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 on social and restorative justice issues, providing arts and advocacy programming for marginalized voices.


Stay tuned for winter program updates!

2021 Authors Challenge

Featured Event

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Watch: Wandering the Body

On Tuesday, November 9, we featured four female authors in a special reading and discussion event: Ananda Lima, JoAnna Novak, Natania Rosenfeld, and Keli Stewart.

Watch the full recording of this event here!

BrooksDay 2021

On June 7, 2021, we celebrated the birth of Gwendolyn Brooks with readings of her poetry and prose by members of our Guild community. All video contributions can be viewed in full on our YouTube page! Below is Arne Weingart reading “A Lovely Love.”

Watch the full recording of our book release, reading, and discussion from June 22, featuring Aviya Kushner and Adriana X. Jacobs!


GUILD SPOTLIGHT: Palabra Pura Programming

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Palabra Pura

Palabra Pura is a bilingual reading series that promotes literary expression in Spanish, English, and/or other languages.

Palabra Pura es una serie de lecturas bilingües que promueve la expresión literaria en español, inglés y otros idiomas.

Learn more

Palabra Pura Luis J Rodriguez event
In Conversation, Luis J Rodriguez with Logan Lu

In October 2020, writer and publisher Luis J. Rodriguez discuss his most recent book, From Our Land to Our Land, with Chicago-based poet and MC, Logan Lu.

This event was produced in partnership by Guild Literary Complex and the Lit & Luz Book Club.

Watch the video

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Lit & Luz

As one of the Guild’s partner organizations, the Lit & Luz Festival is a one-of-a-kind series of events featuring renowned authors and visual artists from Chicago and Mexico in cultural exchange and conversation.

When not faced with a pandemic, the festival takes place in Chicago in the fall, followed by events in Mexico City in winter

Learn more


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.

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GUILD SPOTLIGHT: 30 Writers to Watch

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30 Writers to Watch

In 2019, the Guild introduced 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.

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Michael Fischer
Michael Fischer

Michael Fischer is a Moth Chicago StorySlam winner, a Luminarts Cultural Foundation Fellow, and a mentor for incarcerated authors through the Pen City Writers program. His work appears in Salon, The Sun, Orion, Guernica, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He graduated earlier this month with an MA from the University of Chicago and is currently teaching writing workshops for chronically homeless veterans in Colorado as the Lighthouse Fort Lyon Writer-in-Residence. 

Learn more about our 30 Writers to Watch

Kwabena Foli

Kwabena Foli was born in Belgium and raised in the Southside of Chicago. He is the author of learning rhythm (Flowered Concrete) and winner of The Los Angeles Review Award for poetry (2018). Other publications include Mikrokosmos Journal, Meridian, Crab Orchard Review, Salt Hill Journal and elsewhere. His work is also anthologized in Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks from Curbside Press. His next collection on god will be published by Candor Arts later this year.

Learn more about Kwabena