Chicago Storytelling in Bughouse Square | Newberry

Chicago Storytelling in Bughouse Square

Saturday, July 30, 2022

1 pm - 4:30 pm

Washington Square Park

In-person event - no registration required
Open to the Public

Please note: This is an outdoor, in-person event taking place in Washington Square Park, across from the Newberry. Free and open to the public; tickets are not required, but you can register in advance here to receive event updates.

Coinciding with the 2022 Newberry Book Fair, this free event in Washington Square Park (“Bughouse Square”) celebrates the power of storytelling and its role in shaping our city.

People from across Chicago and beyond are invited to listen to a series of authors and storytellers, and even share their own stories in facilitated Story Circles.

The festivities will also include the presentation of the Newberry’s first annual Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award. The award will be presented to Dawn Turner, author of Three Girls from Bronzeville.

Throughout the afternoon in the park, food trucks will provide sustenance, and the Newberry Book Fair may provide inspiration. Visitors can make their way inside the Newberry to browse thousands of used books in dozens of categories. On the front steps to the east of the doors, visitors can also observe performance artist Tim Youd as he retypes Nelson Algren’s The Man with the Golden Arm as part of his 100 Novels Project.

Explore our other events taking place in Bughouse Square this summer, including Bughouse Square: A History in Song and Story.

Our summer programs in the park are cosponsored with the Free for All Fund of the Chicago Community Trust and the Washington Square Park Advisory Council.

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone. Make a donation today.


1 pm: Entertainment

We will kick things off on the main stage with a spoken word and storytelling performance by E’mon Lauren, Chicago’s first Youth Poet Laureate. Poet Mark Turcotte will emcee the event.

1:50 pm: Storytelling Activities and Documents Bureau

  • On the main stage, professional Chicago storytellers will share their stories focused on the joys and challenges of living in Chicago. Our lineup includes Lily Be, Fiona Maxwell, Vince Romero, Katie Prout, Bill Savage, and Emily Hooper Lansana.
  • Additionally, we invite you to participate in one of our Story Circles, where you’ll have a chance to share your own stories about life in Chicago. Sessions will begin at 2pm, 2:30pm, and 3pm.
  • At the same time, the Society of Smallness will take the boredom out of bureaucracy with their Documents Bureau project. Documents Bureau offers a unique way to solve your everyday problems (like potholes, dibs, taxes, and more!) as a citizen of Chicago. Step right up to one of the Society’s clerks, and they’ll listen to your concerns and type up a document under your close supervision. As a final step, the document will be garnished with very persuasive and official looking stamps.

3:30 pm: Performance by musician Sheryl Youngblood on the main stage

4 pm: Presentation of the 2022 Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award and a conversation with Dawn Turner, author of Three Girls from Bronzeville

The Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award at the Newberry Library is presented annually to a book that transforms public understanding of Chicago, its history, or its people. Dawn Turner, the inaugural winner, will converse with Newberry President Daniel Greene about her book.

After the program, visitors will be able to purchase Three Girls from Bronzeville and the Pattis shortlist books, and the authors will be available to sign them.

Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public; tickets are not required, but you can register in advance here to receive event updates.