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The Columbia Chronicle

South Loop hosts 38th annual Printers Row Lit Fest

Nakea Love
Tony Trigilio, a professor of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago shares an excerpt from his most recent book “Craft: A Memoir” at Printers Row Lit Fest on Sept. 10, 2023. Trigilio spoke about his experience as a rising journalist and his decision to leave the profession behind to create a life practice out of creative writing.

English and Creative Writing professor Tony Trigilio joined a panel of authors of memoirs and essay collections at the 38th annual Printers Row Lit Fest to read an excerpt from his new book “Craft: A Memoir,” a book about writing technique as told through stories from Trigilio’s own journey as a writer.

It was the first public reading Trigilio had done of the book since it was published Sept. 1.

“I think of the writing process as almost solitary while I’m drafting, revising, editing it with the publisher, then the final step in the writing process is presenting it live to an audience,” Trigilio said. “That’s a really important step for me.”

Trigilio has attended the festival and been featured on panels several times in the past, but attending on Sunday, Sept. 10, was the first time since the pandemic.

“What I love more than anything is just ‘OK it’s noon, what’s going on?’ and I just kind of ricochet among panels,” Trigilio said.

The festival, which featured exhibits from artists, booksellers and writers as well as panels on specific topics, took place on South Dearborn Street between Ida B. Wells Drive and Polk Street with more exhibits and programs on Plymouth Court and Federal Street.

The festival had appearances from several well-known writers including Chicago’s inaugural Poet Laureate avery r. young, joined by 2023 Michigan Poet Laureate Nandi Comer and 2005 Illinois Poet Laureate Angela Jackson.

“I think it’s mostly a celebration of books and writing, authors and we’re really interested in inspiring reading,” said Amy Danzer, director of programming for Printers Row Lit Fest. “That’s just so important to our culture, to society.”

The festival was funded in part by a $100,000 grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

“We are reminded of the profound impact literature has on our lives. It can transport us to different worlds, challenge our perspectives and connect us to our shared human experience,” said DCASE commissioner Erin Harkey, at the festival’s welcome event on Saturday.

The welcome event began with a speech from Illinois Secretary of State and State librarian, Alexi Giannoulias.

Giannoulias drafted the state’s new anti-book ban law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 12. The law protects libraries’ rights to acquire and keep materials that individuals or groups may try to remove or restrict. The law also states that libraries are only eligible for state grants if they certify that they will not remove books because of personal or partisan objections. Illinois is the first state to approve such legislation.

“I can’t believe that in the year 2023 we are being forced to talk about this. Authoritarian regimes ban books, not democracies,” Giannoulias said. “The books they are banning are about LGBTQ rights, they are written by African-American authors, so the underpinnings are there.”

Giannoulias testified against book bans in front of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

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About the Contributors
Sydney Richardson, Reporter
srichardson@columbiachronicle.com   Sydney Richardson is a sophomore journalism major, concentrating in broadcasting for radio. She is minoring in voiceover. Richardson has reported on campus and metro events, as well as changes to Columbia's Student Life and Residence Life departments of the college. She joined the Chronicle in August 2023.   Hometown: Woodridge, Illinois
Nakea Love, Former Photojournalist
nlove@columbiachronicle.com   Nakea Love is a senior photojournalism major, minoring in Cultural Studies. She covers art exhibitions and both campus and metro events. Love joined the Chronicle in August 2023.   Hometown: Schwenksville, Penn.