Natalie Moore Honored At Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner

Natalie authored a well received book about Chicago's South Side.

Journalist and National Public Radio correspondent Natalie Moore will be honored at one of the nation’s most prestigious literary functions next week.

Moore will receive the 21st Century Award at the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner on Wednesday, October 11, beginning at 6 p.m., at The Forum, 725 West Roosevelt Road, on the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The event is an annual fundraising dinner produced by the Chicago Public Library Foundation and Chicago Public Library to raise funds to support key learning initiatives in all 80 Chicago Public Library locations.

Each year, for the past four years, the event has raised more than $1.5 million for innovative services for children, adults and families at the library; in 2016, a record-breaking $1.8 million was raised.

The annual celebration, which is one of the highlights of Chicago’s social calendar, has been hailed as “the smartest event in Chicago” by Crain’s Chicago Business and attracts nearly 800 members of Chicago’s civic and cultural communities.

In the event’s tradition, a celebrated writer or artist with ties to Chicago is seated at each table, giving each attendee the opportunity to discuss the author’s work and creative process over dinner.

At the event, noted authors receive the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, celebrating a writer’s collective body of work. Many of the world’s most important authors have been recognized with the honor, which is regarded as one of the nation’s most prestigious literary prizes.

Margaret Atwood and Dave Eggers will receive the Carl Sandburg Literary Award.

This year’s Carl Sandburg Literary Awards will be presented to best-selling authors Margaret Atwood (“The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Blind Assassin,” “Hag-Seed,” and “MaddAddam” trilogy), and Dave Eggers (“A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius,” “Zeitoun,” “A Hologram for the King,” “Heroes of the Frontier,” and “The Circle”).

Past winners of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award are Erik Larson, Scott Turow, Alice Walker, Stephen Sondheim, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Mavis Staples, Larry McMurtry, Michael Lewis, Isabel Allende, Don DeLillo, Walter Isaacson, Roger Ebert, Toni Morrison, David McCullough, Robert Caro, Joyce Carol Oates, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, David Mamet, Nikki Giovanni, Tom Wolfe and Salman Rushdie.

“More than 70 authors with ties to Chicago will be present at the dinner.”

Receiving the 21st Century Award for outstanding recent achievement will be Natalie Moore, who has worked at WBEZ since 2007, covering segregation and inequality. Her enterprise reporting has tackled race, economic development, food injustice and violence. Moore’s work has been broadcast on the BBC, Marketplace and NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.

She is the author of several books, including “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation,” which won the 2016 Chicago Review of Books award for nonfiction and was named a Buzzfeed best nonfiction book of 2016.

Moore is also the author of “The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of an American Gang” and “Deconstructing Tyrone: A New Look at Black Masculinity in the Hip-Hop Generation.”

Moore writes a monthly column for the Chicago Sun-Times, and has been published in Essence, Ebony, the Chicago Reporter, Bitch, In These Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post and the Guardian. She is a 2010 recipient of the Studs Terkel Community Media Award for reporting on Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.

Natalie authored a well received book about Chicago’s South Side.

Moore explained to N’DIGO recently her interest in journalism. “When I was growing up in Chicago, I felt as a child that the news media didn’t do a good job of covering Black communities,” she said. “The coverage skewed to mostly narratives of violence. I liked to read and I liked to write. I thought journalism was a good path to bring about change.”

Now that she’s a veteran in the field, she says of today’s press, “Some of what I felt as a child hasn’t changed. But there are also many more news outlets, which gives people choice. Journalism is also under attack by some national elected officials. ‘Fake news’ is bandied about without any real critical thinking.”

Moore’s new book gives a modern-day, comprehensive view of the Chicago’s South Side. She says of it that, “I want people to know the history of housing in Chicago and the region. I want them to know that segregation and self-selection are two very different things. The past informs our present. Redlining may be over, but we still see segregationist policies in practice.”

More than 70 authors with ties to Chicago will be present at the dinner, including N’DIGO Publisher Hermene Hartman and N’DIGO Editor David Smallwood, who will pre-debut their new book, N’DIGO Legacy: Black Luxe – 110 African-American Icons Of Contemporary History.

Also at the Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner will be Pulitzer Prize winners Margo Jefferson, Blair Kamin and Bryan Gruley; best-selling novelists Elizabeth Berg (“Open House”) and Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”); National Book Award winners Larry Heinemann (“Paco’s Story”) and world affairs expert Evan Osnos (“Age of Ambition”); rock star photographer Paul Natkin; “House of Cards” screenwriter and Lookingglass Ensemble member Laura Eason; celebrity chef Fabio Viviani (Bravo’s “Top Chef”) Field Museum curator Lance Grande; poet Elise Paschen; rock critic and “Sound Opinions” co-host Greg Kot; Michelle Obama biographer Peter Slevin; and Chicago Public Library Director of Children’s Services Elizabeth McChesney and Museum of Science and Industry’s Director of Community Initiatives Bryan Wunar (co-authors of “Summer Matters.”).

This year’s list of authors includes six past recipients of the 21st Century Award: Jeffery Renard Allen, Blue Balliett, Elizabeth Crane, Eric Charles May, Nami Mun and Christine Sneed, and two One Book, One Chicago authors: Stuart Dybek and Thomas Dyja.

Other confirmed authors include ghostlore and paranormal writer Ursula Bielski, mathematician Eugenia Cheng, journalist and playwright John Conroy, Louder than a Bomb founder Kevin Coval, India expert and critic Victoria Lautman, harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy, business writer Suzanne Penn, legal experts Eric Posner and Geoffrey Stone, novelist Kathleen Rooney and many more.

BMO Harris Bank is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2017 Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner. Lead sponsors include Rolex, Zell Family Foundation and Advanced Resources.

Individual tickets are $1,000 and $2,500 and reservations are strictly limited. For information or to purchase tickets or tables, visit or contact Samantha Courter at the Chicago Public Library Foundation at 312/201-9830 x 25 or email

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