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Fourth Annual Elgin Literary Festival Returns to Downtown January 26 and 27

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Chicago-based author Gint Aras returns to the 2018 Elgin Literary Festival as the curator of a series of discussions entitled Writing In Our Moment, Photo by Roberto Martinez Chicago-based author Gint Aras returns to the 2018 Elgin Literary Festival as the curator of a series of discussions entitled Writing In Our Moment, Photo by Roberto Martinez

The fourth annual Elgin Literary Festival (ELF) returns to downtown Elgin Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27, with a mix of panel discussions, lectures, poetry readings, and more.

The two-day festival includes featured speakers Miller Oberman and Chuck Wendig, a presentation and performance by magician William Pack, and a series of curated discussions on contemporary writing in our society entitled Writing In Our Moment by Gint Aras, and is sponsored by BRAVO Magazine, Elgin Cultural Arts Commission, Hemmens Cultural Center, and Side Street Studio Arts. The festival is free and open to the public.

“When we started the Elgin Literary Festival in 2015, our mission was simple: bring a writers’ conference to our local community,” said ELF Founder and Elgin-based author Karly Kirkpatrick. “The collaboration with Side Street and the City of Elgin has produced exactly that, a brilliant mix of education and artistic interaction for writers and readers of all abilities and genres.”

ELF activities will kick off Friday at 5pm with Neologian Drink, Write, Drink: ELF Edition, brought to the festival by Colleen Davidson, Melissa Franic, and Liz Melvin. Drink, Write, Drink will allow writers to network, share prompts, and dive into the festival. Friday also includes Oberman’s presentation at 7pm and Blindsight: A Live Poetry Event, hosted by Elgin poet Jeffrey Pierce, featuring live music from Accidentally On Purpose at 8:30pm.

Saturday’s events run 9am to 4pm, and will include presentations from new and returning ELF authors, including Reggie Kee, A.J. Pine, Wayne Turmel, and many more, as well as book signings and sales from over 30 authors from 11am to 1pm, with lunch available onsite from Blue Box Café.

“I love that this event is not only free and open to the public, thanks to the Elgin Cultural Arts Commission,” said ELF Committee Member Erin Rehberg, “but also that on these bitter days of winter, you can park for free in downtown Elgin and spend the day bouncing around the festival, which is all contained in the warm and dry Hemmens Cultural Center Exhibition Hall.”

Printed programs with full event descriptions are available around town in BRAVO Magazine and at Side Street Studio Arts and a downloadable PDF version is available at www.sidestreetstudioarts.org.

Featured speakers:

Gint Aras:  Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas) has published prose and translations in The St. Petersburg Review, Quarterly West, Antique Children, Curbside Splendor, and other publications. He’s also the author of two novels, Finding the Moon in Sugar (Infinity, 2009) and The Fugue  (Tortoise Books, 2016), a finalist for the 2016 Chicago Writers Awards Book of the Year.

Miller Oberman:  Miller Oberman’s book of poems and translations, The Unstill Ones, is newly out from Princeton University Press in the fall of 2017. Miller is a former Ruth Lilly Fellow as well as a 2016 winner of the 92nd St Y’s Boston Review/Discovery Prize. Miller has recent poems and translations in Poetry, Tin House, London Review of Books, and The Nation. He teaches writing at The New School and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

William Pack:  William Pack grew up in a working class neighborhood on the southwest side of

Chicago. At an early age he discovered the Back of the Yards branch library and the books he read opened up new and different worlds for him. While staying true to his blue-collar roots, he dreamed one day of creating a world all his own. He got his first job in a magic shop at the age of 11 and he has been perfecting his trade ever since. He is a graduate of the Chavez College of Manual Dexterity and Prestidigitation, an award winning professional magician and storyteller, Victorian séance reenactor, former card cheat, ex-casino surveillance, occasional author, world-renowned magic historian, and magic consultant for the movie Ali, starring Will Smith. William has shared his love of history and stories by writing about some of the curious characters and extraordinary events that interest him.


Chuck Wendig:  Chuck is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Under the Empyrean Sky, Blue Blazes, Double Dead, Bait Dog, Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse and Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits. He also the author of the soon-to-be-published novels: The Cormorant, Blightborn (Heartland Book #2), Heartland Book #3, Dinocalypse Forever, Frack You,  and The Hellsblood Bride. Also coming soon is his compilation book of writing advice from his blog “The Kick-Ass Writer” coming from Writers Digest. In addition to those titles, he also wrote three novels in the Star Wars: Aftermath series, including Aftermath, Aftermath: Life Debt, and Aftermath: Empire’s End.  He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is an alum of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic , showed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey. Together they co-wrote the digital transmedia drama Collapsus, which was nominated for an International Digital Emmy and a Games 4 Change award. Chuck has contributed over two million words to the game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios/CCP). He was a frequent contributor to The Escapist , writing about games and pop culture. Much of his writing advice has been collected in various writing- and storytelling-related e-books. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, two dogs, and tiny human.

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