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.

Featured Event

Black and white drawing of Gwendolyn Brooks looking to the side.

10th Annual BrooksDay

Wednesday, June 7th | 12-6 PM @ South Shore Cultural Center

Upcoming Events

June 7, 2023

12pm – 6pm

South Shore Cultural Center

Join us in celebrating the 10th annual BrooksDay, a commemoration of Chicago poet Gwendolyn Brooks!

This year, the Guild Literary Complex is celebrating with the Poetry Foundation alongside their launch of One Poem, One Chicago. The program’s inaugural collection, Blacks by Gwendolyn Brooks, which will be reissued by Third World Press and available at your local Chicago Public Library and through public programming.

12:00 pm – Doors open for workshop participants only

12:15 – 1:15 pm – Golden Shovel Workshop with Maggie Queeney (limited space, please register here)

1:00 pm – Doors open for BrooksDay reading

1:30 pm – BrooksDay reading begins

3:30 pm – Break + birthday cake celebration!

5:30 pm – Reading concludes

Afterwards, join Brooks Permissions for ALL THIS LIFE: Examining Gwendolyn Brooks’ Maud Martha! The panel will feature Sandra Cisneros, Dr. Joanne Gabbin, and Sandra Jackson-Opoku delving into the profound impact of Gwendolyn Brooks and her seminal novel, Maud Martha. The event will be streamed live on Wednesday, June 7, 2023, from 7:00pm to 8:15pm (Central Time) on Brooks Permissions’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: One Poem, One Chicago

One Poem, One Chicago, an opportunity to engage Chicagoans in poetry and foster a sense of community through reading, will launch with a reissue of Gwendolyn Brooks’s landmark poetry collection Blacks, which will be available via CPL and public programming.

To complement Chicago’s collective reading of Blacks, there will be several free events and opportunities to learn about Ms. Brooks’s life and legacy.

In collaboration with the Poetry Foundation, the Guild Literary Complex will be hosting BrooksDay 2023, our annual celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks, with a reading of Blacks and new poems by local poets.


Press Room

Press Room is an ongoing series through the Guild Literary Complex that explores topics often shunned by the media, offering a view from both a personal and literary perspective. 

Press Room engages audiences in topics and discussions related to current events, highlighting individual, first-person voices impacted by important contemporary conversations. Each Press Room event is organized around a widely discussed topic in the press that directly impacts members of Chicago’s many communities.

Learn more about past and upcoming events here.

ICYMI: Watch our featured Press Room event from May 2022
The Guild Complex celebrated AAPI Heritage Month earlier this year with with a group of writers led by Kemlyn Tan Bappe and Keith Mar, featuring Ravichandra P. Chittampalli, Maureen Medina, Lu-Shien Tan, and Phynne-Belle.
Keith Mar is a Chinese-American spoken word poet, psychotherapist and multicultural trainer who uses poetry to ask questions about race, identity, self-love and social justice. Using the power of fierce vulnerability, he seeks emotional connection through the depiction of intimate yet universal experiences. Keith believes that spoken word can build bridges between communities, help celebrate roots and inspire a sense of social connection at a time our culture is urgently in need of it.
Kemlyn Tan Bappe is a multi-disciplinary artist with expressions in print-performance poetry and visual art from Singapore, and a special education teacher in Arizona. She hosts “Between The Lines with Kemlyn Tan Bappe.”. Her poems are published in Singapore and the United States of America. Tan Bappe performs online open mics and programs around the world. She’s toured with two repertory companies, received the VSA Teaching Artist Fellowship in Washington D.C. 2009 and presented at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. She is the director of Q’s Blue World.


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.

Learn more