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Nelson Algren

March 28, 1909 – May 9, 1981

Inducted in 2010


Somebody in Boots (1935)

Never Come Morning (1942)

The Neon Wilderness (1947)

The Man with the Golden Arm (1949)

Chicago: City on the Make (1951)

A Walk on the Wild Side (1956)

Nelson Algren's Own Book of Lonesome Monsters (1962)

Who Lost an American? (1963)

Conversations with Nelson Algren (1964)

Notes from a Sea Diary: Hemingway All the Way (1965)

The Last Carousel (1973)

The Devil's Stocking (1983)

America Eats (1992)

He Swung and He Missed (1993)

The Texas Stories of Nelson Algren (1994)

Nonconformity (1996)

Notes From a Sea Diary & Who Lost an American (2009)

Loving Chicago is like loving a woman
with a broken nose.

Algren won the first National Book Award in 1950 for The Man with the Golden Arm, a novel set on Chicago’s Northwest Side and, like much of his work, concerned with the city’s quasi-criminal underbelly. Algren lived much of his life in and around Chicago’s Polish Triangle and was remembered there with a fountain dedicated in his name and inscribed with a quote from one of his essays in Chicago: City on the Make. Though Algren’s reputation is built around a small output of novels, stories and essays, and though he was often ignored in mainstream literary circles, he was elected to the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters. There is an annual short story contest named in Algren’s memory, and the Nelson Algren committee sponsors an annual birthday party for him.

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