Arts Monthly Essay Fiesta provides forum for storytellers

Published on October 14th, 2012 | by Key Reads


Essay Fiesta Brings Together Chicago’s Literary Clan

Monthly Essay Fiesta provides forum for storytellers

By Pavithra Mohan

The Essay Fiesta draws essayists and performers from all over Chicago on the third Monday of every month to bask in the glow of unadulterated storytelling at its finest. Billed as the only charitable non-fiction reading series in the city, Essay Fiesta’s self-proclaimed mission is to “bring together a cross-section of Chicago’s art and writing communities for a night of first-person, non-fiction essays and charity”.

Essay Fiesta looks to diversify the existing literary community in a way that’s more understated than pretentious—the resulting experience is one frequented by writers and journalists, but also by comedians and actors and improvisers. In today’s “hyperteched” culture, it might also remind attendees of the value of bringing the human touch to the art of storytelling.

The monthly Monday night outing came to fruition on November 16, 2009, after co-producers Keith Ecker and Alyson Lyon put their heads together and concluded that “Chicago needed a storytelling series that provided a platform for a cross-discipline of artists to share funny, poignant and thought-provoking stories from their lives”. Both Ecker and Lyon are featured in each Essay Fiesta line-up to showcase their talents as writers with comedy and acting backgrounds, respectively.

This month’s fiesta kicks off at 7 pm on Monday, Oct 15 at The Book Cellar independent bookstore, featuring the following artists: slam poet Roger Bonair-Agard, Moth GrandSlam winner Shannon Cason, playwright Barrie Cole, writer Malic White, and comedian Mary Pat Bohan. Essay Fiesta, being a charitable event, also hosts a raffle whose proceeds go to literacy group 826CHI, an organization that offers free writing and tutoring services for students aged 6-18.

Essay Fiesta is free for those interested in getting in on the droll action—but the popular event fills up quickly, so grab your seats early! Storytellers looking to share their not-so-tall tales can submit their work for consideration through the Essay Fiesta website.


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