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POSTPONED – LitCon 2020

May 29, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - May 30, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

LitCon is a literary arts summit in Chicago intended for teaching artists, program participants, and nonprofit leadership.

About this Event


The 2020 Literature for All of Us Summit (LitCon) is an initiative of program staff at Literature for All of Us, along with representatives from Chicago’s leading literary arts organizations: ConTextos, 826Chi, Chicago Literacy Alliance, Young Chicago Authors, Open Books, and Resilience Chicago.

On the weekend of May 29th, we’re bringing leaders and educators from a range of backgrounds to share knowledge, build relationships, and advance a common vision: a working collective where literary arts organizations and the communities we work with are brought together to connect and create with one another.

In our inaugural year, LitCon will showcase visionary creative change-makers from across Chicago who are using the power of literary arts to examine and challenge inequity, engender hope, and promote connected, creative communities.

LitCon will be held May 29-30, 2020 at the Literacenter, run by the Chicago Literacy Alliance, and feature programs and presenters discussing how to build and share best practices for collaboration in literary arts programming, developing teaching and learning tools for new and returning teaching artists to the literary arts field, and offering exciting workshops to challenge participants’ creativity.


Pre-Conference Poetry Bash: Friday, May 29, time TBD

Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior St. Chicago, IL 60654

Come celebrate poetry at our end-of-year Poetry Bash! Featuring the work from the students from Sinclair Alternative High School and Second Chance High School

LitCon Mixer and Open Mic!: Friday, May 29, 6-7:30pm

Chicago Literacy Alliance, Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St. 3rd Floor, Chicago 60661

Enjoy drinks and snacks and the performance work of local musicians and artists as we kick off our first-annual LitCon!

LitCon Summit: Saturday May 30, 9am-5pm

Chicago Literacy Alliance, Literacenter, 641 W. Lake St. 3rd Floor, Chicago 60661

A full day summit of workshops, artistic practice, and idea sharing.

Ticket holders have full access to all LitCon events.


Saturday’s day-long conference will host three tracks: one for program participants, one for teaching artists, and one for staff leadership.

[Please note: Tickets must be purchased according to your chosen track.]

1) Participants (P) Curious to experience other workshops from different literary arts organizations? The Participant track is for you! Each workshop offered is a sample of just some of the work LitConpartners are offering, ranging from creative writing to group discussions and more.

Programming is inclusive for both youth and adult participants.

2) Educators/Teaching Artists (ETA) For teachers, teaching artists and community advocates alike, the Educator/Teaching Artist track has been curated to offer skills and tools sharing for program execution, self-care tips to prevent burnout, and opportunities to brainstorm new programming ideas with fellow educators.

Programming is geared towards certified teachers, teaching artists, community advocates and workers interested in developing programming and collaborative opportunities.

3) Program Leadership (PL) As Program and Organization Leaders, navigating the best practices of how to implement and support literary arts-based programming can be challenging. Questions that the Program Leadership track can help with include:

“How can you create sustainable programming relationships?”

“How can my organizational team support teaching artists and educators?”

“How do I know what kind of programming my organization is capable of?”

Programming is geared toward Program Managers, Directors and other organization leadership, but is inclusive to Educators and Teaching Artists.


This event is a chance for skill sharing and network-building, and an avenue for community feedback. LitCon will:

  • Gather literary arts leaders, educators and participants in one space to learn from one another’s skills, share their experiences, and create art together
  • Share materials, connections and ideas across organizations, both in-person and online, that will strengthen the field of literary arts in Chicago
  • Create opportunities for participants (authors, youth, etc.) to give their feedback to organizations with whom they work


Launching LitCon : A note from the organizers

RuthRuth Orme-Johnson, Program Operations Director, Literature for All of Us

Co-organizer, LitCon 2020

“Sometimes in non-profit work, we can feel as though we work in isolation. It can be difficult to discover what good (let alone “best”) practice might be. Especially if we operate in an unusual space like literary arts, where creativity, literacy and social justice all intersect.

