Tuesday, July 11, 2023
1543 W. Division Street
Chicago, IL 60642
The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s 14th class officially joined the canon of our city’s all-time literary greats at an induction ceremony and reception hosted by the stupendous Chopin Theatre. Nella Larsen, Bette Howland, and Finley Peter Dunne were honored and celebrated for their important literary contributions to Chicago and beyond. Larsen, born in the Levee District in 1868, published just two novels in her lifetime, but regard for her work has only increased over the decades. A librarian and active part of Harlem’s interracial arts scene, Larsen received critical acclaim for both novels, in particular the bold, important Quicksand (1928), an exploration of cross-cultural and interracial themes set partly in Chicago. A MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Howland’s relatively small output, like Larsen’s, made a vital, lasting impact, as her reputation only increased over time. Her debut effort, the memoir W-3 (1974), details her experiences as a patient in a Chicago hospital's psychiatric wing. Dunne, a celebrated Chicago newspaper columnist, won over legions of fans with his creation Martin Dooley, a South Side, Irish saloonkeeper who espouses wisdom and wit on any variety of current events and socially significant themes. Eight volumes of Dunne’s Dooley sketches were reprinted in book form.
Emcee J-L Deher-Lesaint led a speaking lineup that included Brad Armacost, Martha Bayne, Chaz Ebert, Mike Houlihan, Jennifer Smith, James R. Sullivan, and Rachel Swearingen as well as Howland’s sons Jacob and Frank Howland.
2022 Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Inductees: Finley Peter Dunne, Bette Howland, and Nella Larsen