WHEn 10 AM-6 PM, Sat-Sun 6/9-6/10

WHERE Dearborn from Congress to Polk Price Free, but some events require advance tickets

INFO chicagotribune.com/ about/custom/events/printersrow/ or 312-222-3986

Every year around this time people in the book business start peering at the sky and crossing their fingers–because the Printers Row Book Fair carries on rain or shine. Now in its 23rd year, this celebration of literature and book arts (run by the Chicago Tribune since 2002) draws 150 or so new, used, and antiquarian booksellers, not to mention a respectable flock of authors with new projects to plug, to the South Loop to hawk their wares.

The University Center’s private dining room is the venue for many higher profile events. Saturday it hosts, among others: Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Eig, author of Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson’s First Season (10:30 AM); Defending the Damned author Kevin Davis (11:30 AM); novelist and visual artist Audrey Niffenegger, discussing her latest “novel in pictures,” The Adventuress, a sequel to 2005’s The Three Incestuous Sisters (1:30 PM); and Michigan-based Ander Monson–who gave a wickedly mesmerizing reading from his short story collection Other Electricities at a Bookslut Reading Series event last year–talking here with Bookslut editor Jessa Crispin about his new essay collection, Neck Deep (3:30 PM).

Meanwhile, short-form masters Amy Hempel, Jean Thompson (Throw Like a Girl), and Ben Greenman (the weird and gently devastating A Circle Is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love) discuss craft with moderator Veronique de Turenne at the Nelson Algren Stage (2:30 PM). At the Heartland Stage, Gong Show impresario and putative CIA operative Chuck Barris talks with Tribune TV critic Maureen Ryan about The Big Question, his dystopian satire about a reality quiz show that doesn’t kick losers off the island–it executes them on live TV (3 PM). Best American Comics editor Anne Elizabeth Moore and comics artist Anders Nilsen chat with culture writer Julia Keller at the Hotel Blake (3:30 PM). And no local literary event would be complete without Studs Terkel, who talks with the Tribune Magazine’s Elizabeth Taylor and Rick Kogan about, well, probably whatever the hell he wants at the Harold Washington Library Center (3:30 PM).

On Sunday lexicographers and the people who love them should head to the Nelson Algren Stage for the American Heritage Dictionary Define-a-Thon (2 PM)–a sort of inverse spelling bee in which AHD senior editor Steve Kleinedler provides contestants with a definition and several possible source words. Space is limited so participants are urged to get there early to sign up.

Also on Sunday, Medill’s David Standish (Hollow Earth) talks with Los Angeles Times books editor David Ulin about his cultural history of hollow earth theories at the Nelson Algren Stage (1 PM), and the Harold Washington Library Center hosts Anchee Min (The Last Empress) in conversation with Trib columnist Dawn Turner Trice (3 PM). Other entertainment includes kids’ events, poetry readings, and cooking demos by local chefs and experts such as Reader contributor and LTH Forum cofounder Gary Wiviott, who, along with several others, takes the Good Eating Stage to expound on BBQ at noon and then show us how it’s done at 1 PM.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Amy Hempel, Audrey Niffenegger, Studs Turkel.