Blog - Write This Down
Chicago is not a city that can be crisply explained, neatly categorized, or easily understood.
Yet through our literature we strive to define our place in the world. Our literature speaks to our city’s diversity, character and heart. In our literature can be found all we love and hate, frozen snapshots of our vast terrain over the years, commentary on our ever-changing culture. In our literature can be found who we are and what we do and where we do it. The value and character of our city is not only reflected in but shaped by our great books.
Our mission is to honor and preserve Chicago’s great literary heritage.
We do this through educational programming, awards, exhibits and other special events, particularly our annual induction ceremony. We are also in the process of creating a repository of detailed information about Chicago’s past, present and future literary life, through such projects as the Chicago Literary Map, the Chicago Book of the Day, and the Chicago Literary Calendar.
Board of Directors
Donald G. Evans
Founding Executive Director
Don Evans founded the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame in 2010 as a project of the Chicago Writers Association, where he had been a board member. The CLHOF branched out and became its own nonprofit organization in 2013. As executive director of CLHOF, he conceives and enacts the diverse endeavors of the organization—providing educational programming, mounting literary exhibits and events, collaborating with other literary and arts groups, and most notably, leading the planning and production of CLHOF’s annual induction ceremony.
Complementing his CLHOF duties, Don serves as Chicago editor of the literary magazine
Great Lakes Review
and contributes his expertise to the American Writers Museum and its pop-up exhibits. For the past four years, he has served on the Near South Planning Board committee to select the winner of its annual Harold Washington Literary Award. Don cultivates CLHOF’s many partners through his active membership in an array of organizations, including Chicago Writers Association, Society of Midland Authors, Cliff Dwellers, Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature, and Associated Writers Programs. Don is the author of the novel
Good Money After Bad
and was editor of
Cubbie Blues: 100 Years of Waiting Till Next Year
. He has been listed three times as a
Newcity Lit 50: Who Really Books in Chicago.
Board President and Programming Committee Chair
Richard Reeder is the author of
, a personal memoir that spans five decades of literary life in the city. Born and raised in Chicago and educated in Chicago Public Schools, Richard has been a caseworker, elementary school teacher, employment counselor, research assistant, and executive in government and nonprofit agencies. Today, he teaches literature in the Oakton Community College Emeritus Program and moderates the monthly book club at Cliff Dwellers. He is the founder and moderator of the Chicago Jewish Authors Literary Series and a member of the Chicago Jewish Historical Society and the Rogers Park/West Ridge Historical Society. Richard is proud to have been the moving force behind the renaming of Chicago’s Augusta Boulevard to Saul Bellow Way.
Bob Boone began his teaching career in the 1960s, and over the years has taught English Literature to students of all ages in many locales, including New York City, Germany, Chicago, and the Chicago suburbs. He teaches at Oakton Community College and continues to provide creative writing workshops throughout the city. He is coauthor of three books on creative writing—
Moe’s Café, Joan’s Junk Shop
Write Through Chicago
—along with several textbooks. He is the author of
Inside Job: A Life of Teaching
, a memoir;
, a biography of baseball superstar Hack Wilson; and
, a collection of short stories. Among his most notable achievements as an educator was his founding of Young Chicago Authors in 1991, which today cultivates the creativity of more than 10,000 local teens annually through programs of writing and publication and performance education.
Kenneth Warren is the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, specializing in African American literature and nineteenth and twentieth century American literature and critical theory. Subjects of his work include Henry James, William Dean Howell, Leon Forrest, and Ralph Ellison. Ken is a member of the editorial boards of the Cambridge Series of American Literature, American Literary History, and nonsite.org, as well as a board member of the DuSable Museum of African American History. He is the author of
What Was African American Literature?, So Black and Blue: Ralph Ellison and the Occasion of Criticism
Black and White Strangers: Race and American Literary Realism
. He has also coedited two volumes:
Jim Crow, Literature, and the Legacy of Sutton E. Griggs
(Georgia, 2013) with Tess Chakalakkal; and
Renewing Black Intellectual History: The Ideological and Material Foundations of African American Thought
with Adolph Reed, Jr.
Margot McMahon is an artist, sculptor, and teacher whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally in museums and galleries in Tokyo, Paris, Chicago, New York, Washington, DC, Santa Fe, Cincinnati, Texas, and Connecticut. Among the notable institutions that have collected Margot’s work are the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Chicago History Museum, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and DePaul University. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute, DePaul, and Yale University. Margot is a founding commissioner of Oak Park’s Public Art Advisory Commission and a founding committee member of Ragdale Foundation’s Cornerstone Fund. She is also an Association of Yale Alumni National Delegate, a board member of Yale Club of Chicago and the Chicago chapter of YaleWomen, and co-vice president of Chicago Sculpture International.
Randall Albers, Professor and Chair Emeritus of Fiction Writing at Columbia College Chicago, is Founding Producer of the Story Week Festival of Writers, a recipient of the Columbia College Teaching Excellence Award, and has been a visiting professor at England's Bath Spa University and Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. As chair of Columbia’s Fiction Writing Department for 18 years, he led development of abroad programs in Moscow, Prague, Florence, Bath, and Rome; co-founded the International Creative Research Partnership with Bath Spa University and the University of Technology in Sydney; and fostered innovative interdisciplinary and community-based arts work in Chicago. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many publications, including Prairie Schooner, Chicago Review and TriQuarterly. With Steve May, he authored the lead article in Creative Writing and Education, edited by Graeme Harper, and two chapters from his novel-in-progress, All the World Before Them, have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A Story Workshop® Master Teacher, he has presented at numerous national and international conferences, including AWP, NAWE, NonfictioNow and AAWP. He also serves on the Harold Washington Literary Award Selection Committee and the Ragdale Novel Affair Committee, and has overseen the writing of numerous successful grant proposals for IAC, IHC, Driehaus, and Chicago Community Trust.
Avery Cunningham earned a BA in English from DePaul University, and she is currently a graduate assistant for DePaul’s MA in Writing Publishing program. She’s served as assistant editor for Narrative magazine since 2012 and has edited manuscripts for Memphis' OwlCat Press and Russian author(s) H.L. Oldie. She has been awarded the DePaul University Summer Undergraduate Research Grant for a novel based on Hesiod’s Theogony, which also served as her thesis, and she has presented a paper at the DePaul English Spring Conference. She is a freelance editor residing in Chicago.
Great Chicago Books Club Hits Re-set
Friday, August 25, 2017
The Great Chicago Books Club relaunches with Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent, his debut novel about assistant prosecuting attorney Rusty Sabich’s murder defense.
CLHOF to Launch New Website
Monday, May 01, 2017
Thanks to a generous grant from Illinois Humanities, the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is in the process of building a new website, with an expansive literary map as its centerpiece.
1001 Donors in Chicago
Tuesday, April 25, 2017
The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame just launched a fundraiser in which it seeks a lot of little donations. Money will go to sustain operations and programming for at least another year.
You Can Help!
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The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.