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2017 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards to be Presented to Margaret Atwood and Dave Eggers at October 11 Sandburg Dinner

Journalist and Author Natalie Moore to Receive 21st Century Award

The Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library today announced that the annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards will be 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 two critically hailed authors will be celebrated at the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, beginning at 6 p.m., at The Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Road) on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In keeping with the event’s tradition, one of 80 celebrated writers with ties to Chicago will be seated at each table, giving each attendee the opportunity to discuss the author’s work and creative process over dinner.
“In the past, we have presented awards in two categories: fiction and non-fiction,” said Dinner Co-Chair Jacqueline Griesdorn. “This year’s authors have written significant works that fall into both categories. It will be fascinating to hear how these gifted authors approach the two styles of writing.”

2017 21st Century Award Recipient: Journalist and author, Natalie Moore
2017 21st Century Award Recipient: Journalist and author, Natalie Moore

Receiving the 21st Century Award for outstanding recent achievement will be Natalie Y. Moore, who has worked at WBEZ since 2007, covering segregation and inequality. She is the 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.
The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner is an annual fundraising dinner produced by the Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library to raise funds to support key learning initiatives in all 80 Chicago Public Library locations. Leading the producing team is Foundation Director Donna La Pietra and Bill Kurtis has serves as the event host. The evening’s highlight is an intimate onstage conversation with the two Sandburg Award-honorees moderated by author and National Public Radio host Scott Simon, discussing the author’s creative process and inspirations. The co-chairs are Jacqueline Griesdorn and Graham C. Grady, a partner at the Taft law firm.
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, was hailed as “the smartest event in Chicago” by Crain’s Chicago Business and attracts nearly 800 members of Chicago’s civic and cultural communities.
Past winners of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award are Erik Larson, Scott Turow, Alice Walker, Stephen Sondheim, 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.
The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner provides funds to support key learning initiatives of Chicago Public Library. Each year, for the past four years, the event has raised more than $1.5 million for innovative services for children, adults and families at the library; in 2016, a record- breaking $1.75 million was raised. The dinner provided major support for the Summer Learning Challenge, One Book, One Chicago, YOUmedia, Teachers in the Library and CyberNavigators. The Foundation is led by Board Chair Bob Wislow of CBRE Chicago and Foundation President
& CEO Rhona Frazin.
“Without the support provided by the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner, Chicago Public Library’s ability to provide some of our most innovative free programming to Chicagoans in all areas of the city would be significantly curtailed,” said Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. “The funds provided by the attendees of the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards dinner leverage City support and provide a wide array of our finest programs, which has earned us recognition as one of the most forward-thinking, effective library systems in the world.”
Sponsorship packages for tables of eight guests and a celebrated author are available at $100,000, $50,000, $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 levels. Individual tickets are $1,000 and $2,500. Reservations are strictly limited. For information or to purchase tickets, tables or sponsorships, visit or contact Samantha Courter at the Chicago Public Library Foundation at (312) 201-9830 x 25 or email
BMO Harris Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner. Lead sponsors include Rolex and Advanced Resources.