The Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library’s 2017 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards dinner on October 11 was an unprecedented success, bringing together 800 corporate and civic leaders to raise more than $1.9 million to fund the Library Foundation and learning initiatives at Chicago Public Library, such as the Summer Learning Challenge, One Book, One Chicago, YOUmedia, Teacher in the Library, and CyberNavigator computer tutors.
The Sandburg Award was presented to best-selling authors Margaret Atwood (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “MaddAddam” trilogy, “The Blind Assassin”) and Dave Eggers (”A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”, “Zeitoun,” “The Circle.”). The 21st Century Award, presented to a Chicago-based emerging author, was presented to journalist and writer Natalie Y. Moore, author of several books, including “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation,” winner of the 2016 Chicago Review of Books award for nonfiction and a Buzzfeed best nonfiction book of 2016.
Legendary anchorman Bill Kurtis served as emcee while another Chicagoan, NPR host, and author Scott Simon moderated a stimulating conversation with Atwood and Eggers that delighted guests.
One of the highlights of the annual benefit is that each guest have the opportunity to engage in dinner table conversation with an esteemed author with ties to Chicago. This year, guests were seated amidst notable authors including Blue Balliett, Stuart Dybek, Gillian Flynn, Blair Kamin, Scott Kenemore, Greg Kot, Christine Sneed, Scott Turow, as well as personalities who have written books in their respective fields of photography, film and television, poetry, anthropology, scholars, and more. View a list of guest authors here.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors and friends who come out to support the life-changing work taking place at Chicago Public Library. Funds raised at this dinner support many of the most popular services offered at the Library and made possible thanks to our donors,” said Library Foundation President & CEO Rhona Frazin. “We are also grateful to the many authors who join us and help make our event unique.”
View the official photos of the evening here.
The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner is the major fundraising event for the Library Foundation. We extend a heartfelt thank you to our generous corporate, foundation, and individual donors for making this event a huge success: BMO Harris Bank, Rolex, Advanced Resources, CBRE/Susan & Bob Wislow, Zell Family Foundation, Allstate, GCM Grosvenor, GGP, Leslie Hindman, Microsoft, Northern Trust, Peoples Gas, Robinwood Consulting, RRDonnelley, Skadden Arps, United, Wintrust, The Block & Malkin Families, The Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation, Marcy & Gregory Carlin, The Crown Family, Linda & Richard Filler, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Jacqueline Griesdorn & Kevin Matzke, Carlette McMullan & John Gibbons, Pritzker Foundation, Anne & Marcus D. Wedner. A complete list of sponsors and partners is available here.
The event is co-chaired by Library Foundation Board Members Graham Grady, a partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, and Jacqueline Griesdorn; and produced by Library Foundation Board Member, Donna La Pietra.
The Carl Sandburg Literary Award celebrates a writer’s collective body of work. Many of the world’s most important authors have been recognized with the prize, which is regarded as one of the nation’s most prestigious literary prizes. The annual celebration is one of the highlights of Chicago’s social calendar, which has been dubbed “the smartest event in Chicago” by Crain’s Chicago Business.
Past winners of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award are Erik Larsen, Scott Turow, Stephen Sondheim, Alice Walker, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mavis Staples, Larry McMurtry, Michael Lewis, Isabel Allende, Don DeLillo, Walter Isaacson, Roger Ebert, Toni Morrison, David McCullough, Robert Caro, Joyce Carol Oates, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, David Mamet, Nikki Giovanni, Tom Wolfe and Salman Rushdie.