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 panning 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.
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, and 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.