This giving season, please consider the literary arts.

We're nearly halfway to our goal!

Thank you, everyone!

The Republic of Letters has had a wild couple of years. We knew we wanted to make a literary center. We held space for it all: we were a bookstore, an editing agency, a publisher, and we offered some writing classes. In that time, we became involved with Waterline Writers and met hundreds of writers all over the Fox Valley suburbs, and got to know a writing community that is both interesting and kind. Writers have a way of going straight to the heart of things, a beeline away from malarkey and into the real – a trait we at RoL deeply appreciate. We’ve enjoyed getting to know a lot of you and your books. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. 

When we began, we didn’t know which elements of our operations would be most useful, and which would fall away over time. Against the relentless press of online culture, we wanted a brick and mortar space that writers could walk into and feel at ease, to meet other writers, and to talk about literary and related topics. And yet, throughout our two-year stay at such a pleasant location, we encountered certain difficulties. First, there is a distinct process to book-selling that runs at best parallel, and at worst against, the other elements of our operations. Large overhead with small returns, being the sum of it. Fortunately, since we’ve opened, two more awesome bookstores have popped up. Please shop local this season and support Townhouse Books, Harvey's Tales, and The Book Shop Batavia. Second, many aspects of what we do is in the nature of conversation. We meet with writers, we develop stories, we exchange ideas – and this was sometimes a difficult thing to do in a single-room bookstore open to the public. 

Having labored under this dual dispensation, we now relinquish the used bookstore so that we can focus on the core of what we do, which is to network the local writing community and help our local authors get their books into the hands of new readers. We’ve also found in our two years, that aside from the existing community, we have met an impressive number of you quietly writing books in your spare time. This is wonderful! So many of us are closet writers and artists, tinkering and making, perfecting our craft and loving the process. There are still many out there that we don’t know. And that’s what really inspires The Republic of Letters: enhancing the community of writers. 

After two years of beta-testing, we can now focus all of our attention on the strongest aspects of what we do. After the new year, we will be securing another space in which to hold certain of our classes and events, and will also hold events at a range of locations and businesses throughout our community.

And we will still be a bookstore! But now, we will exclusively carry local authors. We aim to establish a fair catalogue and reference center for all of the authors in the area. As ever, RoL is aggressively democratic in how we view the notions of authorship and publication: whether you’re traditionally published, self-published, or just do photocopies in your basement, we want to carry your project. 

After talking with so many of you, it seems many of you struggle with promotion and outreach. In other words, how do we get your books into the hands of new readers? We think we can help. We’d like to use our platform to make commercials for your books as well as author interviews. 

We’re also creating a local author database both online and in an old-school card-catalogue, and a monthly newsletter that will showcase as much relevant local literary news as we can find. An updated web presence will roll out in early 2020. In the meantime, we’re collecting books for our local author library and store. We will continue to carry and sell local authors on commission, both at our new location and in periodic pop-up appearances. 

As we go through this transition, we’ll carry on sponsoring both Waterline Writers and your book launches, the latter of which we are lucky to host at the lovely addition to downtown Geneva,  Cafe & Barr. 

As well as new relationships, we continue our delightful partnership with Water Street Studios in Batavia. Every third Sunday of the month during the academic calendar, Water Street Studios opens their doors to the reading series, Waterline Writers

Waterline Writers is special both because of the gorgeous venue where it is held, but also because of its history and the sheer amount of talent that has stood on its stage. But please don’t ever let that intimidate you! Come be a part of Waterline Writers! Visit our website to submit your writing for a chance to be a featured reader. Published or unpublished, doesn’t matter to us, so long as it’s real. If you’ve ever wanted to check us out, in December we throw an Open Mic holiday party. Come get to know the local lit scene through their writing! December 15th at 6pm at Bar Evolution.

This Giving Tuesday, we’re opening our online fundraiser. We’re asking for $2000. Please consider the arts and donate if you can. If you can’t, sharing’s always nice too. 

Thank you, everyone, happy holidays!!

Cathy and Ryan.

We help people write books

The Republic of Letters offers a variety of editing services. Whether you have a full manuscript or are just sketching ideas, we do everything from polish to inspire. 


A book can be(come) an unwieldy thing,

we'll help you manage it. It's our thing.


We offer our enchanting space to host writing and author events. If you're a local author and you wish to hold a book launch or a reading, please contact us

To see our list of Upcoming Events please click here


The latest up on our blog:

A hub for local literary news, reviews, and cultural posts. Two new posts up by Executive Director, Ryan Block, on Sensitivity Readers and Cancel Culture.  

Waterline Writers

Ask us about Waterline Writers, a monthly reading series held at the ever-green art gallery, Water Street Studios. Over the years Waterline Writers has earned a reputation as the Fox Valley’s premiere 

reading series. The event features several writers 

selected by submission, followed by an Open Mic. Readings are traditionally held in the main art gallery. 

The Republic of Letters NFP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The Republic of Letters NFP

RoL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

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Geneva, Illinois 60134