SAVE THE DATE for our 7th Annual StoryStudio Writers Festival!
November 2nd & 3rd, 2024 in-person at Center on Halsted. 

Curated by Artistic Director Rebecca Makkai, the two day Festival will offer classes, panels, & social events to help writers develop their craft and create a supportive community. 

For those ready for feedback, the Festival offers one-on-one Manuscript Reviews from award-winning authors and StoryStudio instructors.

2023 KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Rumaan Alam

Rumaan Alam is the author of the novels Rich and Pretty, That Kind of Mother, and Leave the World Behind, a National Book Award Finalist. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Bookforum, and The New Republic. He studied writing at Oberlin College and lives in New York with his family.

Rumaan’s Keynote Speech will be titled “Pleasure.” Catch him at the Festival on Saturday, November 4.

Past Keynote Speakers have included:
Garth Greenwell
T Kira Madden
Luis Alberto Urrea

2023 Festival Pricing

Regular Registration – $350

Full Schedule, Sessions Descriptions, and Instructor Bios are coming soon!


  • Breakout Sessions (writers can choose between 2 or 3 classes for each session, depending on your genre and skill level) 
  • Brown Bag Class Samplers (bring your lunch and join us for a class!)
  • Featured classes with invited authors 
  • Master Class with our Keynote author
  • Keynote Speech & Book Signing
  • Office Hours with StoryStudio Instructors
  • Coffee & Writer Socials 
  • Friday Night Kick-Off Party 
  • Saturday Cocktail Party 

Manuscript Reviews ($65)
Sign up for a 20 minute meeting with a StoryStudio author and instructor. This one-on-one meeting includes verbal feedback on up to 5 pages of your manuscript. All sessions will take place during the Festival weekend. 

Agent & Editor Meetings: Save the Date!
Mark your calendars for Pub Crawl: an Online Publishing Intensive in February 2024. We’ll be offering classes and events centered on the publishing world all month long, including the opportunity to virtually meet and query agents and editors.

Note: After registration you’ll receive a follow-up email confirming your place at the Festival and any add-on sessions you have requested.


What is your cancellation policy?

Due to the nature of the event, we will not be able to refund your purchase after October 27. Prior to October 27, refunds will be given minus a 25% cancellation fee.

Can I choose my breakout session(s) the day of?

Yes! We’ll send out a form to sign up to help us with space accommodations, but you can decide the day of.

What is the COVID policy?

We respect everyone’s level of comfort and precaution with COVID. At this time, masking is not required, but masks are absolutely welcome at the Festival. If you become sick with COVID or another illness prior to or during the Festival, we must follow our cancellation policy stated above.




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StoryStudio Writers Festival is an ideal venue for honing your craft of writing by learning from writers who have achieved a level of success. It is a well-orchestrated compilation of professionals, educators, and peers who share new and proven insights and provide case studies on the best ways to move your work forward.

Kudos to StoryStudio for creating a casual yet extremely informative event where all kinds of writers can hang out together while learning how to improve our craft and better manage the affliction of being a writer!

Writers Festival is a great way to meet other aspiring writers, as well as experienced writers, to hear from agents, editors, and poets, to gain insight about the publishing process, tips on writing, and pointers on seeking an agent. Highly recommended; stimulating, supportive, and fun!

I didn’t just get new ideas and information this weekend. I got a chance to feel more like I’m part of the Chicago writing community.

This year’s StoryStudio Writers Festival was worth every minute and every penny. The sessions offered were useful for writers at any stage in their career–from beginning to advanced. I am definitely going next year!