Shout-Out from Outsider Writers

Pilcrow got some love from Outsider Writers Collective's Tim Hall this morning:

The 2nd annual Pilcrow Lit Fest will be held the week of May 17-23 in Chicago, culminating with a full day of panels on the 23rd and a fantastic “rebuilt books” auction to cap off the event. Those of us who were there for the inaugural event last year can attest to how amazing it was, and what a brilliant job organizer Amy Guth did putting together events and panels that were really informative and interesting.



Photos and Video and Podcasts, Oh My!

Last year we opened the doors to photographers, videographers and podcasters to help document Pilcrow Lit Fest. The result was hundreds of photos, great videos and excellent roundtables.

This year we are inviting you back and we have something special in store for the podcasters and video folks. We're going to have a space set up in Baby Atlas for you to record on May 23rd. That way you can sneak away to a quiet spot, get your interview done and then quickly rejoin the festival upstairs.

Want to be a part of the team to document this year's Pilcrow Lit Fest? Leave a comment or contact me. I'll even make you a special badge.


Rebuilt Books

Rebuilt Books is on again this year, and in a big way.

Rebuilt Books is, as many of you remember, a fundraiser which asks writers to disassemble their own books (or partner with an artist and have him/her do it) then rebuild the book into a piece of art.

This year, Pilcrow Lit Fest/Chicago will be raising money for Young Chicago Authors, a wonderful organization for the young and inspired, and we encourage all writers to participate, whether they plan to attend Pilcrow Lit Fest or not. All we ask if that you email us so we can anticipate the arrival of your artwork, either when you ship it or deliver it. Easy enough.

See inspiration of last year's Rebuilt Books here with Timothy Schaffert's doll parts book, Laurel Snyder's switchplates, Laura Van Prooyen's word-lanterns, and one I still hear mentioned now and again, the Hitler turtle by Peter Davis.

Oh, and the auction isn't just an auction this year. Nay, this year, the auction is all week, in various venues, starting with the kickoff cocktail reception at Matilda's in Lakeview, and finishing in one wild event we're throwing alongside Opium's Literary Death Match here in town.

Oh yes, that Literary Death Match.


In Praise of the American Short Story

From A. O. Scott/NYT Week In Review:

... a good story, or a solid collection of them, can do more than a novel to illuminate the textures of ordinary life and the possibilities of language. And the short story may provide a timely antidote to the cultural bloat of the past decade, when it often seemed that every novel needed to be 500 pages long and every movie had to last three hours — or four years, if it took the form of a cable series.

The new, post-print literary media are certainly amenable to brevity. The blog post and the tweet may be ephemeral rather than lapidary, but the culture in which they thrive is fed by a craving for more narrative and a demand for pith. And just as the iPod has killed the album, so the Kindle might, in time, spur a revival of the short story. If you can buy a single song for a dollar, why wouldn’t you spend that much on a handy, compact package of character, incident and linguistic invention? Why wouldn’t you collect dozens, or hundreds, into a personal anthology, a playlist of humor, pathos, mystery and surprise?

The death of the novel is yesterday’s news. The death of print may be tomorrow’s headline. But the great American short story is still being written, and awaits its readers.

(hat tip to Megan Stielstra)