Why the “Story Week” Literary Festival is Winning So Many Grants

Story Week is an annual festival of writers and a literary event that highlights new work from prominent authors in Chicago. The free festival, which takes place March 16 to 21, just received another $25,850 in grants from local foundations. This year's festival is expected to be a success, thanks to the following contributions:

  • $15,000 from the Chicago Community Trust
  • $5,850 from the Illinois Arts Council
  • $5,000 from the Illinois Humanities Council
  • A three-year $27,000 grant from the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture

For a relatively small festival, Story Week is getting a lot of love from the local philanthropy scene. (Read Chicago Community Trust: Chicago Grants). Story Week board member and festival artistic consultant, Sheryl Johnson, said these grants would help with the authors' compensation and hotel and travel expenses. The authors are invited to attend based on suggestions from Columbia College (also a festival sponsor) and other universities in the area.

One thing that seems to be driving support for the literary event is the the festival's theme, "DiverCity: Urban Stories." Johnson says, "This year it’s all about diversity, urban stories and the idea that cities aren’t made just of buildings, they are also made of words and stories."

Diversity is a topic that never gets old in a city like Chicago, and this year's festival promises to dig even deeper into cultures and traditions. Caribbean and Latin cultures are the focal point of this year's festival about diversity. Therefore, lots of literary events will be held in the city's Latino neighborhoods of Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and Pilsen.

Latino causes have been gaining a lot of steam with Chicago funders these days, especially those that bridge gaps in English literacy and student performance. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that a Latino-targeted literary festival would be collecting grant money from a variety of sources.

"It’s the greatest literary festival in the city of Chicago," said Story Week board member, Barry Benson. "Every year it’s just got so much charm, magic and energy to it."