Greater Chicago plays host to numerous events, workshops, services, and spaces for writers of all types. Below is an annotated list of some of our favorites.
If you are aware of other Chicago-area resources you’d like us to highlight, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Literary Organizations & Writers’ Workshops
Through workshops, residencies, and classes, Chicago Dramatists assist aspiring playwrights and producers to develop and hone their craft. And for those who just love going to the theatre, their Saturday Reading Series is open to the public.
The Chicago Writers Association is made up of both published and amateur writers of all types and is open to anyone who wishes to join. Members can participate in the CWA’s annual speakers bureau, enter the association’s Book of the Year contest, and may be published in the Write City e-zine or Windy City Writer’s blog. Members are also able to interact in the CWA’s e-group to share publishing and marketing materials or in one of its critique groups.
The Evanston Writers Workshop sponsors events and workshops for a diverse array of writers. Their workshops include prompt and critique workshops, as well as an annual “In the Trenches” conference, where attendees can learn quickly about the ins and outs of writing and publishing in various genres and arenas. Members in the Evanston Writers Workshop receive priority admission to conferences and events, as well as promotion and marketing of their writing and other literary events.
The Guild Literary Complex sponsors writing programs featuring diverse writers and subjects. Past events have included bilingual poetry nights and marathon readings of Illinois-native Gwendolyn Brooks’ work. They solicit open submissions for their Annual Prose Award in both fiction and non-fiction categories, and sponsor several other contests throughout the year.
This world-renowned research library is open to the public. And, in addition to its extensive historic and literary resources, the Library also sponsors writing workshops and series on topics as diverse as memoir writing or writing childrens’ books.
The Poetry Centerof Chicago is one of the nation’s largest promoters of poetry through readings, workshops, residencies, and arts education. Their workshop series are competitively priced, and aspiring poets can also work with the organization as volunteers or interns.
With locations in both Chicago and Winnetka, Story Studio offers classes in both creative and business writing. Additionally, they offer one-day workshops and write-ins to accommodate the schedules and needs of writers of all types. Check their current list of classes and events (some free) to sign up.
Writing Meetups and Work Spaces
Located on Chicago avenue near the Main El, CoLab Evanston provides shared workspace for individuals and groups. Full-time, part-time, and “floater” memberships are available, all of which come with discounts to on-site networking events.
Just Write Chicago is a meetup group of writers who meet in several locales around the city several days a week to write together. With a focus on the writing process, not its product, they work together to inspire and motivate regular writing. There are currently over 1000 writers in the group, it costs nothing to join, and you can RSVP to attend a meetup whenever the time and place is convenient for your schedule.
Located between Edgewater and Rogers Park, The Writers WorkSpace provides writers with a comfortable environment where they can write away from the distractions of their home or office. Both part- and full-time memberships are available.
Courses & Certificate Programs
The University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies offers certificate programs in creative writing, as well as professional development courses in writing and speaking for business professionals. They also offer several open-enrollment creative writing courses that don’t require advance application or registration to participate.
For international students hoping to improve their English writing and speaking, Oakton Community College offers both credit and non-credit ESL courses on their Skokie campuses. Many courses meet in the evening to accommodate students who have other responsibilities during the day.
Editing and Proofreading Services
e.g. provides professional editing, writing, and design services for students and professionals nationwide. All services come with a free (initial) consultation, and the company offers discounts for students. Since they are based in Chicago, you might also take advantage of attending one of their resume writing workshops. And their Writer’s Block blog also has some great tips you can use on your own.