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.


10/14: Palabra Pura w/ Ana Castillo

10/16: Exquisite Crawl w/ MAKE Literary Productions

10/21: Exhibit B Special Event @ The Martin (details TBD)

11/6: Wandering the Body, featuring Ananda Lima, Joanna Novak, Natania Rosenfeld, and Keli Stewart


Eric Charles May @ Drum Talk Annual Book & Lit Fair

Saturday, October 9th, our Board President Eric Charles May will be reading at the Drum Talk Annual Book & Literary Fair at the DuSable Museum. His reading will be at 12pm, and the fair runs from 10am to 7pm. Don’t miss it!

Learn more 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 Nile Lansana reading “My Dreams, My Works, Must Wait Till After Hell” and “To the Young Who Want to Die.”

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


In case you missed our May 19 event celebrating Reginald Gibbons’ latest poetry collection, Renditions, we have the full night on video. The reading also featured Ed Roberson and IL Poet Laureate Angela Jackson.


View the full recording below!

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.

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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

colorful splotches with the Lit and Luz logo in the center
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

Collage of the headshots of all 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.

Learn more

Headshot of Ruben Quesada
Ruben Quesada

Ruben Quesada is author of Next Extinct Mammal, and Exiled from the Throne of Night: Selected Translations of Luis Cernuda. His poems and translations have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, and other anthologies and journals…

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Headshot of Frances de Pontes Peebles
Frances de Pontes Peebles

Frances de Pontes Peebles is the author of The Seamstress and The Air You Breathe. Translated into ten languages, her books have won the Elle Grand Prix for fiction and the Friends of American Writers Award. The Air You Breathe was a Book of the Month Club pick…

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