Susan Baller-Shepard

Whitney Scott

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1 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. 

Saturday, May 30, 1 P.M.  — TallGrass Writers Guild Online Open Mic

The TallGrass Writers Guild open mic is going online! Sulzer Regional Library is facilitating a Zoom meeting so we can all see each other and share our poems. We'll start at 1 pm CDT with a Featured Reading from local author Kathleen McElligott, who wrote Mommy Machine and 1638 East Palace. Following her program are the open mic readers who will present their work. TallGrass president Whitney Scott will emcee the program, and Librarian Jeff Nowak will be running all the Zoom tech, so if you want to hear poetry, or if you have poems of your own to share, just send an email to, and he'll let you know how to join in.

For details on TallGrass Writers Guild's performance and publication opportunities for writers, visit the web site at and click on the 'TallGrass Writers Guild' tab.

Saturday, June 27, 1 P.M. — Well traveled Marcy Darin is Featured Author, presenting her writings inspired by her recent trip to Alaska, not only including her observations and anecdotes about her journey, but about the many things Alaska taught her.  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; free parking is also available. For details email: tallgrassguildATsbcglobalDOTnet or call 219-322-7270.​ 

Emily Dagostino

Tina Jens

Allan Johnston

Martin Altman

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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. ​​


​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. 
  • 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.

Willa Moore

​Upcoming Events​

TallGrass Writers Guild

Special Events

Friday, April 3, 2020, 7 P.M.  — A MULTI-READER EVENT — Canceled due to the Coronavirus

TallGrass' Springtime Themed Reading at Book Cellar, "Springtime Blossoms," at Book Cellar  

Friday, April 11, 20207 P.M.  — A MULTI-READER EVENT— Canceled due to the Coronavirus.

"Journeys," a TallGrass Writers Guild presentation honoring National Poetry Month — Featuring seven award-winning



Recent Past Events

Saturday, February 22, 2020, 1 P.M. — "Sister Act," the exciting literary duo of sisters Carol Gloor and Marjorie Skelly, both accomplished, award-winning authors.

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. 

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.

Bob Weinberg 

Lylanne Musselman

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.

RJ Nelson

Tracie Padal

Tricia Crisafulli

Diane Williams 

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

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


Tricia Crisafulli

Maureen Connolly

Gay Guard-Chamberlin

Bob Lawrence

Recent Open Mic Featured Authors

Kathleen McElligott

Michele Williams

Catherine Underhill


Timothy David Rey

​​​​​​Joe Weintraub

Brittany Roque

Jerry Pendergast