Young Chicago Authors

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

students practice singing

Young Chicago Authors

Young Chicago Authors is a creative writing program that brings students from all over  Chicago with different backgrounds together to work on their own stories, to learn about writing and poetry, and to help them decide what they want to do in life.

Young Chicago Authors teaches young people about hip hop realist portraiture and how to create their own narrative through educational programs including the Educational Partnerships, writing workshops, open mics, the Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam, and more.

A male student raising his hand while other students listen intently

Young Chicago Authors is a space for young people to share their voices, these are the young people who deal with violence and segregation on a daily basis. Young Chicago Authors offers them a platform to express themselves and come together, to create important writing and introduce these young people to what a writing literary could be like. Young Chicago Authors goes beyond cultural and socio-economic boundaries. Check out this informational video to learn more about Young Chicago Authors.

To learn more about the Young Chicago Authors, their goal as an organization, the programs they provide,  if Young Chicago Authors is a good fit for you, and how AdmissionSight can help if it is a good fit, keep reading.


The goal of the Young Chicago Authors is to focus on six objectives that outline the Young Chicago Authors work with you people:

Foster Youth Creativity and Expression

  • The Young Chicago Authors workshops ask students to think about writing as experts of their own experiences. Asking questions like, where are you from?” Brings out stories of their own that go deeper and reflect on their experience and the realities of growing up in today’s society.
  • When it comes to college admissions, the personal statement is oftentimes what puts an application on top, and reflection and having a deeper understanding of self is a big portion of the personal statement, which Young Chicago Authors can help you get to

Engage Young People in Cross-City Dialogue

  • Young Chicago Authors brings students from diverse backgrounds together, breaking geographic and cultural boundaries that segregate Chicago.
  • Each week, students listen to one another’s narratives
  • At the Louder Than A Bomb Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, young people from 120 zip codes share their stories with a larger audience

Provide Spaces for Youth Community Rooted in Poetry

  • Young Chicago Authors’ relationships are formed and based on love and interest for creative expression through the written and spoken word
  • Young Chicago Authors brings together young people from various different who wouldn’t have been able to connect before

Involve Young People in an Examination of the Conditions of the City and the World

  • Young Chicago Authors practice began from the belief that all people have important stories to tell
  • Young Chicago Authors is mainly interested in presenting student artists with voices representing marginalized communities while also engaging students in conversations about inequity and injustice.

Build Critical Thinking, Reading, Writing and Public Speaking Skills

  • Young Chicago Authors uses a new approach for educating young people by switching to literary arts in a classroom setting which sparks achievement in language arts and social and emotional learning due to the area
  • Young Chicago Authors brings together students from school-based poetry clubs, which not only strengthens the student-school relationship through partnership and trust but also provides direction for out-of-school hours to adapt and be used more wisely and effectively

Support Early Career Teaching artists as they Become Cultural Educators

  • Young Chicago Authors is a place for talented writers who choose to pursue a career in arts education to grow
  • Young Chicago Authors Teaching Artist Corps members are artists who develop their identities as educators and mentors while simultaneously perfecting their teaching skills and teaching others

Read Young Chicago Authors 2017 Report here.

If you are not from Chicago, they do have some resources that may benefit you, but there are also various other humanities summer programs, and contests to participate in, we have various blogs about topics such as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards here.


Young Chicago Authors offers various different types of programs, for specific types of performance, workshops, summer programs, and more. If you’re looking for a good writing fit workshop or event, Young Chicago Authors hs a lot to choose from.

Educational partnerships

  • Young Chicago Authors offers a free 15-week literary arts partnership residencies to some Chicago Public Schools
  • During this time, schools and Young Chicago Authors teaching artists create programing in order to prep for that school’s involvement in Louder than A Bomb
  • Young Chicago Authors Teaching Artists go to the school to perform, host poetry workshops, critique, and help in student work
  • Not only is this a great opportunity for the Teaching Artist, but this gives students the chance to experience a mentorship based program and also learn about their craft
  • Plus, due to the Louder Than A Bomb tournament, read more below, students get to work with two other nearby schools
  • This partnership provides access to Chicago Writes which is a Chicago centered literary curriculum

To view the Education Partnership Application, visit this webpage.

Another educational partnership to look into is the Iowa Young Writer’s Studio.

Special Projects

Young Chicago Authors creates other various special projects throughout the year while collaborating with different art institutions and community organizations, these events can be on or off performance and are year-round.

