Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Logo
Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Events and News
Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Events and News


At the Typewriter

Ebert Joins Chicago's Finest Authors

When I write, I fall into the zone many writers, painters, musicians, athletes, and craftsmen of all sorts seem to share: In doing something I enjoy and am expert at, deliberate thought falls aside and it is all just THERE. I think of the next word no more than the composer thinks of the next note. from Life Itself


Beloved film critic Roger Ebert will be inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame on Aug. 19 at the American Writers Museum (180 N. Michigan Ave., second floor). Reception begins at 6 p.m., with the ceremony starting at seven. A score of old colleagues and friends will give tribute to Ebert as part of his induction into the CLHOF’s seventh class, including Pamela Sherrod Anderson, Milos Stehlik, Laura Emerick, Bruce Elliott, Steve James, Rashada Dawan, Kevin Pollack, and Richard Roeper. Rick Kogan will emcee the ceremony, and Ebert’s widow, Chaz, will accept the statue. Advance registration required.

A film critic for the Chicago Sun Times from 1967 until his death, Ebert was the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Ebert and Chicago Tribune critic Gene Siskel helped popularize nationally televised film reviewing when they co-hosted the PBS show Sneak Previews, followed by several variously named At the Movies programs.

But above all else, Ebert was a writer. He wrote more books than any TV personality since Steve Allen — 17 in all. Not only collections of reviews, both good and bad, and critiques of great movies, but humorous glossaries and even a novel, Behind the Phantom’s Mask, that was serialized in the Sun-Times. In 2011, his autobiography, Life Itself, won rave reviews. “This is the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written,” Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times.

In 2005, Ebert became the first film critic to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Tom Van Riper of Forbes described him as "the most powerful pundit in America,” and Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times called him "the best known film critic in America."

The Aug. 19 induction ceremony will celebrate and reflect upon Ebert as one of our finest ever Chicago writers. Ebert was selected as part of a class that includes Margaret Ayer Barnes, Fanny Butcher, Eugene Field, Fenton Johnson, and Ring Lardner. Inductees are chosen through a rigorous nomination and selection process in which Chicago’s finest historical authors are considered.

Tickets will be issued through the American Writers Museum website, and limited to the first 100 guests.

Co-sponsored by the American Writers Museum and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame. Contact Don Evans ( for more details.

Margaret Ayer Barnes to Gain Induction to CLHOF

Thursday, October 5, 2017
7-8:15 p.m.

Volumes Bookcafé
1474 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Chicago born and bred, Margaret Ayers Barnes (April 8, 1886 – October 25, 1967) was a novelist, short story writer and playwright. She began her writing career in earnest after a debilitating car accident at…  read more


1001 Donors in Chicago

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
641 W. Lake Street, Suite #200
Chicago, IL 60661

Fundraising Initiative to Sustain CLHOF's Work

The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame has very little money; it’s been this way for eight years. We’ve never received major support, in terms of grants or endowments or big donors. We scrimp and scheme and scrounge. Despite this, we’ve inducted (or are in the process of doing so) 42 CLHOF writers in beautiful, memorable ceremonies that included many living descendants of the inductees, as well as world class presenters that ranged from biographers to star authors to theatre groups to renown actors to gifted singers. We’ve presented four Fuller Awards for lifetime achievements. We’ve administered multiple youth literary contests. We’ve participated in major festivals, from Printer’s Row Lit Fest to AWP’s annual conference to the Carl Sandburg Festival to the Chicago Book Expo to the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature’s annual symposium. We’ve put on programming at bookstores and libraries and art galleries and bars and private clubs. We’ve run a monthly book club featuring Chicago’s greatest books. And so much more.

How we’ve done this all with so little money, I don’t know. But it sure cannot go on.

We need your help.

As the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame enters another full season of programming (see our events calendar), we need funding: to support these events, solidify our administrative capabilities, and build toward a bright future as the primary source of Chicago literature.

Here’s what we’re asking:

Give a minimum of $10—more would be better, sure, but participation is important and ten dollars is nothing to sneeze at. Some donors have set up repeat payments, either monthly or yearly, and that is ideal for us. You can do this by using the Donate button on our website, or sending a check to:

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
641 W. Lake Street, Suite #200
Chicago, IL 60661

The second part is, SAY SOMETHING NICE ABOUT US. Write a very short blurb along with your donation—25 to 50 words. Send that to Founding Executive Director Donald G. Evans.

We will publish the blurbs and blurbers, though, in the name of discretion, not the dollar amounts. A thousand and one is a big number. Ben Hecht, who set out to write a column a day for 1001 days, only made it a little more than halfway to his goal. We want to get all the way to our goal, at which point we’ll be in great shape to keep doing what we’ve been doing, plus build toward an expanded database of Chicago literature and, eventually, our own home. 

Thanks in advance: we need and appreciate whatever you can offer.

Thanks to a generous grant from Illinois Humanities, the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is in the process of building a new website, with an expansive literary map as its centerpiece.

The new…  read more

Great Chicago Books Club Hits Reset

Friday, August 25, 2017

Don Evans' House
618 S. Humphrey Ave., Oak Park

The Great Chicago Books Club relaunches and for our first novel of 2017 we’re going to read Scott Turow’s Presumed Innocent, his debut novel about assistant prosecuting attorney Rusty Sabich’s murder defense. The New…  read more

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
641 W. Lake Street, Suite #200, Chicago, IL 60661
773.414.2603 © 2017 Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame is a federally registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Hannah Jennings Design