American Writers Museum Announces Inaugural American Writers Festival

The American Writers Museum (AWM) announced it will host its inaugural American Writers Festival on May 15, 2022 in Chicago, coinciding with its fifth anniversary.

The free public event will be held at Four Stages inside the Chicago Cultural Center and One Stage at the American Writers Museum, and feature more than 75 beloved contemporary authors, artists and playwrights.

Participating writers will address their perspectives on many of today’s most timely and controversial topics including immigration, book censorship, racism and equality through themes within their literature.

“We are thrilled to host the first American Writers Festival as a reflection of America through its writers to celebrate our past and inspire future writers,” said American Writers Museum President Carey Cranston. “We hope to expose more people to incredible works of literature and showcase how writing continues to shape our history and culture through the lens of contemporary authors who will touch on some of the most critical topics of today’s cultural landscape.”

Throughout the festival, notable themes from AWM’s “My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today” exhibit and its upcoming “Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice” exhibit (opening in June), will also be addressed through lively discussions.

As a bonus, the AWM will waive museum admission fees on Sunday, May 15 and Monday, May 16 – AWM’s fifth anniversary – to encourage more people to experience the literary works of the greatest American writers. Guests can also purchase literary works and authors’ books on-site through the Seminary Co-op Bookstore.

The American Writers Festival is one of many exciting new cultural events to be held in Chicago in the coming year.

“We are excited to support the American Writers Museum as they host the first ever American Writers Festival in Chicago,” said Erin Harkey, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).“Revitalizing our arts and culture scene is essential to our ability to recover from this pandemic on both an economic and a social level. Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE are proud to offer continued support to the artists and organizations who bring us beauty, culture and experiences that make us human.”

The American Writers Festival will feature renowned writers including Joy HarjoMarie AranaDavid W. BlightJabari AsimRebecca Makkai and John Scalzi. There will also be a comedy writing panel with Peter Sagal, host of the well-known NPR podcast Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me and a live taping of the American Writers Museum’s Dead Writer Dramapodcast with best-selling authors Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Zakiya Dalila Harris. More events and new guest appearances will be announced in the following weeks at

The American Writers Festival will also feature special programming from American Library Association, Chicago Public Library, Seminary Co-op Bookstores, The Newberry Library, Black Arts Consortium Poetry Foundation, Chicago History Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art and the DuSable Museum of African American History.