  1. The Breakbeat Poets Tour
    • Read more about them here
  2. Chicago Next
    • A showcase of new musicians, rappers, artists, etc, for ages 21+
    • Check out their Instagram page
  3. Chicago Youth Poet Laureate
    • The National Youth Poet Laureate program aims to improve literary arts and youth development organization, the Chicago Youth Poet Laureate does that as well
    • Read more here

When it comes to arts and visual arts when applying to college, college campuses are full of singing, dancing, writing groups who perform and these talents are part of what makes the school and students so great. Having a talent in writing and performing can lead into a great career, if you aren’t sure how to portray that on your college application or admission, read this information as well as contact us, at AdmissionSight we can help you curate the perfect portfolio revolving around your craft.

Open mics

Open mics provide a space for practicing artists to be able to perform in public, receive feedback while also observing and supporting others.

  • WordPlay is a youth open mic in Chicago, the longest-running in Chicago
  • It provides a space for poets who are 12 to 25 to participate in a writing workshop, perform their work and listen to others
  • Due to coronavirus, WordPlay is on Instagram Live, this is a perfect opportunity to check it out here

Wordplay is free to attend and participate in, even if you go to observe you might observe history. Up and coming artists like Chance the Rapper, Saba and more took part in Wordplay.

a female student on an open mic

Open workshops

The open workshops are offered completely free for young artists in Chicago, might as well give it a try even if you aren’t a rapper or you don’t want to be the next poet laureate, but an emcee workshop could help grow valuable skills in public speaking, and leadership that you might now have known you had.

  • Check the Method is a workshop focused on instruction in poetry and hip hop spoken word, for dedicated young writers
  • Emcee Wreckshop is for rappers all around Chicago, they are taught by local rappers
  • Queeriosity is a literary arts and performance salon that meets once a month and is a safe space for LGBTQ or questioning youth from 12 to 25 to explore

Summer Programs

Summer programs are a way for young people to explore their talents and passions with their full focus and no other responsibilities. Young Chicago Authors offers so many different programs, but the summer program is ideal to decide if writing and becoming an artist is what you want to do, because of the amount of time you’ll spend doing it. As well as, you’ll get to meet friends and create memories that will last a lifetime while doing something important with your summer and potentially getting a college-like experience.

  1. Louder than a Bomb Squad
    • A six-week apprenticeship for 12 young poets with Young Chicago Authors
    • Learn more here
  2. Write to the City
    • Over 100 youth writers from Chicago attend a week-long camp full of nonstop art
    • To learn more visit this webpage

Here are some other summer programs if you aren’t from Chicago.


Louder Than A Bomb Chicago Youth Poetry Festival

Louder Than A Bomb is the largest youth poetry festival in the world. It was founded in 2001 after 9/11, Chicago was being targeted by an anti-gang loitering law that was going to take away the right to assemble. Kevin Coval and Anna West were two Chicago poets who thought up the idea, a handful of teams began the festival in a basement and now over 13 cities in the U.S. and Canada use Louder Than A Bomb as a model. During the Louder Than A Bomb Festival, they host a National Symposium to provide other cities with workshops to develop and produce their own festival. It’s a way for Young Chicago Authors to connect educators and organizers and to expand the teaching of poetry, hip hop pedagogy, and cultural literacy. To learn more about the National Symposium, visit here.

a student performing in the stage

The Louder Than A Bomb festival hosts over 500 youth poets for a 5-week program of poetry workshops, bouts, special events, and more. At the festival, they perform their own original solo, and there are group poems in tournament competition. There are student representatives from all schools and community groups in Chicago. There are other  Louder Than A Bomb specialty programs such as the Jordan Slam, Louder Than A Bomba, MC Olympics, and others.

Check out the Louder Than a Bomb trailer here.

Louder Than A Bomb works with Education Partner schools as well. Education Partner schools can send a team of four to ten young people to compete in two preliminary bouts with teams from other schools. They have the chance to move on to the quarter and semifinal rounds and to the Team Finals competition. Schools try to organize a field trip to watch one of the preliminary bouts to support their team.

In Conclusion

Young Chicago Authors is a place for Chicago residents to hone their craft, practice for their career or just work on a fun hobby. Not every activity while in high school has to revolve around a career path, but it does help when it comes to flexibility and a holistic process of a combination of arts and sciences if you want to entre a science field not necessarily humanities when applying for your undergraduate.

students sitting on a staircase while studying

Check out the Young Chicago Authors calendar here to view workshops and tune in to the Louder Than Bomb bouts on Youtube that begin soon. Although things are changing right now, it’s important that you adapt and prove to professionals and college admissions counselors that you did something meaningful, with your summer or extra time. If you aren’t sure how to plan your time, or where you should start when it comes to summer programs or extracurriculars, contact us at AdmissionSight, we can help you start planning for next year’s extracurricular activities or give you academic guidance to kickstart your next school year.

If you do want to become a writer or a poet, what better place to practice than Young Chicago Authors because of all of the resources, workshops, mentorships, and more. Keep up with Young Chicago Authors on Facebook and Instagram to observe their programs, sign up, and get involved.



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