An appeal from the Board President 

Dear friends,

As we witness the disturbing intolerance toward people and ideas that diverge from the mainstream, the work of the Guild Literary Complex has never been more important than it is right now. For the past 27 years the marginalized voices of women, people of color, people of different faiths, the LGBTQ community, and immigrants have been at the center of our programming.

The Guild Complex has championed, and continues to provide, an important counterbalance to the center by presenting writers who represent our culture of radical inclusivity. This has been our unwavering mission from the beginning, and, as we enter our 28th year, we remain as committed as ever to this work.

Accessibility is an important part of our mission. We believe in presenting events in communities where our artists and many of their supporters live and work. Over the past three years the Guild Complex has presented live literary events in 22 of Chicago’s 50 wards working in collaboration with many organizations that represent the broad diversity of Chicago’s neighborhoods.

We can’t continue our work without committed supporters like you.

Below, you will see an appeal for funds to match our Author’s challenge grant. These challenge grant funds were donated by prominent Chicago authors who feel strongly that marginalized voices need to be heard.

We do not receive the challenge grant funds unless we receive a matching amount from the public. Please consider donating right now. Your donation matched by artists in our community will allow the Guild Literary Complex to continue providing an important alternative to hatred and intolerance. We need it now more than ever.


Mike Puican
Guild Complex Board President

$2,550 Challenge from Acclaimed Authors
Will you meet their challenge and donate today?

Greetings Guild Family,

For the past 27 years, the Guild Literary Complex has never wavered from the crucial work of supporting underrepresented writers and voices exemplified by Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods and our rich literary legacy. In support of this critical work, a number of prominent Chicago authors have stepped up to create our annual Authors’ Challenge Grant.  This year, Scott Turow, Tony Fitzpatrick, Garnett Kilberg-Cohen, Michael Warr, Elise Paschen, Maggie Kast, Bill Ayers, Sharon Solwitz & Barry Silesky, and an anonymous author  in memory of Leon Forrest have contributed to a special $2,550 2016 challenge grant.

Every dollar you donate to the Guild Complex by December 31, 2016—up to $2,550—will be matched dollar-for-dollar by this group of superb writers who are as diverse as our programming.  Anything beyond our challenge grant goal will go to further Guild programming in 2017, helping us to continue advocating for and supporting important dialogues with and across the literary arts.

If you are an author who would like to be added to our cadre of 2016 Challenge Grant authors please let me know.  You can email me directly at –I look forward to chatting with you soon!

Will you answer the Author Challenge and donate to the Guild today?

If you do so you can win prizes–a bonus for your support of great literature! If you give at least $50 before December 31st, you will be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of a book by one of our Authors’ Challenge Grant writers!

Entering its remarkable 28th year, the Guild Literary Complex continues the crucial work of supporting and serving the Chicago community through innovative programming that highlights the intersections of marginality, the power of community, and the impact of arts and activism.  Over the past three years, we’ve held over 80 events in 22 of Chicago’s 50 wards,  many of which take place in locations unused to hosting literary events, and to seeing such range in voice and vision.  

Our programming has featured six recurring event series:

  •  Palabra Puracurated bilingual reading series with Chicago’s original Latino/a open mic;
  •   Leon Forrest Awards (renamed from the Prose Awards  this year in honor of the great Chicago writer and educator Leon Forrest)—our ongoing annual contest supporting Chicago-based fiction and nonfiction writers with two $500 prizes;
  •   Voices of Protest—readings of local, national and international poets fighting oppression and prejudice, leading Chicago to become an ICORN City of Refuge;
  •   BrooksDay—a  celebration of one of the 20th century’s greatest and most generous writers, 2017 launching with multiple satellite events leading up to the big June 7th centennial birthday celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks (Mark your calendars!); 
  •   Applied Words—mash-up of literary genres, artistic disciplines, and critical conversations;
  •   Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards—open mic poetry contest of emerging artists for a $500 prize, entering its 24th year;And in 2017 we will be rolling out new programs and events so be sure to check with us often at, on Facebook, and @GuildLitComplex to get the latest news about Guild happenings.No other organization in Chicago, and very few around the country, offer this range of programming.To succeed, we rely on the support of people like you. And as we plan exciting, culturally important programs for 2017—we ask you to support the Guild Literary Complex with a tax-deductible donation right now, during our Author’s Challenge Grant, because  your donation doubles whether you give $25 or $2,550!

    Please join our generous writers—and all champions of the Guild’s work—and make a gift today. All donations contribute to the Guild’s capacity as a vibrant force in Chicago’s cultural scene.

    Click here to learn more, including how you can send a donation by regular mail.

    With best wishes, many thanks, and my warmest regards, 

    Lisa Wagner
    Executive Director, Guild Literary Complex ~ Where Margins Meet
    877. 3945061
    Guild Literary Complex. PO Box 478880, Chicago, IL 60647-9998

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