Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner

Honoring Judy Blume, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Erika L. Sanchez

Judy Blume
Photo Credit: Elena Seibert

Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation are honored to present the 2018 Carl Sandburg Literary Award to beloved best-selling novelist Judy Blume (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret”;

Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Photo Credit: Miller Mobley

“Summer Sisters”; “Fudge”) and astrophysicist and Nova host Neil deGrasse Tyson (“Welcome to the Universe: An Astrophysical Tour”; “Astrophysics for People in a Hurry”) at the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner on Tuesday, October 9, at The UIC Dorin Forum (725 W Roosevelt Road) on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner raises more than $1.5 million annually to support Chicago Public Library Foundation and key learning initiatives for children, adults and families at Chicago Public Library.

Erika Sánchez
Photo Credit: Robyn Lindemann

Poet and novelist Erika Sánchez will receive the 2018 21st Century Award, which honors significant recent achievements in writing by an author with ties to Chicago. Sánchez earned tremendous acclaim for her 2017 poetry collection, “Lessons on Expulsion,” and her young adult novel, “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

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.

This year’s Sandburg Dinner co-chairs are Charles Matthews of Peoples Gas and Foundation Directors Michelle Rindt also with Peoples Gas and Marcus Wedner of CIVC Partners.

Leading the producing team is Foundation Director Donna La Pietra and Bill Kurtis serves as the event host. The evening’s highlight is an intimate onstage conversation between Blume and deGrasse Tyson moderated by author and National Public Radio host Scott Simon.

Past winners of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award are Margaret Atwood, Dave EggersErik 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.

Ticket sales begin at $1,250. Get yours soon!

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million was raised in 2017


people attended the event in 2017


guest authors with ties to Chicago


honorees since 2000