Meet our 2024 Library Foundation Award honorees.

Alice Walker Withdraws from May 25 Chicago Appearance for Personal Reasons

Esteemed Author to be Honored with Carl Sandburg Literary Award

Due to personal reasons, Alice Walker will not be able to visit Chicago on May 25 for an appearance at the Harold Washington Library Center. Walker is being honored with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award. The event at which she was to be honored has been canceled.

Later in the year, the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Chicago Public Library will also present Sandburg Awards to best-selling authors Erik Larson (“Devil in the White City,” “Dead Wake”) for non-fiction and Scott Turow (”Presumed Innocent,” “Identical”) for fiction on Wednesday, October 26. The two authors will be celebrated at the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner, a fundraising event for the Chicago Public Library and Chicago Public Library Foundation at The Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Road) on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The 21st Century Award, presented to a Chicago-based emerging author, will be presented to short story writer Amina Gautier (“At Risk,” “The Loss of All Lost Things.”)

The celebratory dinner, co-chaired by David Casper and Wendy Berger, features an author with ties to Chicago at every table and culminates in an intimate onstage conversation with the two Sandburg Award-honorees moderated by author and National Public Radio host Scott Simon.

Sponsorship packages for the October 26 event, with includes a table of eight guests and a celebrated author, are available at $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 Ashlee Estabrook at the Chicago Public Library Foundation at (312) 201-9830 x 25 or

The Chicago Public Library Foundation was founded in 1986 as a true public/private partnership with the City of Chicago to ensure the margin of excellence for Chicago’s outstanding Library. Through the support of many civic-minded individuals, corporations and foundations, the Foundation provides on-going funding innovative programs and collections that inspire curiosity, including the Summer Learning Challenge, Teacher in the Library,CyberNavigators, YOUmedia and One Book, One Chicago. In the past 30 years, the Foundation has provided nearly $80 million in support to the Chicago Public Library.

Chicago Public Library, established in 1872, is one of the nation’s premier library systems. The Library serves Chicagoans from its 80 welcoming neighborhood locations, providing rich collections of books, innovative programs and services, and access to state-of-the-art technology. The library welcomes 12 million visitors per year.