About Essay Fiesta

What is Essay Fiesta?

Essay Fiesta brings together a cross-section of Chicago’s art and writing communities for a night of first-person, non-fiction essays to benefit 826CHI.

When is Essay Fiesta?

The third Monday of the month. 7 pm.

Where is Essay Fiesta?

The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square (4736 N Lincoln Ave).

Who is Essay Fiesta?

Essay Fiesta Hosts


Willy Nast is the co-producer of Essay Fiesta, in addition to being a monthly featured reader. Willy is originally from Aurora, Illinois, and yes, he has seen the movie Wayne’s World an astounding number of times. Willy co-hosts a bi-monthly podcast called All Write Already!. You can find out more about what Willy is writing and where he’ll be reading at willynast.com.

Karen Shimmin is the co-producer of Essay Fiesta, in addition to being a monthly featured reader. A graduate of Northwestern University’s creative writing and theatre programs, Karen has performed at theaters and storytelling shows around Chicago. She also co-hosts All Write Already!, a literary podcast, with some guy named Willy Nast. Find her at karen-shimmin.com.

Essay Fiesta Founders

Keith Ecker is the co-creator of Essay Fiesta. Shortly before departing the monthly event in 2012, he launched Guts & Glory: Live Lit for the Lionhearted, which challenges guest readers to take storytelling into truly revealing territory. He has performed his work throughout Chicago and beyond at such showcases as the Printers Row Lit Fest, the Chicago Writers Conference, Lifeline Theatre’s Fillet of Solo Festival, Write Club, Story Club, This Much Is True, the Encyclopedia Show, the Paper Machete and many others. His work has been published by McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, the Huffington Post and others. He is also a co-producer of the Chicago storytelling podcast Broad Shoulders. You can learn more about Keith at keithecker.com.

Alyson LyonAlyson Lyon is the co-creator of Essay Fiesta. Additionally, she co-produced and performed at Essay Fiesta from November 2009 – November 2012. She has read and performed her original essays at such venues as: Story Club, Stories at the Store, This Much Is True, Here’s the Story, Write Club, Paper Machete, The Acorn Theatre, The Chicago Writers Conference and Printer’s Row Lit Fest. Alyson also writes screenplays, is a certified yoga teacher and works as a makeup artist (check out alysonheartsfaces.com for more on that end).

Why is Essay Fiesta?

For the community, for artists and for 826CHI!


3 thoughts on “About Essay Fiesta

  1. Pingback: Upcoming Guests « The Paper Machete

  2. Pingback: Essay Fiesta at the Book Cellar | BoomTownRack Blog

  3. Pingback: Essay Fiesta Brings Together Chicago’s Literary Clan - Key Reads

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