Now’s the time to shop your novel

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It’s a big week for books in the city, as the Hilton Chicago hosts the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ 2009 Conference, February 11-14. The event includes appearances from notable writers including Stuart Dybek, Nick Flynn, ZZ Packer, Joe Meno and keynote speaker keynote speaker, Art Spiegelman (of Maus fame). There will also be workshops, and a bookfair featuring every independent press you can think of (the full list is here).

If you can’t afford the hefty $205 registration fee, or just want to check out life outside the hotel conference rooms, there will be plenty of off-site events. Our favorites:

Reading Under the Influence

7-10 p.m. Wednesday at Sheffield’s, 3258 N. Sheffield; $3

Literary and poetry journal editors will gather to read and discuss at this month’s installment of the popular series. he event takes place in three rounds, with breaks in between each round so that audience members can engage in discussion with the featured readers to discuss their publications and events.

An Evening of Consumption

7:30 p.m. Thursday at New Wave Coffee, 3103 W. Logan; free

Join the folks who delivered food at last year’s Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference for an evening of quick, unfettered poems, essays, and stories on the theme of “consumption.”

Featherproof Books AWP Afterparty

8 p.m. Friday at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont; $8

Here you’ll get readings AND music (from ever-inventive rapper Serengeti and alt-rockers Bound Stems). The night will celebrate the releases of Kyle Beachy’s The Slide and Amelia Gray’s AM/PM, as well as the latest installment of The Dollar Store reading series.

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