Every summer, the Author’s Brunch in Oak Lawn draws hundreds of writers and aspiring authors looking to network and bounce ideas off each other. This year’s event will focus more on equipping attendees with the tools they’ll need to start their writing careers, says award-winning Chicago author Debra Rhodes. The 6th Annual Author’s Brunch will take place on Sunday, June 24, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel in Oak Lawn.
“Based off feedback from last year’s brunch, we’re going to make this year more about the educational components of starting a writing career,” said Rhodes, who founded the Author’s Brunch in 2013. “We’re going to have a panel of authors offering real insight on the foundation a writer will need to get their work off the ground.”
The Author’s Brunch keynote speaker this year will be Hermene Hartman, founder of N’DIGO magapaper and pioneer of black press in Chicago. Hartman and her magapaper recently released a book titled N’DIGO Legacy: Black Luxe 110, which detailed N’DIGO accounts with former-Senator Barack Obama, boxing legend Muhammad Ali, and many more.
“She is a Chicago icon,” said Rhodes. “Her knowledge and experience in the publishing world is endless, and I’m sure our audience will be inspired by her to blaze a path of their own.”
Rhodes is expected to release a new book at this year’s brunch — a sequel of her book titled “WHY?” The new writing will be called “The Day Hate Stood Still,” which details redemption and forgiveness.
The panel will consist of local and award-winning authors. Rhodes will offer insight as well and share trends she’s noticing in the publishing industry. One trend, said Rhodes, is that authors today are more open to sharing their life stories and experiences, which is why she wants to educate more writers, so they can put their stories on paper.
Rhodes also notices that more women and African Americans, especially younger ones, are entering the publishing industry. She says this could be due to recent pressure that the younger generation in the U.S. has been exerting in the past few years. “More women are empowered today,” followed Rhodes, talking about the type of influence the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have had.
Last year, Rhodes established a nonprofit called “The Rhodes Literary Group” and continued to host the Author’s Brunch through her new organization. The Rhodes Literary Group offered three, $500 college scholarships to graduating seniors majoring in creative writing or journalism. This was the first time something like this was done at the Author’s Brunch, and Rhodes states they’re doing it again this year.
There will be opportunities for authors to promote their work at this year’s brunch. For $175, an author can have an entire table; that includes brunch, a vendor booth area, and a five-minute radio interview. For $100, an author can have a half table which includes brunch and a vendor booth area.
Students interested in qualifying for a literary scholarship from The Rhodes Literary Group must maintain a high GPA leading into summer and write an essay showing interest.
The cost for the 6th Annual Author’s Brunch is $55 per person before May 1, after $60 per person after May 1. There is an expected audience of up to 250 people.
On October 7, Rhodes will host the third annual Author’s Brunch in Detroit. More details about that event will be available after the event in Chicago.