10th Ward Lit, a new literary magazine from the Evanston Public Library, strives to give an opportunity to the underrepresented and lesser known artists of Evanston to share their work and be a further part of their community. The name of this magazine comes from the library itself, where residents of all nine wards come together. The 10th Ward Lit website affirms that the aforementioned “10th Ward” is the community of individuals and artists formed in the Evanston Public Library.
M. Halka, Exhibits and Creative Programs Library Assistant at the Evanston Public Library, said a librarian created a cookbook during the pandemic in order for people to have something fun and creative to do during lockdown, and after its surprise success, a group of librarians got together and formed the idea of an art-based, community project, which would soon be known as 10th Ward Lit.
On March 11, 2020, the CDC declared that the pandemic had begun. Since then, the world has been forced to adjust to a daily life consisting of masks, social distancing, and remote learning. 10th Ward Lit’s first installment, “The Coronavirus Issue,” will be released in late summer to early fall of this year, and, according to the 10th Ward Lit website, will be dedicated to the people that were lost in the pandemic and will celebrate what everyone has gained through these trying times.
10th Ward Lit welcomes submissions from Evanston residents who are 15 and older. Submissions can consist of poetry, short fiction, sequential fiction (comics), photography, illustrations, and creative non-fiction. The 10th Ward Lit is particularly looking for members of the LGBTQ+ community, artists of color, indigenous residents, women, and members of the disabled community to participate in this magazine. Some submissions will be accepted in Spanish, said Jill Schacter, the library’s Engagement Coordinator. The deadline for submissions for “The Coronavirus Issue” will be extended to June 30, she said.
After the first issue is released, the Evanston Public Library plans to hold an open mic for the artists featured in the magazine to share their work in a more personal and upfront way, as well as spread the word about 10th Ward Lit. This event is scheduled for July 14 on Zoom or in person, depending on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restrictions and limitations at the given date.
The Fall 2021 edition of 10th Ward Lit will focus on nature, climate justice, and the Earth and will be released as “The Climate Issue.” Submissions open on July 1. The 10th Ward releases quarterly.