Printers Row Lit Fest 2017: What to Know Before You Go

By Mary Cecilia Nolan on Thursday, June 8, 2017
Visit exhibitor booths to find out more about authors and organizations.

It’s that time again bookworms! Are you ready for the 33rd Annual Printers Row Lit Fest? As a regular attendee of the Lit Fest, I can tell you it’s always best to review the schedule and the weather forecast before you go. Many author panels and discussions occur concurrently so you may have to make some tough decisions on what to see and what to skip. It’s important to plan your day ahead of time so you don’t miss your favorite authors and/or events.

Considered the Midwest’s largest free outdoor literary event, the Lit Fest draws more than 125,000 book lovers to the two-day showcase. The festival attracts more than 100 booksellers from across the country displaying new, used, and antiquarian books and features more than 200 authors participating in panels, discussions, and a variety of other programs.

Here’s what to know before you go to Printers Row Lit Fest:

When: Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11 from 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. Click here for the Lit Fest schedule.

Where: Dearborn Street between Polk Street and Congress Parkway. Click here to see a map and for directions.

Author appearances and workshops will be indoors at either the Harold Washington Library or Jones College Prep while bookseller booths will remain outside.

Tickets: Admission is free for most programs, but seating is on a first come, first served basis. For these events, you can make a reservation in order to guarantee entrance to the event, but walk-ups will be accepted if open seats are available.


Headliner Events:

These programs are ticketed and include:

  • U.S. Senator Al Franken, author of “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” – Saturday, June 10, 3:00 p.m., $35 for a guaranteed seat and a copy of “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate”
  • NBA All-Star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, author of “Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50 Year Friendship On and Off the Court” – Sunday, June 11, 1:00 p.m., $5 or $35 for a guaranteed seat and a pre-signed copy of “Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50 Year Friendship On and Off the Court”

Types of Programming

One of the great things about the Printers Row Lit Fest is that there’s something for everyone. Even if you can’t get in to your desired event, there’s still a lot to see and do.

The format types for Lit Fest programs include: ceremonies, conversations/author talks, cooking demos, interactive events, panel discussions, performances, poetry readings/slams, and workshops. If you have kiddos in tow, don’t worry because the Lil’ Lit Park offers activities such as storytelling, sing-alongs, and interactive programs like yoga and readings.

Lit Fest Exhibitors

I remember one year I had some down time after lunch and I wandered over to an interactive event called Drink and Draw, which had a brief talk from illustrators followed by timed drawing prompts. Trying something different was a lot of fun and I was able to network with some great people. Whether you’re up for something new, or sticking to the tried and true, be sure to check out this year’s Lit Fest exhibitors.

Lit Fest exhibitors include presses, booksellers, publishers, organizations, literary magazines, and new this year is the American Writers Museum, which just opened in Chicago last month. For the complete list of exhibitors, click here.

While you are pursuing books and chatting with exhibitors, don’t forget to visit CWIP in the IWPA (Illinois Woman’s Press Association) tent on Saturday, June 10. Stop by just to say hello or to find out more about CWIP’s programming, membership benefits, and volunteer opportunities. We’d love to see you there!


Image credit: Photo by Richard Cahan. Taken on June 4, 2011. Photo is from flickr and is used under Creative Commons license.

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