The Guild Literary Complex is a 30-year-old grassroots literary arts organization creating performance-based events in and around the Chicagoland area. We partner and collaborate with other community groups and social and restorative justice issues, providing arts and advocacy programming for marginalized voices.


November 12
Speaking Truths Series: Home, Homeland, and Belonging

November 20
American Gun Book Launch

December 3
Exhibit B, Details TBD


Every dollar you donate to the Guild Complex—up to $6,000—will be matched dollar-for-dollar by this group of superb writers:

William Ayers, Rosellen Brown, Janet Burroway, Rita Dragonette, Reginald Gibbons, Renny Golden, Mary Hawley, Tim Hillegonds, Maggie Kast, Riva Lehrer, Christine Maul Rice, Eric May, Michele Morano, Faisal Mohyuddin, Sahar Mustafah, Mike Puican, Kathleen Rooney, Martin Seay, Barry Silesky, Sharon Solwitz, Ann Stanford, Rachel Swearingen, Scott Turow, and Jeremy T. Wilson.

Guild Authors Challenge

GUILD SPOTLIGHT: Gwendolyn Brooks Legacy Programming

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) was the author of more than twenty volumes of poetry and the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first Black woman to be poetry consultant to the Library of Congress and was the Illinois Poet Laureate. 

Read more about Brooks’ life.


The Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards (GBOMA) is an annual poetry competition founded by Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) and open to all Illinois residents over the age of 18. The top contestants selected by guest judges from the poetry community are invited to perform their original poems at the live finals event, where the audience favorite is awarded the $500 prize.

GBOMA was cancelled for 2020. Check back mid-2021 for updates!


BrooksDay is the Guild Literary Complex’s annual celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks, held every year on June 7th, the anniversary of her birth. Each year’s celebration commemorates Brooks’ artistic achievements and influential legacy through public performances of her work.

Learn more about BrooksDay.


Guild Literary Complex

In 1989, a local, community-based bookstore, Guild Books (once located on Lincoln Avenue) began regularly hosting progressive, stimulating, and eclectic literary events. Soon after, the Guild Complex established itself as an official non-profit organization with poet Michael Warr as its first executive director.

For the last 30 years, the Guild Literary Complex has been a pioneer on Chicago’s literary landscape, consistently hosting innovative and diverse events, featuring leading literary names, and welcoming new, emerging voices.

Read more about the Guild’s history.

GUILD SPOTLIGHT: 30 Writers to Watch

30 Writers to Watch

The Guild is pleased to introduce 30 writers identified by our extended community and selected by the Guild as 30 individuals whose careers represent the future of the literary arts in Chicago and beyond, and whose work reflects the spirit and values of the Guild Complex today.

Read more about the Guild’s 30 Writers to Watch

Tara Betts

Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit and Arc & Hue and the chapbooks 7 x 7: kwansabas and THE GREATEST!: An homage to Muhammad Ali…

Read more about the Guild’s 30 Writers to Watch

Kimberly Dixon-Mays

Kimberly Dixon-Mays is a poet, playwright and performer. A Cave Canem, Callaloo and Ragdale fellow with two collections…

Read more about the Guild’s 30 Writers to Watch