Two celebrated writers with University of Chicago ties were inducted into the inaugural class of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 20. Professor Emeritus Saul Bellow, X’39, and Studs Terkel AB’32, JD’34, were honored alongside Nelson Algren, Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, and Richard Wright.
The Chicago Writers Association sponsored the induction ceremony, which featured appearances by Sara Paretsky, AM’69, MBA’77, PhD’77, Stuart Dybek, and Audrey Niffenegger. Saul Bellow’s son Gregory, AB’66, AM’68, accepted his father’s award.
Novelist Donald Evans helped organize the Hall of Fame. Its aim is to “promote and celebrate Chicago’s rich and proud literature tradition by honoring the authors whose words have best captured the essence of our city.”
“There's not really that much to honor the great writers,” Evans told the Chicago Sun–Times in April of his quest to form the Hall of Fame. “I think our city ranks with…cities like New York and Boston and San Francisco. Our heritage is as great."
Bellow and Terkel were chosen from a pool of 27 nominees for induction into the Hall of Fame.
Bellow, who taught in the Committee on Social Thought from 1962 to 1993, is widely considered one of the most influential novelists of his generation. The author of more than a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Adventures of Augie March and Humboldt’s Gift, Bellow received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1976.
Terkel is best known for his oral histories, including ‘The Good War’: An Oral History of World War II, which received the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. For almost 50 years, he hosted a popular Chicago radio show on WFMT.
The famed Cliff Dwellers’ Club has agreed to house the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame exhibition.