​Upcoming Events​

TallGrass Writers Guild

Special Events

​​Thursday, February 8, 2020, 1 P.M. in the Sulzer Library Auditorium  — TallGrass Writers Guild Honors Black History Month by showcasing two outstanding Chicago talents  — "Black Voices," featuring Shontay Luna and Timothy David Rey. 

      Shontay Luna was born in Bronzeville, grew up there and in Chatham, and most recent in resides in Pilsen for the past 27 years. She has two chapbooks, Reflections of a Project Girl (2015) and Recollections & Dreams (2018). Both are available via Amazon.
Luna’s prior publishing credits include Oddball Press, Black Book Press, The Stray Branch and AnthologyofChicago.com  among others. She was a semi-finalist in the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards in 2010 and 2017, respectively, and is currently a member of Chicago Writers Association and F.L.O.W. (For The Love of Writing).

      Timothy David Rey, a Chicago-based poet, playwright, performer and educator has studied poetry under Pulitzer Prize

winner, Yusef Komunyakaa. Rey is a 2015 Semi-Finalist for the Guild Literary Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry

Award, and one of the winners of Project Exploration (The Poetry Center of Chicago 2004). He is the co-founder of the LBGT

Solo Performance Showcase, Solo Homo (2002-2011), with his plays and performances pieces seen regionally as well as

internationally at venues including New York City’s Fringe Festival and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His plays

and performances pieces have been seen and heard at venues throughout Chicago as well as out of state and in Panama. He

has been interviewed on WBEZ regarding his work and his involvement in cultural and community-based arts programming. 

Rey has taught poetry and performance for Columbia College School of Fine & Performing Arts Community Engagement Program, the Poetry Foundation Summer Teacher’s Institute and is currently a Poet In-Residence for The Chicago Poetry

Center. He is the Chicagoland Regional Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud!  (Poetry Foundation/ National Endowment For The Arts).

"Black Voices" is the second annual TallGrass Writers Guild Special Event honoring Black History Month. TallGrass has also produced Special Event programming for Sulzer Regional Library in observance of National Poetry Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ​


Saturday, April 11 in the Sulzer Library Auditorium — "Journeys," a TallGrass Writers Guild presentation honoring National Poetry Month. Featured award winning authors include Caroline Johnson, Wiila Moore, Timothy David Rey, Whitney Scott, Marjorie Skelly, andd Joe Weintraub. Details are forthcoming.


Recent Past Events​​ 

Thursday, December 5, 2019, 7 P.M.  — TallGrass' Winter Themed Reading at Book Cellar, "Winter Fashions," with TWG members performing original writings on wintery blasts, icy roads, and freezing rain —  from designer couture to drenched  galoshes.

Saturday, November 9, 2019, 1:30 P.M. — "Combined Voices," at the Beverly Library at 1962 W. 95th Street, Chicago.  TallGrass Writers Guild and the Longwood Writers Guild will co-host this program with participating TallGrass authors presenting original writings published in recent "Black-and-White" annual anthologies, and Longwood Guild members whose work has been published in BAC Street Journal and other publications.


Saturday, October 26  — "Writers on Breast Cancer," TallGrass' 2019 National Breast Cancer Awareness 
Performance. After 2018's record-breaking success with TallGrass' Breast Cancer reading of original poetry and

creative nonfiction, the first-ever program of its kind in the Chicago Public Library System, we were invited back to

present another life-changing presentation of original writings exploring and expressing various aspects of this

epidemic impacting untold numbers of families. Those reading were Patricia Chrisafulli, Kathleen M. McElligott, Willa

Moore and Whitney Scott.

Saturday, October 5, 2019 — The Publishing Party for LOON MAGIC and Other Night Sounds 
​at Sulzer Regional Library, when authors across the nation read their cuttings from this 2019 "Black-and-White"

collection of poetry, fiction, and essays  — 24th in the series' annual anthologies. Readers Patricia Chrisafulli,

winner of the anthology's Grand Prize, read, as well as other authors including  Gay Guard-Chamberlin, Vermont's 

Cynthia Close, Nancy Heggem, Kathleen McElligott, California's Elsa Valmidiano, and more. 

Friday, September 6, 2019  —  All Things Autumn, a themed reading from members of the TallGrass Writers Guild including

Patricia Crisafulli, Juley Harvey, Bob Lawrence, Susan Namest and more using the change of seasons as inspiration for original poetry, fiction, memoir and creative nonfiction. Baseball, fallen leaves, and birds were just a few of the topics addressed in the reading. Free

and open to the public at Chicago's Book Cellar, 4736 N Lincoln Avenue.

Sunday, June 8, 2019 — The Kickoff Reading  for LOON MAGIC and Other Night Sounds, the most recent in the Black-and-White series of annual anthologies was once again a high-profile Featured Event at Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest.  Our Kickoff Reading welcomed the prizewinners and other contributing authors from across the nation who read cuttings from their work appearing in the 24th collection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, LOON MAGIC, published by Outrider Press with TallGrass Writers Guild. Anthologies are available for purchase on page 4 of this site. 

Friday, May 17, 2019 — "Spring Has Sprung— REALLY?" with poetry, fiction and essays, a group reading from TallGrass members Harker Brautigan. Tricia Crisafulli, juley harvey, Robert Lawrence, Lynn Veach Sadler, Whitney Scott, Marian Shapiro, and more, from several pieces on birdsong and other signs of springtime to putting a spring in your step when the heart wants what the heart wants in

Brautighan's "How to Marry a Geezer," our audience was enthusiastic and appreciative — superb.

day,April 20, 2019, 1 P.M  — TallGrass Talent Honored National Poetry Month with a group of readers who are members of TWG including Martin Altman, Gay Guard-Chamberlin, Bob Lawrence, Susan Namest, and Diane Williams. This performance was free to all and offered free parking.

