Printers Row Lit Fest postponed to September; Ta-Nehisi Coates to headline event

The annual literary extravaganza usually slated for June has been moved to the fall due to social distancing mandates amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Chicagos’ annual Printers Row Lit Fest has been moved to September.

Ken Carl

Chicago’s annual Printers Row Lit Fest has been postponed until September, it was announced Friday.

The literary extravaganza, which usual takes place in June each year and attacts more than 100,000 visitors, will now take place on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 5-6. The move was necessitated by the statewide mandate on social distancing and ban on gatherings of more than 10 persons.

On Wednesday, Gov. Pritzker hinted that summer in Chicago may not be business as usual when it comes to large-scale festivals and gatherings.

“I think everybody needs to think seriously about canceling any large summer events,” Pritzker said. “I just don’t, from my perspective today, I do not see how we are going to have large gatherings of people again until we have a vaccine, which is months and months away.”

Headlining this year’s fest will be best-selling author Ta-Nehisi Coates (“The Beautiful Struggle,” “We Were Eight Years in Power”), this year’s recipient of the Harold Washington Literary Award. Coates will be featured at a ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept 5 at the Harold Washington Library to officially kick off the festival. In addition, the gala award ceremony for Coates has been moved to 6 p.m. Sept. 3. Information/tickets available at

Printers Row organizers noted the postponement was made out of an “an abundance of caution, and prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of its guests, authors and vendors.”

The free festival, the largest outdoor literary showcase in the region — boasting 100 events with local and national bestselling authors, booksellers, chef demos, writing workshops, children’s events and spoken-word performances — will take place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, along Dearborn Street from Polk Street north to Ida B. Wells Drive.

Visit for more information/updates in the months ahead.

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