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Judy Blume to appear at Printers Row Lit Fest

Other attendees set for June festival include Art Spiegelman, 'Devil Wears Prada' author

Mark Caro

2:05 PM CDT, April 21, 2013

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Children's/young-adult author Judy Blume and graphic novelist/cartoonist Art Spiegelman will be honored as part of this year's Printers Row Lit Fest, which runs June 8 and 9 in the South Loop.

Blume, the author of such beloved works as "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," "Forever" and "Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great," will receive the 2013 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize. Former Tribune cultural critic and Pulitzer Prize winner Julia Keller, author of the young adult novel "Back Home" as well as the 2012 mystery "A Killing in the Hills," will present the award and lead a conversation with the 75-year-old Blume on June 9 in the Harold Washington Library Center's Cindy Pritzker Auditorium.

"Judy Blume is beloved by generations of readers," Chicago Tribune editor Gerould Kern said. "In honoring her work, we celebrate her bond with readers. Blume has a special gift for empowering young people who feel left out and marginalized. We also recognize that Judy Blume has been a fierce advocate for the power of the written word and taken a strong stand against censorship."

Blume, who went public with a breast cancer diagnosis last August, has written adult novels as well, including "Wifey," "Smart Women" and "Summer Sisters." Her most recent book is the kids' adventure "Going, Going, Gone! with the Pain & the Great One" (2008).

Spiegelman, best known for "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" (the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize) and the post-9/11 comics collection "In the Shadow of No Towers," will receive the Harold Washington Literary Prize and engage in a discussion June 8 with fellow cartoonist Ivan Brunetti, a Columbia College assistant professor of graphic design and editor of "An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories" for Yale University Press.

Early in his career, Spiegelman, now 65, served as an editor of the comics magazines "Arcade" and "Raw," and later he was a New Yorker contributing artist for about 10 years. New York-based composer Mohammed Fairouz debuted his "Symphony No. 4, In the Shadow of No Towers," based on the Spiegelman book, last month at Carnegie Hall.

The flagship event of the Tribune's year-round Printers Row literacy program, Lit Fest will feature about 200 authors and another 200 exhibitors mostly along and adjacent to Dearborn Street between Congress Parkway and Polk Street. Conversations, demonstrations and performances take place in tents and on stages, as well as inside the Harold Washington Library Center.

About 150,000 people attended the 2012 event.

Among others scheduled to participate in this year's Lit Fest:

• Lauren Weisberger, author of "The Devil Wears Prada" and its new sequel, "Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns."

• Colum McCann, author of the National Book Award-winning "Let the Great World Spin" and the due-in-June novel "TransAtlantic," along with Aleksandar Hemon, whose acclaimed nonfiction book "The Book of My Lives" came out last month.

• Anchee Min, author of "Red Azalea" and the new "The Cooked Seed: A Memoir."

• Irvine Welsh, author of "Trainspotting" and last September's release, "Skagboys."

• Chicago-area-based author and former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Julia Sweeney, whose new memoir is "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother."

• Nathan Englander, author of the short story collection "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" as well as the earlier "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges."

• Elizabeth Berg, whose new novel is "Tapestry of Fortunes," on a program with Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, author of the novel "Oleander Girl."

The Good Eating tent will feature such chefs and food authors as Fabio Viviani ("Fabio's Italian Kitchen"), a former "Top Chef" fan favorite and driving force behind the wildly popular new River North restaurant Siena Tavern; Bobby Deen (Paula Deen's son), author of "From Mama's Table to Mine: Everybody's Favorite Comfort Foods at 350 Calories or Less"; North Side gourmet hot dog proprietor Doug Sohn, author (with Kate DeVivo) of the upcoming "Hot Doug's: The Book"; and Tom Acitelli, author of "The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution," on a program with beer sommelier Ray Daniels.

The expanded Arts & Poetry Stage offerings, sponsored by Columbia College, will include Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein ("Wrestling Li Po for the Remote"), Michael Robbins ("Alien vs. Predator), Kevin Coval ("Schtick") and Robbie Q. Telfer ("Spiking the Sucker Punch").

Among the performers at the Children's Stage will be Justin Roberts & the Not Ready For Naptime Players and the Chicago Public Library's Teen Volume Reader's Theatre Troupe. Featured young adult authors will include Oak Park teen Tavi Gevinson ("Rookie Yearbook One") and Blue Balliett ("Hold Fast").

New for 2013 will be a centralized tent for workshops, including several focusing on the writing process, as well as more interactive programming, including "Pitchapalooza" and a singer-songwriter program led by Chicago alt-country performer Robbie Fulks. The Tribune's Rick Kogan also will host a special edition of the "Chicago Live!" variety/talk show June 8 at the Jazz Showcase.

mcaro@tribune.com

Twitter @MarkCaro