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.


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.

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GUILD SPOTLIGHT: 30 Writers to Watch

Collage of the headshots of all 30 Writers to Watch
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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Ames Hawkins

Ames Hawkins is a creative-critical scholar, educator, and art activist. Her book, These are Love(d) Letters, debuts September 9, 2019 with Wayne State University Press. Ames’ work appears across a range of academic and literary publications such as Pre/Text, Constellations, Palaver Journal, enculturation, Slag Glass City, The Feminist Wire, The Rumpus, and Water~Stone Review. A professor in the English and Creative Writing Department at Columbia College Chicago, her online portfolio can be found at

Raul Dorantes

Raul Dorantes been an active editorial board member of several literary magazines. Currently, he is a member of the editorial board of the digital magazine El Beisman. As a playwright, Dorantes has created numerous plays. He published the novel De zorros y erizos and a collection of short stories titled Noches de tablarroca. Dorantes works as a professor of Latin American literature at Northeastern Illinois University.

Learn more about our 30 Writers to Watch