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!
From LGBTQ+ Pride Month to Immigrant Heritage Month to Juneteenth this month, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate! Join us at the American Writers Museum and honor the past, present, and future of American writing. Check out what we have lined up in June below and subscribe to our e-newsletter below to stay up-to-date on all that’s happening. Also, AWM members get free admission to the AWM and most programs, so if you’re not already a member, become a member today!
1. Zachary Zane: Boyslut (June 6, 6:00 pm CDT)
In Boyslut, sex and relationship columnist Zachary Zane bares it all in a series of essays—part memoir, part manifesto—exploring his coming-of-age and coming out as a bisexual man moving toward an embrace and celebration of sex unencumbered by shame. Boyslut is a series of personal and tantalizing essays that articulate how our society still shames people for the sex that they have and the sexualities that they inhabit. Through the lens of his bisexuality and much self-described sluttiness, Zane breaks down exactly how this sexual shame negatively impacts the sex and relationships in our lives and, through personal experience, shares how we can unlearn the harmful, entrenched messages that society imparts to us.
2. Lisa See: Lady Tan’s Circle of Women (June 12, 6:00 pm CDT)
Beloved author Lisa See reads from and discusses her captivating and vivid new novel Lady Tan’s Circle of Women. Set in 15th century China, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a fictional retelling of the life of one remarkable woman, Tan Yunxian, a female doctor whose book (translated variously as The Saying of a Woman Doctor, Miscellaneous Records of a Female Doctor, and The Comments of a Female Physician) contains formulas still used today in traditional Chinese medicine. Filled with Lisa See’s luminous writing, deep research, and emphasis on the primacy and importance of female friendship, Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a huge treat and an irresistible read for old fans and new readers alike. See is joined in conversation by Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, a novelist, short story writer, journalist and member of the AWM’s Board of Trustees. Books will be available for purchase, and See will sign books following the program.
3. Get Lit: Pride Night (June 13, 5:30 pm CDT)
This month at Get Lit, our monthly happy hour series, we’re celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride! Slay a themed scavenger hunt for the chance to win awesome prizes, experience a special drag storytime from Mrs. Yuka Layme, play games with the fine folks from Prism Games Chicago, and strut your stuff in the Pride Parade throughout the museum. And as always, enjoy beer, wine, and our signature cocktail This Drink Is Gay, inspired by the book This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson. LGBTQ+ writers have made invaluable contributions to American writing and culture, and we’re celebrating them all at Get Lit: Pride Night. Get your tickets today!
Get Lit events take place the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Each month will have a different theme, so check out upcoming Get Lit events here and be sure to check back regularly as we announce more Get Lit events throughout the year.
4. Juneteenth Celebration (June 19, 6:00 pm CDT)
Join us at the American Writers Museum for an evening in celebration of Juneteenth and the work of Black writers and artists. The evening includes a reading from Those Who Saw the Sun, Jaha Nailah Avery’s new collection of oral history narratives from the time of Jim Crow in the South. Then, a gallery talk by artists featured in the AWM’s special exhibit Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice. Chicago-based artists Dorothy Burge, Damon Reed, and Dorian Sylvain will talk about their process, what it meant to them to create representations of America’s legendary Black authors for the exhibit, and how the words and work of those writers affected the artists’ renderings. This special event is FREE to attend, and books and prints of the artwork will be available for purchase. Avery will sign books and the artists will sign prints of their work following the program!
5. Juno Dawson: You Need to Chill! (June 22, 6:00 pm CDT)
Juno Dawson, the bestselling author of This Book Is Gay, reads from and discusses her new book You Need To Chill! at the American Writers Museum, a delightful, endearing debut picture book in which a sister answers everyone’s questions about where’s her brother Bill. When Bill can’t be found at school one day, the imaginations of the other children run wild. Is he on vacation? Is he lost in the park? Has he been eaten by a shark?! It’s up to Bill’s sister to explain…”You need to chill! My brother Bill is now my sister Lily.” Tickets to this program include a copy of You Need To Chill!, a goodie bag of swag, and access to the AWM’s exhibits. Additional books will be available for purchase the night of the program. Plus, $5 of each ticket sale will be donated to Care2Prevent, which empowers individuals of all ages who are living with HIV or who want to stay HIV negative, to live bold, rich, meaningful lives.
6. Writing Queer Museum Tours (Daily, 3:00 pm CDT)
Beginning June 1, take a tour of the American Writers Museum with a focus on LGBTQ+ writers of the past and present! In this unique tour of the American Writers Museum, you’ll be introduced to each part of the AWM and discover how many great works of American writing were created by LGBTQIA+ writers, who used their sexuality and gender identity as inspiration for their work. You’ll explore, in turn, how those works, and the works of heterosexual and cisgender writers, became essential pieces of contemporary queer culture. The Writing Queer Tour is offered daily at 3:00 pm when the AWM is open. We are open Thursdays to Tuesdays, from 10 am to 5 pm during the summer. We are closed Wednesdays. The tour is included with museum admission and no advanced registration is required. Tours begin at the Museum front desk. Learn more and plan your visit today!
As June is also Immigrant Heritage Month, it is a great time to explore our exhibit My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today. Originally on display physically at the AWM, My America is now available in its entirety online, complete with interactive educational resources. This special exhibit explores the impact of immigrant and refugee writers on American life and culture, and features more than 30 leading writers of today. These accomplished poets, novelists, journalists, graphic artists, screenwriters, and more explore important themes such as community, language, distance, and what it means to create a home in writing.