At LitCon, organization leaders will gather to examine how we might best support our staff, communicate our messages, and meet our programming needs, all while maintaining a strong bottom line. LitConwill provide space for input from director, staff and program participant levels, creating a unique chance to consider our work from a holistic perspective.

Join us to create, share, and explore together.”

by haydée souffrant “You know…I thought book group was gonna be boring, but it’s pretty dope. We talk about real stuff, and that’s cool.” – Darlene O., Book Group Participant, Upton Sinclair High School Can you believe it’s already November? Six weeks into many of our book groups, it’s hard to think that it was only this summer that I was interviewing for a new Book Group Leader position with Literature for All of Us. Having graduated from my MFA Creative Writing program in May, I was at a loss to find work that spoke to my creative practice, and the need to give back to the communities that supported me in my six years here in Chicago. And once I began working at LFAOU, I found that the intersections of my professional, civic and creative practice finally found a home. From September until now, I’ve already come to work with a wide variety of participants—from sites like Simpson Academy for Young Women, where we read portions of the amazing short story collection Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America, edited by Ibi Zoboi; to Upton Sinclair High School, where students took to the powerful memoir A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown. These are just a few just of the sites I’ve worked with that have taught me that there’s a necessity for a space to just exist and speak your truth, or just discover something new about yourself. For example, over the last few weeks, a student from my group at Upton Sinclair gradually became more open to sharing her experiences as a young mom, and talked about how reading A Piece of Cake has gotten her to think about motherhood and what she can offer to her daughter. It's moments like that makes me understand how the rhythm of book group — ritual, discussion, and reflection— allows participants to grow more comfortable with the community they’re building with one another.Haydée Souffrant, Book Group Leader, Literature for All of Us

Co-organizer of LitCon 2020

“When Ruth asked me to join her in the planning of LitCon, it had been a few weeks into my position as a new Book Group Leader, facilitating discussions about the books and topics that could echo in our lives. I had always drawn from the model of collective work and restorative justice as the link for successful arts programming, so naturally I said of course I’ll help.

Having been a teaching artist and arts administrator for over 7 years, I had no idea how to start— let alone create—a sustainable educator practice that allowed me to be intentional about work that reflected my core values, while allowing me to be a creative agent. If only I had LitCon back then! It’s my hope that this summit guides teaching artists to not have to search into the void for collaborators or the next TA opportunity, especially those seeking work in the literary arts.”


I want to attend LitCon! Can I buy a ticket? Yes, you can purchase tickets here.

What if I don’t work in non-profit, am not a teaching artist, educator, or a program participant?

That’s okay! Feel free to purchase a ticket at the “Community Advocate” level, which asks purchasers to pay what they can (up to $50). You will be able to attend and participate in whatever programming feels relevant to your interests.

Who will be there and what will be going on at LitCon? We’ll have details on individual workshops and other activities in the coming weeks.

I would like to lead a workshop. Great! Please fill out this form by March 2.

Is this summit ADA-friendly? Yes, the building has a wheelchair accessible entrance through Open Books (614 W. Lake) that will lead you to elevators. There will be signage for all areas related, and restrooms are ADA accessible.

What ages are the tracks intended for? While there is no specific “age” for each track, the workshops and programs are inclusive for youth grades 9-12 and adult participants.

How long will the summit be? The day-long summit will run from 8am to 5pm on Saturday May 29, with breaks for breakfast and lunch.

I’m a college/grad student, where do I fit in with programming? We’re glad to have you join us! Feel free to explore the Educators/Teaching Artist track if you are interested in literary arts education, or the Participants track if you want to experience new writing/literary arts activities. Program details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Partners: ConTextos, 826Chi, Chicago Literacy Alliance, Young Chicago Authors, Open Books, Resilience Chicago


May 29, 2020 @ 6:00 pm
May 30, 2020 @ 5:00 pm


Chicago Literacy Alliance
641 West Lake Street #200
Chicago, IL 60661 United States
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