Young Chicago Authors presents the world’s largest youth poetry festival

Young Chicago Authors (YCA) presents the world’s largest youth poetry festival, the 16th annual Louder Than A Bomb (LTAB), a stage for talented teenage poets to compete for individual and team honors. This year’s festival will include hundreds of Chicago-area poets facing off at more than 90 events starting on February 13 and culminating with two special celebrations: a Sweet 16 anniversary Benefit Party honoring hip-hop legend Chuck D of Public Enemy at the Metro Chicago (3730 N Clark St) on Friday, March 18; and the LTAB Team Finals showcasing the top four high school teams competing in an Olympic-style poetry slam with a special half-time show by Jay Z’s Roc Nation label’s new signee, Vic Mensa, at Chicago’s Auditorium Theater (50 E Congress Pkwy) on Saturday, March 19.

LTAB 2016 will take place at 10 venues, featuring the talents of 1,200 students from more than 125 schools across 120 different Chicagoland zip codes. Participants work year-round to craft lyrically acrobatic performances that cover many pivotal topics including policing, social justice and equity, which often have spectators on the edge of their seats.

“For 16 years this festival has been a platform for young people to use words to transform their lives and impact the world at large for the better,” said poet, LTAB founder and YCA artistic director Kevin Coval. “There has never been a more important time to listen to what young people have to tell us about society, and poetic expression offers a window to a world that often is overlooked.”

“Louder Than A Bomb is a powerful and important cultural event,” said Michelle T. Boone, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “Not only does it showcase the tremendous talent of Chicago’s young people, it also brings together people from every corner of the city in an environment that fosters education, encourages self-expression and gives audiences insight into the real issues that teens are grappling with every day. We are proud that Chicago is the birthplace of Louder Than A Bomb, and can’t wait to see the work of this year’s participants.”

This year’s festival will be presented with the help of some of the city’s most accomplished lyricists including educator and vocalist Jamila Woods, award-winning poet Nate Marshall as well as Chicago hip hop stars Vic Mensa and Chance the Rapper.

Chuck D of Public Enemy, aka Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, is an award-winning emcee, author, and producer that inspired the festival’s name with Public Enemy’s 1988 hit “Louder Than a Bomb.” On Friday March 18, at Metro Chicago, Chuck D will co-host, with Public Enemy’s DJ Lord, the Sweet 16 Benefit Party; he will be interviewed on stage during the “Hip Hop History Lesson” portion of the event and will perform some of Public Enemy’s greatest hits. The following evening, Saturday, March 19, at the LTAB Team Finals, Chuck D, DJ Lord and LTAB founder Kevin Coval will present the “LTAB Chuck D Lyrical Terrorist Award” to the youth participant that most showed an approach to activism in their work throughout the five-week 2016 LTAB festival.


LTAB 2016 Schedule: Feb. 13 – March 19, 2016:

Preliminary Bouts: February 17 – 20 and February 24 – 27 at Columbia College Chicago.

Semi-Finals: March 15 at the Metro Chicago from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Indy Finals: March 17 at the DuSable Museum of African American History starting at 6 p.m.

Sweet 16 Benefit Party: March 18 at the Metro Chicago.

Team Finals: March 19 at the Auditorium Theater starting at 6 p.m.

For ticket information about the 2016 LTAB festival and the 2016 Benefit Party visit: