Top 5 Reasons to Visit the American Writers Museum in November

Top 5 Reasons to Visit the American Writers Museum in November

We have plenty of events and exhibits that are some of the top things to do in Chicago this month. Celebrate American writing with us!

Like a spiced pumpkin latte, November is filled to the brim with exciting ways to experience the American Writers Museum. Join us for one of our author programs this month and explore our newest exhibit Dark Testament. Plus, if you don’t have enough time on the night of an event, you can always save your event ticket and revisit at a later date to explore our exhibits more in depth. And AWM members get free admission to programs, so if you’re not already a member, become a member today!

1. The First Amendment Lives On (November 7, 6:00 pm CST)

The First Amendment Lives On book cover

We find ourselves at a moment in history when the rights granted to us in the First Amendment, namely freedom of speech and of the press, are precarious at best. People are trying to ban books across the country and censor thoughts and beliefs that go against their own thinking. While at the same time, the internet remains largely unchecked and any ideas—whether factual or not—can spread like a virus and become the dominant narrative. Professor Stuart N. Brotman discusses these challenges and more in his new book The First Amendment Lives On, a collection of conversations with First Amendment scholars and advocates that is inspired by Hugh M. Hefner, himself a staunch support of freedom of speech and of the press. Brotman presents this fascinating collection on November 7 at the American Writers Museum and is joined by John Palfrey, President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. This program takes place in person at the AWM and will also be broadcast live online and you can register for the livestream link here.

2. Ukrainian & Dissidents Writers Tour (November 8, 6:00 pm CST)

The Continental Literary Magazine

This panel discussion is presented by The Continental Literary Magazine, a quarterly English-language journal that provides a platform for Central and Eastern European literature, culture, and traditions as they are—edgy and classy. Sándor Jászberényi, editor-in-chief of The Continental Literary Magazine moderates this conversation aimed at promoting cultural exchange between Central Europe and the writers of the United States. In tumultuous and dangerous times like the ones we currently face, literature becomes even more important, as these writers demonstrate. Máté Makai, author of the 4th NOIR issue, and Dániel Levente Pál, executive director of The Continental Literary Magazine, join Jászberényi in conversation on this important topic. Register for this in person event at the AWM here.

3. The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing 2022 (November 13, 1:00 pm CST)

The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy with Rebecca Roanhorse, John Joseph Adams, and Veronica Roth

Spend a Sunday afternoon with some of the top science fiction and fantasy writers! The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing is an annual collection of stories that represent the best examples of the form published the previous year and explore the ever-expanding and changing world of SFF today. This year, guest editor Rebecca Roanhorse and series editor John Joseph Adams have selected 20 pieces that have a “decidedly global, multicultural feel” and are a “masterful showcase of what’s possible” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). Both Roanhorse and Adams will be on hand to discuss the collection, along with bestselling author Veronica Roth, the brilliant mind behind the Divergent series and the recently released novel Poster Girl. The Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing will be available for purchase along with other select works by these authors, and the writers will sign books following the program. Register to attend in person at the AWM here, or sign up for the link to the livestream here.

4. NaNoWriMo Writers Space (November 27, 10:00 am to 5 pm CST)

NaNoWriMo Writers Space event

November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as #NaNoWriMo, and we are here to help you cross the finish line! We are hosting our first ever NaNoWriMo Writers Space on November 27 during which we will provide coffee, tea, typewriters, paper, pencils, and the opportunity to connect with fellow writers and readers. Swap ideas, provide feedback, share writing tips and tricks and find the motivation you need to achieve your writing goals. Take inspiration from the writers of the past featured in our exhibits that you know and love, like Ray Bradbury who had a sign over his typewriter that read “DON’T THINK.” Or Jack Kerouac, who wrote his iconic novel On the Road in three weeks on one typewritten scroll. If he can do that, surely you can finish your novel! Register for the NaNoWriMo Writers Space here. And also explore our NaNoWriMo Resources Page for even more advice from writers.

5. Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice

Dark Testament photo collage and list of themes: Belonging, Joy, Violence, Justice

Immerse yourself in Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice and honor the significant contributions of Black writers to American literature and history. Explore and better understand racial injustice in America by examining the work of Black American writers from the end of the Civil War through the Civil Rights Movement. Featuring original artwork, augmented reality and other interactive elements that enliven and enrich the experience, Dark Testament brings the work of writers past and present to life in new and exciting ways. Launched in September, Dark Testament is our latest and largest exhibit to date, spanning three gallery spaces. All exhibits are included with Museum admission, so plan your visit to the American Writers Museum today!

BONUS: Native American Heritage Month

Photo of Joy Harjo with quote of hers that reads, "Poetry can speak across culture, boundaries. It has that power. But to meet Native poets, that's when I started writing."

November is also Native American Heritage Month and we’ve compiled resources to help you discover and celebrate indigenous writers, the very first storytellers of this land. On this page you’ll find a number of podcasts, blogs, past program videos, and more. Listen to U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo chat with Marie Arana about her work, oral storytelling, and the importance of representation in literature. Tune into the Nation of Writers podcast to learn how Sequoyah survived the Trail of Tears and went on to develop the written form of the Cherokee language, thus bringing literacy to his people. Watch Frank Waln and Tanaya Winder perform their music, songs, and poetry live at the AWM. The contributions of indigenous writers are vast and important, and there are many ways to honor their legacy. Explore our Native American Heritage Month resources here.

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