AWP Literature Party at Lincoln Hall

1. Lincoln Hall off Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park. 2. William Spadaro is a playwright from Austin and facial hair role-model. 3. Dorothy Lasky connecting to the audience, specifically the weird-ass hippies and horses.

Sponsored by School of the Art Institute of Chicago Writing Program, Bookforum, featherproof, Hobart, HTMLGiant, The Lit Pub, Publishing Genius, and Wave Books, The Literature Party started two hours later than 8pm, which gave my sister and I plenty of time to relax with a beer and order food while the DJ played several tracks we couldn’t help singing to each other with too big smiles.

“What is this thing, again?” she asked.

“A bunch of writers and a reason to drink. Probably dancing,” I said.

1. Justin Sirois, Karl Taro Greenfeld, Gabe Durham, Brian Mihok were the first people for AWP I spotted. 2. Lauren Lowe and Tyler Gobble. Gobble worked the Vouched Books booth.

1. Michael Miller, Morten Hoi Jensen, R. Matthew Humphreys, Valerie Cortes from Bookforum with Matthew Schommer, a Chicago artist. 2. Thea Engst is a poet with a great purse.

The line-up: Dorothea Lasky, Mary Miller, and Tim Kinsella, with a special performance by Jesse Ball, accompanied by puppeteers Jill Summers and Susie Kirkwood.

Lasky and Miller demonstrated different takes on stage presence to a bar crowded with writers split between a dance floor, with steady waves of new arrivals and a balcony with people like myself who were too lazy to move downstairs.

1. A sudden call-out from the dance floor in which we were all put on notice that it was time to dance. 2. Event hosts, Zach Dodson and Lindsay Hunter, give a 5 minute warning to tell the balcony to stop fucking around.

1. Deep in the balcony, people ate and drank while the DJ played. 2. Mary Miller talking about some guys she slept with.

Kinsella’s beatnik read of Perfect People, and Ball’s puppeteered clip from his novel provided a unique take on literature performance. Kinsella would’ve went on for a bit more if the hosts hadn’t called time. The bongo player may have removed his inconspicuously conspicuous sunglasses during the Ball reading. Or maybe not. I will admit to poor reporting on this fact. I became obsessed with him because he made me think of that Joaquin Phoenix rap movie.

We left as the dancing began. My sister had an early flight, and I intended to get to AWP for the 9am slots on Saturday.

1. Tim Kinsella with bongo player. 2. Jesse Ball and puppeteers.


— Judith Ossello currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon. Find her at

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