On October 12, the Library Foundation brings together Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright Tony Kushner, Top Chef Rick Bayless, and TikTok sensation Shermann “Dilla” Thomas to celebrate bold storytelling—from our tables to TikToks to theaters—and the powerful ways stories can nourish, connect, and inspire us to act.
Legendary newscaster Bill Kurtis will emcee, and the evening’s centerpiece will be a conversation between Sandburg Literary Award honoree Tony Kushner and Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.
The evening will be filmed and released in a specially produced free public broadcast available October 19, making the exceptional content this event is known for accessible to anyone, anywhere.
Read on for more information on our honorees and how you can support access to free lifelong learning opportunities for all at Chicago Public Library.
The Chicago Public Library Foundation will be adhering to governmental COVID-19 protocols. Please visit the website closer to October 12 for up-to-date recommendations and requirements prior to attendance.
Meet the Honorees
Carl Sandburg Literary Award
Critically acclaimed writer Tony Kushner is best known for his two-part epic Angels in America and his work on films including Munich and Lincoln.
Rick Bayless is an American chef and restaurateur who specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine with modern interpretations.
21st Century Award
TikTok historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas is a fascinating blend of modern historian and cultural worker.
The Chicago Public Library Foundation Awards raise critical funds that empower Chicagoans year-round. Since 2000, there have been:
years of celebration
raised for Library programs
number of Library lovers who have participated
Mayor Lori Lightfoot & First Lady Amy Eshleman
Governor JB Pritzker & First Lady MK Pritzker
Francia E. Harrington
- Wendy A. Berger
- Michelle L. Collins
- Conagra Brands
- Crossland Literacy
- Elizabeth & Mark Donnelly
- Terrance L. Diamond
- Jennifer Friedes & Steven C. Florsheim
- Bette Cerf Hill and Bruce Sagan
- Jones Day
- KPMG LLP
- Leadership Story Lab
- Kate & Bryan Logan
- PNC Bank
- TAWANI Foundation
- Carol & Larry Levy
- The Segal Family Foundation (Carole & Gordon Segal)
- Christie Hefner
- Kristen Seeger