The American Writers Museum will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a festival featuring more than 70 contemporary authors. Credit: American Writers Museum / Facebook

DOWNTOWN — The American Writers Museum will welcome more than 70 contemporary scribes for a free, one-day festival in May.

A full slate of discussion panels and author signings will take place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 15 at two locations: Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., and the American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan Ave.

Writers range from young adult fiction, science fiction, history, biographies, poetry and satire, according to a press release. Guests will be able to buy the featured authors’ books onsite through the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, organizers said.

Stages at the Chicago Cultural Center will feature conversations with Peter Sagal of NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, Temple University Professor Marc Lamont Hill, Elie Mystal of The Nation, Chicago journalist Natalie Moore and children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson.

Another featured conversation at the Chicago Cultural Center will spotlight the work of the 2021 National Student Poets, a program honoring five of the country’s best young poets.

Programs at the American Writers Museum include conversations with Schele Williams, author of “Your Legacy: A Bold Reclaiming of Our Enslaved History”; and Archie Bongiovanni, author of “History Comics: The Stonewall Riots.” There also will be a live taping of American Writers Museum’s podcast “Dead Writer Drama” with Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Zakiya Dalila Harris.

There will be additional virtual events, including a conversation between Maxine Hong Kingston and Viet Thanh Nguyen.

“The first American Writers Festival is a reflection of American writing the nation can be proud of,” American Writers Museum President Carey Cranston said in a statement. “Our diverse program schedule showcases the wide range of written works that has shaped our history and culture and allows for a variety of in-depth discussions and topics for visitors of all ages to enjoy.”

The full event schedule can be found here. Proof of vaccination and masks are required for all indoor events.

The event is partly is a celebration of the museum’s fifth anniversary, organizers said in a press release. Admission to the museum will be free May 15-16.

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