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Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Events
Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Events


Induction Ceremony: Nella Larsen, Bette Howland, Finley Peter Dunne

Tuesday, July 11, 2023
6-8 p.m.

Chopin Theatre
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.

View the 2022 Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Program

2022 Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Inductees: Finley Peter Dunne, Bette Howland, and Nella Larsen

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Hard rain fell outside the Chopin Theatre a few hours before the induction ceremony last Tuesday, July 12. But the show went on. (Photo by Don Seeley).
The beautiful, atmospheric Chopin Theatre, always meticulously curated, awaits the program. (Photo by Don Seeley).
A talented lineup of writers, scholars, actors, and family were scheduled to do their parts. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Chopin co-owner Lela Dyrkacz welcomes the audience. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Master of Ceremonies J-L Deher-Lesaint prepares the audience for an entertaining and enlightening evening. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Writer and actor Mike Houlihan talks about inductee Finley Peter Dunne's life and work. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Associate Board Member Anna Hyslop introduces a Dunne column she adapted for a short staged reading. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Chicago theatre legends Brad Armacost and J.R. Sullivan bring to life Dunne's column about Sherlock Holmes. (Photo by Don Seeley).
North Central College Associate Professor of English Jennifer Smith underscores the importance of Nella Larsen's literary contributions and her connection to Chicago. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Chaz Ebert reads a moving passage from Larsen's novel Passing. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Editor and journalist Martha Bayne expounds about Bette Howland's profound and beautiful literary output. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Author Rachel Swearingen reads an excerpt from Howland's story collection Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Jacob and Frank Howland, the sons of Bette, give the audience insight into their mother's life. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Despite the ongoing terrible Chicago weather, a decent-sized audience turned out to support the new inductees. (Photo by Don Seeley).
A lively reception, with food provided by Vicente Morales of Best Catering, Inc., followed the program. (Photo by Don Seeley).
Chaz Ebert poses with Chopin Theatre co-owner Zygmunt Dyrkacz. (Photo by Don Seeley).

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