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English and Creative Writing

2005 Lake Forest Literary Festival

The inaugural event featured Chicago author Stuart Dybek as the keynote speaker.

Lake Forest College welcomes award-winning Chicago author Stuart Dybek as the College’s Spring 2005 artist-in-residence and featured speaker at the first annual Lake Forest Literary Festival, to be held March 15-18, 2005.  The Festival brings together prominent Illinois writers to celebrate the diversity and richness of the literary culture in Chicago.

The Festival will feature readings, lectures, and panel discussions from such well-known writers as Reginald Gibbons, Ricardo Cortez Cruz, and Chicago Tribune journalist Patrick T. Reardon.  Other offerings include:

  • A panel discussion by three Chicago editors on the topic: “The Voice Behind the Voice: Chicago Editors on Writing and Publishing” (March 16)
  • Lunch with resident artists and writers from the Ragdale Foundation, an artists’ retreat located on Chicago’s North Shore (March 17)

“The Lake Forest Literary Festival is an outgrowth of a lecture series the College has been doing for years,” explained Bob Archambeau, Chair of the English Department and co-organizer of the festival.  “While our past visitors have included such notable writers as Paul D. Miller – aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid – and Thomas Frank, the editor of The Baffler, this is the first time we have been able to bring together such a distinguished group to explore Chicago’s great literary tradition.

The Lake Forest Literary Festival is made possible by a $4,300 grant from the Illinois Arts Council and the generous support of numerous campus groups, including the Visiting Artist Committee, the Mojekwu Fund for Intercultural Understanding, the English Department, and the American Studies Department. Additional underwriting was provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  

Presenter Biographies

Stuart Dybek
A native of Chicago, Stuart Dybek is considered a master of the short story. His most recent book of fiction, I Sailed with Magellan, has been named one of the 26 Notable Books for 2005 by the American Library Association.  He is the author of two acclaimed collections of short stories, The Coast of Chicago and Childhood and Other Neighborhoods, as well as a collection of poetry titled Brass Knuckles.Set in the stark urban landscapes of Chicago’s South Side, Dybek’s captivating stories are full of poignant emotion, drama, and unexpected humor.  Dybek has won the O. Henry Prize four times for achievement in the short story, as well as a PEN/Bernard Malamud Prize, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other awards and honors. His fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in The New YorkerHarper’s and The Atlantic.


Reginald Gibbons
Reginald Gibbons is a poet, fiction writer, translator, literary critic, and artist. From 1981 to 1997, he served as editor of TriQuarterly magazine, an international journal of new writing, art and cultural inquiry. He is also the co-founder of TriQuarterly Books, an imprint for contemporary writing, and the author of seven poetry collections, most recently Sparrow: New and Selected Poems, Homage to Longshot O’Leary, and It’s Time.  He is the author of a collection of short fiction,Five Pears or Peaches; and a novel, Sweetbitter. He is an eminent translator, whose works include the Selected Poems of Luis Cernuda; Guillen on Guilen; Euripides’ Bakkhai and Sophokles’ Antigone. He has also published numerous other books, held Guggenheim and NEA fellowships in poetry, and won the Anisfield Wolf Book Award, the Carl Sandburg Prize, and other honors, among them the inclusion of his work in Best American Poetry and Pushcart Prize Anthologies. In 2004 Gibbons won the Folger Shakespeare Library’s O. B. Hardison, Jr., Poetry Prize.


Ricardo Cortez Cruz
Born in Decatur, Illinois,  Ricardo Cortez Cruz gained national prominence when his novel Straight Outta Compton won the 1992 Nilon Award for Excellence in Minority Fiction.  Called a “violent, slangy, tour-de-force debut” by Kirkus ReviewsStraight Outta Compton received substantial critical attention, and has been described as the leading example of a “rap novel.” The Nation pickedStraight Outta Compton as one of 1992’s best books.  Cruz’s second novel, Five Days of Bleeding, was published by in 1995.


Patrick T. Reardon
Patrick T. Reardon is a feature writer with the Chicago Tribune and specializes in writing about Chicago, its people, and its region. Reardon was one of a team of Tribune writers and reporters who won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting for “Gateway to Gridlock,” a series of stories about the nation’s over-crowded skies.  Throughout 2003, he worked with Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin on a series of stories on the demolition of hundreds of potential city landmarks - a project which won the Peter Lisagor Award for in-depth reporting. Reardon is the recipient of two Peter Lisagor awards for arts criticism and two for reporting. A frequent book reviewer for the Tribune since 1985, Reardon is the author of two books, Daily Meditations (with Scripture) for Busy Dads and Starting Out: Reflections for Young People. He wrote several chapters in the 1997 book,Chicago Days: 150 Defining Moments in the Life of a Great City.  His poems have appeared in many periodicals.