Writing the West Side: The West Side Writers Guild, 1990-1996 Reunion, Reading & Reception

Cover of 1996 publication by the WSWG

Cover of 1996 publication by the WSWG

"The Collection is dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the people of the West Side of Chicago” 

-- Guildworks: Writings by the West Side Writers Guild, 1996 

 Join  Jane Addams Hull-House Museum as we reunite--for the first time in two decades--the founding members of the West Side Writers Guild (WSWG), an organization formed in 1990 that addressed the absence of literature about Chicago's West Side by creating works of their own, including self-publishing Guildworks: Writings by The West Side Writers Guild (1996).  Come engage in a provocative and lively discussion as these writers collectively remember their West Side experiences, reflect on the significance and legacy of their efforts and read excerpts from their pioneering works. They'll also discuss the future of West Side literature. 

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Speakers include the original WSWG writers:  Mark Allen Boone is a fiction editor and writer, founder of independent publisher, Blacksmith Books, LLC, and author of Reunion: A Novel of the New South (1989) and mystery novel, The Demise of Luleta Jones (2006); both novels are set on Chicago’s West Side. Cranston S. Knight is a historian, author, freelance photographer, and an Adjunct Professor of History at St. Augustine College in Chicago. He has published multiple poetry collections, including, In The Garden Of The Beast: Vietnam Sings A love Song, (1998) and La Brigada: Spain 1939-1936 (2004).

Irene J. Steele is a native of  Garfield  Park and  Austin and current Alabama resident;  Some Glad Morning  was her debut novel (2007), a story set in a West Side community, as it sought to elect Chicago’s first African-American mayor in the 1980s. Harold Hunter  is a short fiction writer and life-long Chicagoan from North Lawndale and the Near West Side. Tina Jenkins Bell is a fiction writer, playwright, freelance journalist, literary activist and author of the hybrid fictitious account, "Looking for the Good Boy."  In January 2017, her short story,  The Last Supper appeared in Revise the Psalm, an anthology that honors the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks. The discussion will be moderated by Ellis Cose, a West Side native, best-selling author, longtime Newsweek columnist and senior fellow in residence at the American Civil Liberties Union. 
This program is presented in partnership with Guild Literaray Complex and Our Miss Brooks 100, a multi-year national celebration of poet, author and activist Gwendolyn Brooks, the first African- America to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize

Making the West Side: Community Conversations on Neighborhood Change is a multi-year  project funded through the  National Endowment for the Humanities that brings together scholars, activists, neighborhood residents, and other stakeholders to investigate the history of neighborhood change on Chicago’s West Side and connect those histories to contemporary issues and concerns. The website Making the West Side (launching soon) seeks to connect the many communities within the Chicago West Side neighborhood through conversations surrounding West Side history and the neighborhood’s continued change.