Attracting more than 125,000+ book lovers to Chicago’s Printers Row neighborhood, the Printers Row Lit Fest is a two-day literary festival that ignites the passion of the written word welcoming best-selling authors, entertainers, chefs, musicians and unique exhibits. Founded in 1985, the event continues to expand each year with special presentations, programming and over 250 booksellers from across the country unveiling new, used and antiquarian books. Bring children to Lil’ Lit Park where families can enjoy storytelling, costumed characters, performances, sing-alongs, and special activities coordinated by educational and cultural groups. You’ll also enjoy 100-plus free programs on seven stages, author book signings, Lit After Dark, and more at the Midwest’s largest free literary event! All events are free, but tickets must be reserved in advance for select programs.
This year’s headlining authors include 2015 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award winner LeVar Burton, as well as David Axelrod, Bob Saget, Tavis Smiley, Amber Tamblyn, George Bodenheimer, Elizabeth Alexander, Jen Lancaster, Heather Cocks, and Jessica Morgan.
The Printers Row Lit Fest was founded in 1985 by the Near South Planning Board to attract visitors to the Printers Row neighborhood (once the city’s bookmaking hub). By 2002, it had grown to five city blocks (on Dearborn, from Congress to Polk), attracting more than 200 booksellers from across the country displaying new, used and antiquarian books and featuring more than 200 authors participating in panels, discussions and a variety of other programs.
As part of its ongoing commitment to the written word and its support of literacy and literary endeavor, the Chicago Tribune purchased the Printers Row Book Fair in 2002 from the Near South Planning Board. Recently renamed to be the Printer’s Row Lit Fest, it is considered the largest free outdoor literary event in the Midwest-drawing more than 150,000 book lovers to the two-day showcase. For a look back at the 30th Anniversary, click here.
Printers Row Journal members and Fest Pass holders will have early access to reserve tickets to author programs starting on Monday, May 18 at 10:00am. On Friday, May 22 at 10:00am, tickets will be made available to the general public. Printers Row Journal members can enter the “secret” event password that was sent via email for programs found on tribtix.com. This code will remain the same for all author programs, and can be used multiple times.
Printers Row is located in the South Loop section of Chicago. The South Loop is such a dynamic mix of attractions and histories that the neighborhood tends to be seen as many different things to many different people. Much of the eastern edge is encompassed by the Museum Campus, an impressive collection of cultural treasures, and Northerly Island, a peninsula sought out by nature lovers. History buffs point out the Motor Row District along South Michigan Avenue and nearby Prairie Avenue District. In the adjacent Printer’s Row neighborhood, urban loft condos now fill the commercial spaces in what was formerly the center of the Midwest’s publishing industry.