Colson Whitehead, Rebecca Makkai, Richard Hunt and Bob Wislow Win 2023 Chicago Public Library Foundation Awards

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead will receive the 2023 Carl Sandburg Literary Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalist Rebecca Makkai will receive the 21st Century Award, world-renowned sculptor Richard Hunt will receive the Arts Award and Foundation Chairman Bob Wislow will receive the Civic Award.

Recipients will be honored during the Library Foundation Awards, which will be filmed in front of a live audience on October 24 and available as a free public broadcast on November 1.

Hosted by legendary newscaster Bill Kurtis, the Library Foundation Awards will feature an engaging conversation between Whitehead and National Public Radio host Scott Simon.

Carl Sandburg Literary Award

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.

Colson Whitehead is the author of eight novels and two non-fiction works, including The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, The Colossus of New York, Apex Hides the Hurt, Sag Harbor, Zone One and The Noble Hustle. His novel The Underground Railroad was an international and #1 New York Times Bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for Fiction and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Science Fiction Literature.

21st Century Award

The 21st Century Award honors significant recent achievement in writing by a Chicago-based author.

Rebecca Makkai’s 2018 novel The Great Believers was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; it was the winner of the ALA Carnegie Medal, the Stonewall Book Award, the Clark Prize and the LA Times Book Prize; and it was one of the New York Times’ Ten Best Books of 2018. Her latest novel, I Have Some Questions for You, is an Indie and New York Times bestseller.

Arts Award

The Arts Award celebrates the power and impact of Chicago’s artistic community.

Born in Chicago in 1935, Richard Hunt was one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century. He has made the largest contribution to public art in the United States. Over 150 public sculpture commissions grace prominent locations in 24 states and Washington, D.C. Hunt has held over 150 solo exhibitions and is represented in more than 100 public museums across the globe, from California to Maine, Detroit to Birmingham and Vienna to Jerusalem.

Civic Award

The Civic Award celebrates the leaders whose work significantly contributes to the strength and vitality of our great city.

A native Chicagoan, Wislow is known by friends and associates as a longtime dedicated steward for civic engagement in Chicago, an avid arts supporter, as well as a dedicated heli-skier, road biker and fly fisherman. Wislow is the recipient of multiple career awards, including the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2004 Friends of the Park Award, the 2011 NAIOP Chicago Award for Excellence, the 2014 DePaul University Outstanding Leadership in the Real Estate Profession Award, the 2016 Chicago Architecture Foundation Legacy Award, the 2016 Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Roper Award, The AJC Civic Leadership Award, the 2020 Chicago Commercial Real Estate Legend Award and the 2021 Grant Park Music Festival Advocate for the Arts Awards.