We at Literary Chicago approach our coverage of the literary world with a lit fest spirit. We’re curious, celebratory, and inclusive. Our mission: strengthen the literary community and celebrate what it does with words and language. As with presenters at any good lit fest, we’re an assorted bunch, a motley crew, representing different backgrounds, tastes, and temperaments, and although our subjects are all literary in some way, and always addressed thoughtfully, with heart, what you find on one “stage” may be very different from you’ll find on another. That being said, in addition to original essays, reviews, and event write-ups, we have set up a detailed calendar of local literary events which will be updated daily, something that has been sorely lacking in the city that Poets & Writers says “is quickly becoming the largest storytelling community in the world.” Under “resources,” we also provide encyclopedic information on local reading series, literary journals, small presses, bookstores, and literary organizations. Click HERE to contact us. And click HERE to find out about submitting your own work for publication.
Alba Machado thinks Chicago’s writers can beat up every other city’s writers. But they wouldn’t. Because they’re too nice. And funny. They would just incapacitate them with their ninja smiles, their ninja cookies, and their innovative ninja fart jokes. A lifelong Chicagoan, Alba has counted herself among these writers ever since she wrote and performed “The Rescue of Spring” in the fourth grade, and she wishes to use her powers for good: (a) for the fun, (b) for the justice, (c) for the camaraderie. Her work has appeared in Curbside Splendor, Knee-Jerk Magazine, the Chicago Reader and others. Her two black cats approve of this bio. The shifty squirrel in the yard is not so sure. @AlbaMachado_
Sophie L. Nagelberg teaches English composition by day while waiting tables at night, and works towards an MFA in creative writing whenever her busy schedule allows. She’s making good time. Her novel-in-progress is a work of historical fiction set in Birmingham. She was also in the Chicago shoegaze band Videotape, and now sings and plays guitar for Astrobrite. Visit videotapeband.bandcamp.com to hear Videotape records. @SophieLeighN.
Danette Chavez has been here almost all her life. Not online, in some kind of Max Headroom way, but in Chicago. She is something of a gadabout, trying to be a writer—a real bon mot vivant. She covers the lit beat for Gapers Block and the Small Screen for the Chicago Reader. @BonMotVivant
Jess Millman was recently spat into the real world with a creative writing degree. The real world was pissy that day, so she hiked back to seek her fiction MFA via a Follett Fellowship at Columbia College Chicago, where she writes about broken knuckles, bear guts, thief-takers, and feminists in gas masks. She is an editor at Goreyesque Magazine and former music journalist scum.
Daniel Camponovo is an east coast ex-pat writer and linguist living in Chicago. He graduated from Northwestern University with degrees in, you guessed it folks, creative writing and linguistics, which he promises are two different things, and he is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction from Columbia College Chicago. His friends call him “Jumpshot” for his lack of ups, and his work has appeared in The Daily Northwestern and Helicon Literary Magazine. You can follow him tweet way too much about Philadelphia and baseball and Philadelphia baseball at twitter.com/dan_camp.
Scott Eagan is this guy who writes things, sometimes. He lives in the northwesternish suburbs of Chicago and at one time considered writing under the pseudonym Conga Teats. He loves beaches but an intense distrust of sand, and a completely rational fear of sharks and UV rays means the two of them can never be together. And he has decided to start this sentence with and instead of he to break up the monotony of he. His short fiction has previously appeared in Goreyesque Magazine. When Scott’s not writing, he does other things such as: running a halfway house for displaced otters, dabbling with neurosurgery, and baby wrangling with his fiancé, Shaelene.
Julia Fine, a Washington, DC area native, Julia has been living happily in the Midwest for the past eight years. She has a dual BA in English and Psychology from Grinnell College, and is working on her MFA in creative writing with a Follett Fellowship at CCC. After adventures in nannying and the world of public relations, she is currently at work on her first novel. @finejuli
Todd Summar is an MFA candidate in fiction writing at Columbia College Chicago, where he serves as graduate assistant for Story Week Festival of Writers, one of Chicago’s largest literary festivals. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Goreyesque, an online literary journal featuring work inspired by Edward Gorey. Todd is currently writing a novel that incorporates 80’s childhood experiences, family dysfunction, demonic creatures, and witchcraft, not necessarily in that order. His work can be seen in an upcoming issue of PANK. Prior to studying at Columbia College, Todd worked in marketing and PR for over ten years. He grew up in Northwestern Indiana. He lives in Chicago with his partner and two cats, who can be tough, but fair, critics. @ToddSummar
Jeff Toth came to Chicago in 2006 by way of the hills and valleys of Western Pennsylvania. After nearly a decade spent collecting stories, jumping from one job to the next, Jeff earned his bachelor of arts degree from DePaul University in 2012 with a focus in communications and writing. He is now an MFA candidate in the Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago, and made his live lit debut in 2014 with 2nd Story. Jeff lives in Uptown with his wife and newborn daughter, and at press time, he hasn’t slept in days. @TothLikeMike
Brian Zimmerman was raised in central Illinois, but has since spent time in Florida, Kansas, and now Chicago. He has worked as a waiter, bartender, and laborer. His short fiction has been published in Rock Bottom Journal and Down and Out. Brian isn’t always hungover, but when he is he enjoys a milkshake. Chocolate of course.