We’re excited to announce the 2023 Festival Dates! The dates are November 4-5, 2023, located at the Center on Halsted.

More Details to Come. See below for 2022 Details.

Join us for the 5th Annual StoryStudio Writers Festival! October 1st & 2nd, in-person at Center on Halsted. 

Curated by Artistic Director Rebecca Makkai, the two day Festival will offer classes, panels, and conversations to help writers explore their writing and develop their craft. Writers will be placed in one of three cohorts (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Open Genre) for an intensive study on their chosen work.

For those ready for feedback, the Festival offers one-on-one Manuscript Reviews from award-winning authors and StoryStudio instructors. Plus, we’ll be hosting office hours, write-in’s, and a Saturday after-party. 

Luis Alberto Urrea

Urrea won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction award and his collection of short stories, The Water Museum, was a finalist for the 2016 PEN-Faulkner Award and was named a best book of the year by The Washington Post and Kirkus Reviews, among others. Into the Beautiful North, his 2009 a novel, is a Big Read selection by the National Endowment of the Arts and has been chosen by more than 50 different cities and colleges as a community read. The Devil’s Highway, Urrea’s 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. 

Luis Alberto Urrea is a Mexican American poet, novelist, and essayist. A 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Urrea is the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of 17 books, winning numerous awards for his poetry, fiction and essays. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.”  

Hailed by NPR as a “literary badass” and a “master storyteller with a rock and roll heart,” Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph.

He lives in Naperville, Illinois, where he is a distinguished professor of creative writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

2022 Festival Pricing

Early Bird Registration (through July 6th) – $325 
Regular Registration – $350

See below for details on adding on a one-on-one Manuscript Review 

Full access to Festival sessions (per your genre cohort)
Slack channel to connect with fellow Fest writers
Friday Kickoff Party
Saturday After-Party

Festival Cohorts
Writers will be able to choose between 3 cohorts (Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, or Open Genre) when purchasing a ticket. The cohorts will stay together throughout the weekend for their sessions. This is an opportunity to focus on your craft and build strong relationships with other writers!
Open Genre will be a mix of sessions focused on both Fiction and Creative Nonfiction crafts. 
*Please note: space in each cohort is very limited! Sign up early to secure your spot.

Full Schedule, Sessions Descriptions, Bios, etc. can be found in our program.

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 2023. 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.

Vaccination Requirements 

Festival attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination in order to attend the StoryStudio Writers Festival. Information on our full vaccine policy can be found here.

You can find the latest COVID-19 information on the CDC’s COVID-19 website and the City of Chicago Emergency Travel Order.

*Covid-19 precautions are subject to change based on CDC guidelines and City of Chicago mandates. 


What is your cancellation policy?

Because of the limited number of seats available, and due to the nature of the event, we will not be able to refund your purchase after September 11. Prior to September 11, refunds will be given minus a 25% cancellation fee.

Do I need to be vaccinated? What about masked?

Yes, you must be vaccinated. Please see our vaccine policy.

Masking as a requirement will be determined based on the city of Chicago guidelines and recommendations, as well as the ever-shifting nature of COVID. Everyone is welcome to voluntarily mask up in addition to showing proof of vaccination.

Where is the full lineup and schedule?

A work in progress! We’re busy putting the final touches on the descriptions and panels, and confirming your favorite Chicago authors. The early-bird pricing and availability is for those who want to secure a spot before the final schedule is out.


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!

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!