Chicago Storytelling in Bughouse Square


Saturday, July 30, 2022

1:00 PM to 4:30 PM

Central Time (US & Canada)


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 to receive event updates.

The registration period has closed for this event.


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.


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.

4:45 pm: Book sales and author signing of Three Girls from Bronzeville and selected Pattis shortlist books.

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.



We look forward to seeing attendees at the Newberry, where you can now visit our reading rooms, exhibition galleries, and bookshop.

Please note: As we welcome visitors to the library, we're continuing to closely monitor health and safety conditions related to COVID-19 in Chicago. Click here for our visitor policy.


Washington Square Park
901 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60610

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