Timothy David Rey

Susan Baller-Shepard

Whitney Scott

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Open Mics

NEW TIME — 1 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 1 P.M. — Publishing Party and Open Mic — ​Featured Author Susan Baller-Shepard of Bloomington, Illinois, debuts her recent book, DOE, a poetry collection from Finishing Line Press scheduled for March, 2019, publication. Her essays, poetry, photography, and sermons have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post's "On

Faith section," Spirituality & Health, Writer’s Digest, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Typishly, Patheos, Day One, the Tattooed Buddha, and other publications.  Her poetry has been featured on WGLT-FM Poetry Radio. For 16 years her writing has appeared in TallGrass Writers Guild anthologies published in affiliation with Outrider Press.

She has graduate degrees in Social Work and Divinity, and has been an ordained Presbyterian minister for 28 years. Along with local involvement, Susan has worked on international development projects in Haiti, China, and Brazil. Baller-Shepard teaches at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois; she is completing a memoir, Divine Lunacy, and a poetry collection of villanelles, Sung. The Open Mic readers follow her program, and have 6 to 7 minutes of performance time. Sign-up to read:12:45 P.M.​

​Saturday, May 18, 2019, 1 P.M. — Open Mic — Timothy David Rey is a Chicago-based writer, performer and educator who attended Indiana University-Bloomington on The Most Outstanding Author scholarship from IU’s Department of English where he studied poetry under Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa. He is a 2015 Semi-Finalist for the Guild Literary Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Poetry Award. Timothy co-founded the LBGT Solo Performance Showcase, Solo Homo, and his plays and performances pieces are seen regionally as well as internationally at venues including New York City’s Fringe Festival and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Timothy currently teaches poetry and performance for Columbia College-Chicago, and is a Poet In-Residence for The Poetry Center of Chicago. 

Saturday, June, 22, 2019, 1 P.M.  — Open Mic — Bob Lawrence (tentatively scheduled)



Emily Dagostino

Catherine Underhill


Diane Williams 

Brittany Roque

Michele Williams

Timothy David Rey

Maureen Connolly

Bob Weinberg 

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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. 2017's Publishing Party for THE MOON  was  at Sulzer, 4455 North Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, where we packed the house.

  • SUBMISSION DEADLINE for the 2019 Anthology, LOON MAGIC, is  April 30, 2019

  • SUBMIT YEAR-ROUND OR VIA SUBMITTABLE TO April 30, 2019. Send your writing for consideration: details on submitting for possible anthology publication and cash awards totaling $1,000are found on this site's Anthology Guidelines section that follows. The 2019 anthologytheme: LOON MAGIC and Other Night Sounds. Itsdeadline: April 30, 2019. Please click on the 'Anthology Guidelines' tab for complete, updated guidelines. We are accepting submissions year-round via postal mail; Submittable submissions preferred, however, and are available November 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018, in addition to postal submissions.

  • Submittable entries preferred and accepted November 1, 2018, through April 30, 2019 at: http://tallgrasswritersguildDOTsubmittableDOTcom/submit​​​​​​​​

  • Postal entries also accepted. See this site's Anthology Guidelines section that follows; refer to year-round postal mail.
  • You may include your entry fees with other items ordered from this web site. See pages 4 and 6. We always urge contributors to purchase a past copy to familiarize themselves with Outrider's formats and content.


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Martin Altman

Willa Moore

Willa Moore

Tom Roby IV

Gay Guard-Chamberlin

Diane Williams 

​​​​​​Joe Weintraub

Events ​​

Unless otherwise noted, Open Mics and Special Events are held at Chicago's Sulzer Library Auditorium , 4455 N Lincoln Ave., where FREE parking is available. TallGrass Writers Guild events are FREE and open to the public. For details, email tallgrassguildATsbcglobalDOTnet

RJ Nelson

Tina Jens

Recent Open Mic Featured Authors

Tracie Padal

Janene Ravesloot 

Susan Dewar

Allan Johnston

​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 April's National Poetry Month, February's Black History 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.


Other Upcoming Events

TallGrass Writers Guild Special Events


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

Friday, May 17, 2019, 7 P.M. — Spring Has Sprung! A Themed Reading presented by TallGrass talent performing their original poetry, fiction and nonfiction about sweet, sweet, springtime including riding bikes along the Lakeshore, song birds calling, trees greening, and more. At Chicago's lovely indie book store, The Book Cellar, 4736 N Lincoln Avenue.


Saturday and Sunday, June 8 and 9, 2019 (date/time TBA) — The Kickoff Reading  for LOON MAGIC and Other Night Sounds, the most recent in the Black-and-White series of annual anthologies which will once again be a high-profile Featured Event at Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest.  Our Kickoff Reading will welcome the prizewinners and other contributing authors from across the nation who will 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. Past years' anthology titles are on sale on page 4 of this site 

Printers Row Lit Fest has been a celebration of the literary world for decades, and is the nation's third-largest outdoor festival of its kind. It is free to the public and features 180 vendors of new, used, rare and collectible books plus author readings and signings, author and editor panels, and the Young Readers Programming Series. Printers Row Lit Fest is held at Polk and Dearborn, north on Dearborn to the Congress Expressway. While some Lit Fest events require reservations and/or admission, neither is true the LOON MAGIC Kickoff Reading.

Interested in submitting work forLOON MAGIC?There's still time.

We'd love to see your writings on this theme, so go to the 'Anthology Guidelines' tab on page 5 for complete Guidelines.


​​Recent Special Events

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.

February, 2019 — TallGrass Writers Guild honored Black History Month with two major programs. Shontay Luna was

Featured author at the monthly Open Mic on the 23rd, preceded by TallGrass' first solo performance program: the

unforgettable Diane Williams in a one-woman show of resonating social and personal significance. 

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.

November 3, 2018 — Once again TallGrass Writers Guild partnered with members of the Longwood Writers Guild for their Annual "Combined Voices Reading" in Chicago's historic Beverly neighborhood. Longwood Guild writers including Grace Kuikman  presented recent work, and area contributors read their poetry, fiction, and essays in Tallgrass' 2018 anthology,


October 13, 2019  — "Women Speak of Breast Cancer" honored National Breast Cancer Awareness month with readings from Emily Dagostino, Marcy Darin, Gay Guard-Chamberlin, Willa Moore, Whitney Scott, and Grazina Smith as we filled the seats with enthusiastic audience members.

Bill Grady

Lylanne Musselman

DOE and Baller-Shepard

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

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