Friday, March 1, 2019— "That Rainy Day"  with members of the TallGrass Writers Guild including Martin Altman,

Gay Guard-Chamberlin, Bob Lawrence, Willa Moore, Jo Piazza, Joe Weintraub, who presented their poetry, fiction, and

creative nonfiction, plus work from TallGrass'  far-flung members, presented by Whitney Scott. This themed reading

played to a full house of attentive audience members and was especially memorable — one of the most powerful and

engrossing of TallGrass' themed readings, held quarterly at Chicago's indie bookseller, The Book Cellar.

December 8, 2018 — TallGrass Writers Guild's Tri-State Reading at the historic Milwaukee Central Library with regional

Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin contributors to THE STARS, our 2018 anthology

December 7, 2018 — "Holiday Landscapes," a program  by TallGrass members packed the house at Chicago's Book

Cellar as authors Martin Altman, Emily Dagostino, Bob Lawrence, Willa Moore, Susan Namest, and Jo Piazza presented

original poetry, fiction, and essays as the lights of the Lincoln Square Park Christmas tree shone through the

store's bay window and onto the audience.


Martin Altman

Tricia Crisafulli

Susan Baller-Shepard

Michele Williams

Lylanne Musselman

​Gay Guard Chamberlin

Timothy David Rey

Tina Jens

Allan Johnston

Timothy David Rey

Diane Williams 

Susan Dewar

Willa Moore

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NEW TIME — 1 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. 

​Saturday, January 25, 1 P.M. at Sulzer Library Auditorium — Gay Guard Chamberlin. She is an award-winning writer, performance artist and multi-media visual artist with a Masters in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College, Chicago. She'll debut Red Thread Through a Rusty Needle, her first book of 36 poems, was published November 2019. Gay is an active member of TallGrass Writers Guild, Poets & Patrons, Illinois State Poets Society, Budlong Writers Group, North Center Seniors Poetry Group sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, and Women on the Verge in Kalamazoo, MI. Gay often performs poetry with her sister, Anara Guard, as “Sibling Revelry,” to be featured in Chicago venues, with updates at  wwwDOTnewwindpublishingDOTcom .

Following her program are the Open Mic readers, who will have 6 to 8 minutes to present poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, music, comedy, and more. This afternoon literary event is free and open to the public, and free parking is also available. For details email: tallgrassguildATsbcglobalDOTnet or call 219-322-7270. 

Coming Soon: on Saturday, February 22, 1 P.M. at Sulzer Library Auditorium — A "Sister Act" of Award 

Winning Authors Carol Gloor and Marjorie Skelly. Details to come.


Emily Dagostino

Brittany Roque

Maureen Connolly

Kathleen McElligott

RJ Nelson

Tracie Padal

Bob Lawrence

with Sam

​​​​​​Joe Weintraub

Bob Weinberg 

​​​​​​​Outrider Press Small Press Publishing & Writing Contests

Outrider Press small press publishing w/editorial, design & typeset support writing contests & anthologies  


Catherine Underhill


Recent Open Mic Featured Authors

Gay Guard-Chamberlin

Whitney Scott

Events ​

Unless otherwise noted, Open Mics and Special Events are held at Chicago's Sulzer Library, 4455 N Lincoln Ave., where FREE parking is available. TallGrass events are FREE and open to the public. Open Mic readers follow the featured author. Details at 219-322-7270.

​TallGrass Writers Guild - Chicago Open Mics, Readings, & Annual Anthologies 

TallGrass Writers Guild is a Chicago-based, independent arts organization serving writers at all levels of development for 30 years. TWG provides local, regional, national, and international performance and publication opportunities. ​

Performance Opportunities — ​Chicago's Most Supportive Open Mic for over 25 Years

  • Open Mics — ​Chicago's Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N Lincoln Ave, usually the 4th Saturday of each month (varies with holidays) at 1 p.m. Open Mic readers follow the Featured Author's program, and can present 6 to 7 minutes of work. FREE to all;
  • Themed Readings —  Four FREE programs a year by TallGrass members at Book Cellar, 4736 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago;
  • Special Programs —  Include February's Black History Month, April's National Poetry Month, and October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, FREE to all. Don't miss our 2019 "Writers on Breast Cancer" Program: 10-26-19
  • Yearly Tri-State readings  — At venues throughout Illinois, Indiana, and recently at Milwaukee's Historic Central Library; and 
  • Seasonal/Holiday Programs by the TallGrass Performance Ensemble at libraries, nature centers, and universities throughout the Tri-state region. These Performance Ensemble shows of poetry and flash fiction are free to the public, and have earned a listing in The Best of the Best, the programming guide librarians use to present quality special events to library patrons throughout Illinois.

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​​​Publishing Opportunities

  • TallGrass Writers Guild quarterly Newsletter,which contains columns; reviews; and member news of recent publications, play readings, and other achievements; and Manuscripts Wanted, pages listing and online publications​ seeking poetry, essays, fiction, illustrations and photos.

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  • Annual anthologies published in affiliation with Outrider Press, who donates all pre-press services including editorial, design and typeset support. Publishing parties for each year's anthology are at the historic Sulzer Regional Library, 4455 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago. ​​