The fifth annual Evanston Literary Festival ( will be held May 11-19 at sites around Evanston to celebrate the City’s vibrant literary community and history.

The festival will include dozens of free events featuring fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children’s literature, storytelling, graphic novels, writing workshops and much more, with prominent authors, many of whom live or work in Evanston. Admission to all events is free.

The Evanston Literary Festival begins on May 11 with the second annual Evanston Literary Festival Book Fair, where local publishers, authors and literary organizations will sell their books and offer information  from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

That evening 11, the Festival will feature an event at 5 p.m. at Bookends & Beginnings Bookstore, 1712 Sherman Ave., called “Celebrating Evanston Voices,” which will include prominent Evanston writers such as Reginald Gibbons and Parneshia Jones.

The Festival also features works by many local authors and Northwestern professors, including Shalini Shankar’s new book, “Beeline: What Spelling Bees Reveal about the New American Childhood,” May 14,  Hollis Clayson’s “Illuminated Paris,” May 17 and an event with the authors of “Billionaires and Stealth Politics,” May 17.

The Northwestern Spring Writers’ Festival will be held May 13-15, with Lesley Nneka Arimah, Layli Long Soldier and Esmé Weijun Wang speaking at Northwestern University as part of the Evanston Literary Festival.

Several events at Comix Revolution focus on graphic novels, including a May 11 talk with Ken Krimstein, a May 16 panel discussion with One Book One Northwestern about the new graphic novel version of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and panels with other graphic novelists.

So What? Press will discuss horror in Comics on May 15 and the growth of comics in the Chicago area on May 19. Prominent panelists will include Keiler Roberts and Marnie Galloway.

Another focus of this year’s Festival is writing about global issues. On May 13, an event on telling the stories of migrant people will feature the nonprofit group 90 Days, 90 Voices and Northwestern professor Wendy Pearlman.

On May 18, the Evanston-based poetry journal RHINO will hold a reading of global and translated poetry. That evening, a variety of authors will present a reading on “Migration, Home, and the Endless Search for Belonging,” including both prominent poets (such as Tarfia Faizullah and Faisal Mohyuddin) and up-and-coming student poets.

The Festival will include authors from two Evanston-based publishers. Rebecca Sive will talk about her Agate book,” Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing the First Woman President” on May 18 and the legendary 100-year-old activist Timuel Black will discuss his Northwestern University Press book “Sacred Ground” on the concluding day of the Festival, May 19.

The Festival also includes several free writing workshops (with pre-registration), and the Evanston Public Library will host an event about Biblioboard to help self-published authors.

The Evanston Literary Festival – created in partnership with the Chicago Book Expo, Bookends & Beginnings bookstore, Northwestern University’s Creative Writing Program, Comix Revolution and the Evanston Public Library – was founded by co-organizers Lynn Haller and John K. Wilson as a way of bringing attention to Evanston’s authors, independent bookstores and literary culture.

A full schedule of the Evanston Literary Festival, including times, venues, descriptions and additional events, is online at

Events are free and open to the public.