Support Chicago Public Library with a gift of any level.

Teens Launch ChiTeen Lit Fest and Declare their Love of Literature

Calling all teens! Join us at the inaugural ChiTeen Lit Fest April 15th and 16th for poetry, performance and more – created by teens for teens. 

Photo Credit: Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribute
Photo Credit: Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribute

On April 15th and 16th, the Harold Washington Library and Columbia College will be full of teenage performers, poets and teens who just like to read. The inaugural ChiTeen Lit Fest is Chicago’s first teens-by-teens literary festival. The Lit Fest was created through YOUmedia, Chicago Public Library’s innovative program for Chicago teens.

“[The goal of the event] is to spread the word and celebrate the fact that teens actually like reading,” said 15-year-old Iris Haastrup, a member of the Teen Advisory Committee which is in charge of planning ChiTeen Lit Fest.

Iris concedes that not everyone knows how deeply teens engage with the written word. “What people need to understand,” she explains, “is that reading and literature can be portrayed in so many different ways – poetry, storytelling, [and] more! There are different kinds of people and they all connect through one thing – reading.”

“The Chicago Teen Lit Fest seeks to bring together young people from across Chicago and celebrate their talents as they express themselves through exceptional and honest art.” according to the Lit Fest website, which was also created by teens. When asking Iris who she wants to see at the Fest, she replied, “All teens from all over the city.”

The three-day event includes a kick-off party on Friday, April 15 will include food, live DJ, photos, and live interviews. Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17, teens will participate in panels, workshops, and activities such as Storytelling in Gaming, Get It Covered: Publishing Your Work, It’s Good To Be Bad: Banned Books and Why We Love Them, Intro to Comics and Character Design With Corinne Mucha, and Lyric Writing with Twone Gabz.

ChiTeen List Fest is free. All teens ages 14 – 18 are welcome. The event will take place at Harold Washington Library Center and Columbia College. For more information on ChiTeen Lit Fest, visit Per Sarah Alsuhkni of the Teen Advisory Committee, “It’s going to be ‘lit’”.

The ChiTeen Lit Fest is brought to you by Chicago Public Library, Columbia College Chicago, Poetry Foundation, UIC-College of Education, After School Matters, Center for College Access and Success, with sponsorship from Allstate, Jewel Catering, Chicago Tribune, and Kuumba Lynx.

The event is supported by the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at the Chicago Community Trust.