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Young Chicago Authors transforms the lives of young people by cultivating their voices through writing, publication, and performance education.



Young Chicago Authors was founded in 1991 by Dr. Robert S. Boone. He assembled a group of educators, writers and philanthropists who all believed that young people should have more exposure to creative writing. YCA started as an intensive three-year Saturday program for students who had demonstrated a strong interest in creative writing. By 1995, forty-five students were taking part in this Saturday program. In this early period, YCA also offered workshops at schools and numerous community partners.

In 2001, Young Chicago Authors became the home of Louder Than A Bomb, the largest youth poetry festival in the world. Over the years this festival has helped expand YCA’s reach into schools and communities across the city.

At present, Young Chicago Authors offers free weekly programming, workshops and in-school residencies throughout the city of Chicago and Chicago land. YCA runs with help of a core staff of six, a six member teaching artist corps and numerous freelance artists, administrators and educators.

YCA directly serves 4,500 teens a year through workshops, performance and publication programs, and reaches 10,000 young people and adults through readership of its publications and audiences at its events. YCA has also begun its expansion of the Louder Than A Bomb brand into cities across the nation.


Did you know?

  • We are currently writing the first ever Literary Arts and Education Curriculum for the Chicago Public Schools system.

  • Lupe Fiasco follows us on Twitter!
  • In 2009, Young Chicago Authors was awarded the Coming Up Taller Award and had the honor of sending our founder Dr. Robert S. Boone and YCA Alumnus Lacreshia Brits to the White House for the ceremony.
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a big supporter of YCA and in 2010 donated $5,000 to our organization.