A People's History of Chicago Event - Summer Writers' Conference

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A People's History of Chicago Event with Kevin Coval and guest artists Antwon Funches, Patricia Frazier, and E'mon Lauren

"A People’s History of Chicago flips to the b-side of history in the tradition of Howard Zinn, Ida B. Wells and the counter-narrators to american terror and mainstream whitewashing. The country employs erasure to the histories of People of Color and seeks to revise the progressive and radical history of the working class in america. I'm out to set the record straight and remix it and dig in the crates to rescue and retell some of the best and most radical and real and celebratory and difficult parts of our Chicago story we often times forget or didn't know in the first place. In this time especially, we need look back at the progressive legacies we inherit, the radical stream we swim in and be emboldened to create and fight for a city/country that is more just, equitable and fresher for all."
--Kevin Coval

Admission to the reading is free and open to the public. There will be a mixer preceding the reading at 4:30 p.m.

Advance registration is required to particpiate in the workshops, panels, and keynotes at the Summer Writers' Conference. More information is online at

Kevin Coval is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago--where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics--he's mentored thousands of young writers, artists, and musicians.He is the author and editor of 10 books, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Schtick, and co-author of the play, This is Modern Art. His work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Drunken Boat, Chicago Tribune, CNN, Fake Shore Drive, Huffington Post, and four seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Coval's collection, A People's History of Chicago, dropped in April 2017 on Haymarket Books.

Antwon “Lord” Funches is a Chicago-born Nichiren-Buddhist, playwright, poet, actor, and BA Theater major attending the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Antwon’s work focuses heavily on a queer Black male perspective, documenting aspects of gender, race, class, and sexuality that inhabit his everyday interactions. Notable accomplishments include: winning Louder Than a Bomb Chicago 2015; winning the National Poetry Book Festival 2015 Slam in Washington, D.C., and winning the Spoken Word category of YoungArts 2015 in Miami, Florida. Antwon is a disciplined craftsman who offers “grey,” human perspectives on polarized social issues.

African American Poet, Filmmaker and activist Patricia Frazier was raised in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. Influenced by the mentors she has growing up such as Fatimah Asghar, Jamila Woods, Regina Berg, and Mama Brenda, her writing aims to highlight the intersections of the multifaceted identities Black women have. Much of her work focuses on exploring environmentalism, sexual fluidity, and black womanism. She was a two-time finalist in Louder Than a Bomb Team finals in 2014 and 2017, and the 2016 Louder Than a Bomb Jordan Slam winner along with Arielle Appleberry. Her work appears in the National Creative Commons 2014 Poetry Anthology, and Women's ENews. She has performed on stages such as the Allstate Arena and Playhouse theatre and appeared on the same stages as Chance the Rapper, Macklemore, and Ciara. Her poem "I am Windy City" is to be featured in Northwestern University Press's forthcoming Book "The End of Chiraq." Frazier is an activist, primarily focused on Black Lives Matter and reproductive freedoms. Her activist lineage includes Assata Shakur, Page May, Bella Bahhs, and Angela Davis. She is a member of the organization Assata's daughters where she volunteers in lower income neighborhoods in Chicago, and works as a youth mentor. This spring she will be completing her senior year at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep where she is captain of her poetry team and a member of the Student Ambassadors. She will attend Columbia College Chicago in the fall of 2017 to study film and creative writing. You can find out more about her work as an aspiring activist and watch some of her films and more funny videos on her YouTube "The Art Of".

E'mon Lauren explores the philosophies and intersectionalities of womanism and the hood. She holds the most recent title of Chicago’s first and very own Youth Poet Laureate by Young Chicago Authors and New York City Urban Word Press, as well as many other slam awards. Between food breaks, E’mon studies the elemental practice of words and the economy they hold. She currently works as a freelance, paid performer and teaching artist in Chicago, and makes efforts to challenge the silencing of youth’s stories through their diasporas.

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