Big Shoulders Books

Creative Writing Program

DePaul University

The William and Irene Beck Charitable Trust

The goal of Big Shoulders Books is to disseminate, free of charge, quality anthologies of writing by and about

Chicagoans whose voices might not otherwise be shared. Each year Big Shoulders Books aims to make small

but meaningful contributions to discussions of injustice and inequality in Chicago.

Its press aims to produce one book each year that engages intimately with the Chicago community and, in the

process, give graduate students in DePaul University’s Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing program hands-on,

practical experience in book publishing.


Big Shoulders Books was made possible by grants from the Vincentian Endowment Fund and the William and Irene Beck Charitable Trust, as well as support from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Department of English at DePaul University.

Additional financial, logistical and/or administrative support was provided by the following organizations at DePaul University:

  1. Irwin W. Steans Center for Community-based Service Learning

  2. Egan Urban Center

  3. Beck Research Initiative 

  4. Women's & Gender Studies Program

  5. Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity

How Long Will I Cry?

In 2011-12, creative-writing students from DePaul University fanned out all over

The city to interview people whose lives have been changed by the rampant bloodshed

occurring among Chicago youth.  The result is How Long Will I Cry?: Voices of Youth

Violence, a book that the Chicago Tribune calls an “incredibly rich and compelling

examination” of the ways that violence affects us all.

Additional support for ‘How Long Will I Cry?’ came from Steppenwolf Theatre

Company and Now Is The Time, a citywide call to action against youth violence,

and the City of Chicago.  The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation also provided funding

for educational programming connected to this



William & Irene Beck Charitable Trust  903 West Webster Ave.  Chicago  IL 60614