Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner

Established in 2000, the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner recognizes the extraordinary literary and artistic achievements of both established and emerging talents, and raises crucial funding toward the full range of the Foundation’s work to support the most innovative and responsive programs and services at Chicago Public Library.

The Carl Sandburg Literary Award is presented annually to an acclaimed author in recognition of outstanding contributions to the literary world and honors a significant work or body of work that has enhanced the public’s awareness of the written word.

Past winners of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award include Judy Blume, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, 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 21st Century Award honors significant recent achievement in writing by a Chicago-based author. In presenting this award, the Foundation’s Directors hope to encourage the creation of new works and increase public awareness of the writer’s talents.

Past winners of the 21st Century Award include Aleksandar Hemon, Jeffery Renard Allen, Rich Cohen, Elizabeth Crane, Audrey Niffenegger, Tracy Letts, Blue Balliett, Sara Gruen, Theresa Schwegel, Patrick Somerville, Eula Biss, Rebecca Skloot, Nami Mun, Christine Sneed, Veronica Roth, Eric Charles May, Amina Gautier, Natalie Y. Moore, Erika L. Sanchez.

2019 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner Photos

2018 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner


million raised in 2019


guests in 2019


guest authors with ties to Chicago


honorees since 2000