By Magdalene Paniotte
For those considering a creative-writing workshop or poetry reading event in Chicago, the following venues are great resources to begin your quest for personal enrichment and artistic expression.
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Established in 1887, the highly esteemed Newberry library was built in memory of Chicago businessman Walter L. Newberry who quite generously donated proceeds of his will toward the endowment of a public library. Today, The Newberry is a destination for intellectual enrichment within the Chicago metropolitan community and houses a rare collection of 1.5 million books dating back to the 1400s. With a special focus in the area of humanities, the library provides an extensive array of quality programs and events, exhibits, research and fellowship opportunities for teachers and scholars. Adult Education Seminars offer classes taught by seasoned professionals in language, music, philosophy and literature. Those of notable interest are courses specializing in the genres of creative writing listed in the writing workshops category.
Story Studio Chicago
4043 N. Ravenswood Ave. #222
Chicago, IL 60613
Story Studio Chicago is a hub of creative energy offering an abundance of specialized coursework that immerses students in every aspect of craft and technique. For novice fiction writers hoping to understand the creative process as well as published authors taking a refresher class, the center is a great place to learn and develop professionally through the exchange of ideas and positive feedback. Courses are taught in a warm and nurturing community of writers by instructors with many years of expertise in the field. From overcoming writer’s block to generating a full-length manuscript, workshops are designed to empower the writer and are tailored to individual skill level or artistic preference. With a strong attendance base and two convenient locations in Chicago and on the North Shore, the center is a thriving organization founded in 2003 by Jill Pollack, a well-known author, teacher and literary scholar.
1105 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642
Now in its 34th successful season, Chicago Dramatists is a premier arts organization focusing on the development of new and emerging playwrights through regularly scheduled readings, workshops and staged productions. Pioneered by artistic director Russ Tutterow, the company provides an excellent training ground and coursework curriculum through in-depth classes taught by industry professionals and designed with the serious playwright in mind. Chicago Dramatists’ community outreach programs are extensive. Most notably in the education sector, the school’s instructors reach out to youth by conducting 10-week seminars for writers in the public school system to cultivate and promote creativity. Additionally, the company has entered into a new collaborative partnership with the Goodman Theater to launch a residency program for the purpose of discovering talented Chicago playwrights.
The Writers’ Loft
1450 W. Waveland Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
A straightforward, no-holds, enthusiastic approach to creative writing, the program at Writers’ Loft is designed to release inhibition by encouraging spontaneity and simplifying the creative process in an easy-to-understand method of writing. Taught by bestselling author of “Immediate Fiction” and Northwestern University professor Jerry Cleaver, the inspirational techniques introduced here identify obstacles we tend to encounter in the composition phase while providing practical solutions. Thus, writers are empowered to leap beyond imaginary barriers that would otherwise prevent a healthy flow of ideas. Established in Chicago and in existence for 20 years, the organization has received numerous accolades for producing fearless, award-winning authors.
Jerry Cleaver would also like everyone to know that there is no advanced payment required at the loft — the first class is always a free trial. At the class, you’ll receive a copy of Jerry’s book, “Immediate Fiction”, and a CD of the workshop material, which is a gift if you decide not to return.
The Poetry Center of Chicago
78 E. Washington St., Pedway E.
Chicago, IL 60602
Currently in residence at the Cultural Center of Chicago, The Poetry Center’s mission is to create a welcoming and productive creative atmosphere conducive to the artistic development of poetic writers. The organization was founded in 1974 by Big Table magazine editor and board president Paul Carrol, whose directive and literary influence established the company through a decade-long series of readings and industry networking events. The Poetry Center provides continual growth opportunities for poets including residencies and internships, and offers intensive eight-week courses in beginning, advanced and master levels of instruction.
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Magdalene Paniotte is from Chicago and very pleased to be a CBS Contributor. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and has studied creative writing at the graduate level. Maggie enjoys composing articles and developing her voice as a freelance writer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.