Chicago, August 17, 2021 — The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame (CLHOF) announced that its 2021 Class of Inductees will include Frank London Brown, Jeanette Howard Foster, Carlos Cortez, and Gene Wolfe.
The inductees will be honored at a special ceremony at City Lit Theater Sunday, Sept. 19. The program will feature short presentations and performances covering the life and work of each inductee, as well as short speeches from living descendants.
Kathryn Bergquist will serve as emcee for the evening, with Tracy Baim, Carlos Cumpián, Valya Dudycz Lupescu, and Kathleen Rooney giving presentations. Debra Thompson and Therese Wolfe-Goulding will be among the special guests representing the families of the inductees.
The event is free, but is open only to those who've gotten their Covid vaccines or are exempt from doing so. Register through Eventbrite by https://www.eventbrite.com/e/clhof-2019-20-induction-ceremony-tickets-166362172737.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The program will begin at 7 p.m. The City Lit Theater is located on the second floor of the Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago.
"Each inductee contributed enormously to literature at large and Chicago in particular," said Donald G. Evans, Founder and Executive Director of the CLHOF. "Four extraordinary Chicago writers whose work influenced positive changes in the arenas of fair housing, LGBTQ representation in libraries, worker and artist rights, and social justice for Mexican and Black Americans. The writers were admired in their lifetimes for their poetry, science fiction stories and novels, scholarly articles, journalism, realistic fiction, and plays."
Frank London Brown's novels Trumbull Park and The Mythmakers have been praised as seminal works in the canon of fiction based on the African-American experience during the twentieth century. In addition, Brown wrote extensively for periodicals such as Downbeat, Ebony, Negro Digest, and Chicago Review, as well as the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times.
Jeanette Howard Foster was the author of Sex Variant Women in Literature, the first critical study of lesbian literature. Throughout her life she championed LGBTQ literature, particularly in her role as a professor of library science, and through her support of lesbian writers conferences, the first of which was dedicated to her in 1974.
Carlos Cortez "wrote three poetry books, edited a book on Posada and contributed to a number of others. For almost 20 years, he served as board president of Charles Kerr Publishers, one of the oldest working-class publishing houses in the world," according to his obituary published on the International Workers of the World website. He was also a well-known muralist and print maker whose graphic art "inspired so many poets and painters [to explore] how art could incite social change, shed light on poor and disenfranchised populations, celebrate indigenous cultures and promote peace," according to the obituary.
Gene Wolfe, the celebrated author of over 25 novels and more than 50 stories, was honored with the 2012 CLHOF Fuller Award for his outstanding lifetime contribution to literature. At that time Donald G. Evans wrote, "[Wolfe's] induction into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, as well as the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award, were the culmination of 30 years producing world class stories, starting in 1974, when Wolfe captured the Nebula and Locus Awards for his novella The Death of Doctor Island."
This year's CLHOF Induction ceremony will be the organization's eleventh. Last year's event was postponed due to the pandemic.
The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's mission is to honor and preserve Chicago's great literary heritage through its annual awards and many literary events held throughout the year. The CLHOF's Fuller Award was inspired by Henry Blake Fuller (1857-1929), author, editor, poet, critic, and composer, and one of Chicago's earliest novelists.