The Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Public Library Foundation hosted the 13th annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards dinner at the UIC Forum on Oct. 17. Emcee Bill Kurtis introduced more than 65 noted authors, all with ties to Chicago, to the crowd of 700. The evening's author presentation, which was produced by Donna LaPietra, included Scott Turow, Sara Paretsky, Gillian Flynn, Joe Brown, Paul Virant, Alpana Singh, Victor Skrebneski, Bernard Sahlins, Walter Jacobson, Bonnie Koloc, Neil Steinberg and Jim Karas, along with the Tribune's Mary Schmich and Rick Kogan.
"The Sandburg dinner is legendary among urban libraries," said Brian Bannon, public library commissioner.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed attendees, and Robert Wislow, foundation board chairman, announced that "60,000 kids between the ages of 3 to 14 years of age participated in Rahm's Readers program, reporting on 1.5 million books."
Rhona Frazin, foundation president and CEO, awarded Nami Mun ("Miles From Nowhere") with the 21st Century Award. Mun, a South Korean native and associate professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago, said, "I went from being a homeless teenager to being an author. Libraries provide health and genuine wealth for communities. You have made someone like me possible."
National Public Radio host Scott Simon conducted a question-and-answer session with playwright/novelist Don DeLillo ("Cosmopolis," "Underworld"), who was honored with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Fiction, and biographer Walter Isaacson ("Steve Jobs, Einstein: His Life and Universe"), who won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award for Nonfiction.
Presented by BMO Harris Bank and co-chaired by Trisha Rooney Alden and Michael Sacks, the event raised more than $1.5 million to support programs at the 80 library branches including One Book, One Chicago. The evening ended with a dessert buffet and book signing.
Freelance writer Candace Jordan is involved with many local organizations, including some whose events she covers
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