WICKER PARK — A popular Wicker Park bookstore is hosting an outdoor literary festival this weekend with author talks, live music, craft vendors and food trucks.
Semicolon Bookstore, 1714 W. Division St., will hold its first Lit Fest noon-8 p.m. Saturday on Division Street, which will be closed to traffic from Paulina Street to Wood Street for the day.
The bookstore moved to Wicker Park from River West in September 2021 after it outgrew its original location on Halsted Street. Since opening in 2019, Semicolon has focused on showcasing authors of color and work by local artists.
“We are still only a year into the neighborhood. And we do want people to continue getting to know us in that neighborhood. And so we wanted to have a public event to remind people that we are focused on books and community above all,” owner Danielle Mullen said.
Authors attending the festival include José Olivarez, Jessamine Chan and Sidik Fofana. Local craft vendors and food trucks, such as Soul & Smoke barbecue, will also be at the event.
The festival is free, but Semicolon is selling $235 VIP tickets which give attendees access to special onsite book signings, signature author cocktails and a goodie bag with every festival author’s book. There are also $35 tickets that give attendees one book, access to one author’s signing line and a cocktail.
All proceeds will go to Parenthesis, the store’s nonprofit, which benefits literacy efforts in Chicago Public Schools. Mullen said the group is partnering with Meta to coordinate book giveaways at two Chicago public schools next week, with more details to be announced Saturday.
“The purpose of [the festival] is so that we can celebrate the authors that we love. A lot of our authors on the stage, this is their debut novel, and it’s killing it. But it’s also to raise money for Parenthesis,” Mullen said. “We wanted to do it in a really fun way.”
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