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The Association of Writers & Writing Programs, a national, nonprofit literary organization for teachers and writers, will kick off the 2012 edition of their annual Chicago conference on Wednesday, February 29.

Presentations, readings, lectures, panel discussions, forums, and more will take place at both The Hilton and Palmer House hotels. Registration is officially sold out.

There are also a number of off-site, open to the public events happening at places like the Empty Bottle, The Hideout, Lincoln Hall, the Stop Smiling storefront, and the Double Door.

The Empty Bottle have FREE (with RSVP) events on both Wednesday and Thursday night. One in particular we'd like to highlight is the venue's Wednesday night late show, which features a reading and musical performance by James Greer (ex-Guided By Voices) and a set by the Mutts.

The Hideout have both an early and late reading on Friday night.

The Double Door have a reading on Friday night.

Lincoln Hall are hosting a literature party on Friday night, featuring author/musician Tim Kinsella.

Stop Smiling and Melville House Publishing are having a party at the Stop Smiling storefront (1371 N. Milwaukee Ave.) on Friday night. The event boasts a number of readings and will also have music from The-Drum (who just played our Vita Hill show), Supreme Cuts, and DJ Pariguayo.

What are you going to check out?