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.
Exhibit B is a performance series sponsored by the Guild Literary Complex that highlights exciting text-based work in Chicago.
Founded by School of the Art Institute of Chicago alums J. Howard Rosier, Alex Shapiro, James Stewart, and Ian Wojcikiewicz, Exhibit B pushes artists to think beyond the typical limitations of a reading and develop new ways to bring their work into the world.
At Exhibit B, this means that writers experiment with new forms—poets turn their work into video essays—and artists who don’t traditionally exhibit at readings, like photographers, have a new outlet for their work. More than anything else, the founders want the shows to be accessible to all audiences in a way that readings typically haven’t been.
“In many ways, readings haven’t changed since the invention of the printing press. Audience members gather in a room, writers stand to read, and then there is polite applause. They’re often staid and unexciting. And as a result, most readings end up feeling like events by writers for writers—not the wider world that writers want to reach.
Exhibit B is looking to change that.”
“We don’t want to tell people what to do, we just want to create a space for people to express themselves.”
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.
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.
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 www.ameshawkins.com.
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.