is invited to actively participate in the process of discovering fresh, new ideas in a group setting. Room 835C, 3:45-5 p.m.


Chi-Arts Teens in Conversation: A Reading
By Teens For Teens. You might wanna grab a pen and write this down. Chicago High School For The Arts, featuring a bunch of their students, will host a reading and open conversation to discuss writing of all kind. Poetry, prose, fiction, non-fiction? Pick your poison. These students will be reading it all: what they consider to be their best work and discussing their inspirations, thoughts on writing, ideas on revision, making work public and the driving force to write. Conaway Center, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

Revise the Psalm: A Celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks was a Chicago-based poet who inspired writers and poets of all ages with her words and community activism. This reading from REVISE THE PSALM is a discussion on Brooks’ influence on youth with four of the book’s contributors and co-editor. Room 504, 12:15-1:30 p.m.

GEAR UP Student Showcase
Teens from across Chicago perform readings and spoken word addressing the big questions: Who Am I? What can my family teach me? What does it mean to be from here? What does it mean to be from somewhere else? Conaway Center, 2-3:15 p.m.

Word Street Champions
Join teen poets from the Word Street Champions, a project with the Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, the Library of Congress, and Poetry Foundation, as they share their stories through original poetry. Room 709, 2-3:15 p.m.

Revolving Door Arts: Teen Chapbook Series
Revolving Door Arts’ Teen Chapbook Series publishes chapbooks (short collections of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction) written by teens to showcase their creative writing talents. Join inaugural teen authors Semira Truth Garrett, Jalen Kobayashi, Nyvia Taylor, and Kai Wright as they read from and discuss their newly published chapbooks. Conaway Center, 3:45-5:00 p.m.

ChiTeen Showcase: Open Mic and Feature Performance
Hear Chicago teens read and perform their literary art including poetry, short stories, music, and comedy. Come and share your work with a new audience! Conaway Center, 5:15-6:30 p.m.