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First Annual Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award to Be Presented to Dawn Turner

Dawn Turner
Dawn Turner
Dawn Turner

Turner will receive the award in a public event at the Newberry Library on July 30.

The Newberry Library and The Pattis Family Foundation announced the winner of the first annual Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award. Dawn Turner, author of Three Girls from Bronzeville, will receive the award, which celebrates works that transform public understanding of Chicago, its history, and its people.

Three Girls from Bronzeville is a bracing memoir that illustrates how race, class, and geography intersect to shape both communities and the individual lives of three women in Chicago,” said Daniel Greene, President and Librarian of the Newberry. “Dawn Turner’s storytelling embodies the spirit of the Pattis Chicago Book Award, which seeks to advance understanding of our city among readers. We are very pleased to recognize her insightful and deeply moving book.”

“It is enormously gratifying and humbling to be given a book award from The Pattis Family Foundation and the Newberry Library, two esteemed Chicago institutions that celebrate the value of storytelling and its power to illuminate, inspire, and change lives,” said Dawn Turner. “I am so deeply honored, and overwhelmed with gratitude to be the inaugural recipient of such a prestigious prize.”

The Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award is open to writers working in a variety of genres, including history, biography, social sciences, poetry, drama, graphic novels, and fiction. This year, 47 nominations were considered by Newberry staff members Daniel Greene (President), Laura McEnaney (Vice President for Research and Academic Programs), and Liesl Olson (Director of Chicago Studies) as well as writer and photographer Lee Bey and novelist and artist Audrey Niffenegger.

In addition to awarding Dawn Turner the $25,000 prize, the panel also recognized a group of shortlist award recipients. Each will receive an award of $2,500:

Elly Fishman, Refugee High: Coming of Age in America (The New Press).

Tim Samuelson, Louis Sullivan’s Idea (Alphawood Foundation; distributed by University of Minnesota Press). Edited and designed by Chris Ware, who will share the award with Samuelson.

William Sites, Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City (University of Chicago Press).

Carl Smith, Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City (Atlantic Monthly Press).

The presentation of the 2022 Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award will take place at a free, public event at the Newberry on July 30, when Dawn Turner will receive the award and take part in a conversation about Three Girls from Bronzeville. The event will coincide with the 2022 Newberry Book Fair.

Mark and Lisa Pattis of The Pattis Family Foundation commented: “As lifelong Chicagoans and book people, we are delighted to support the Newberry Library as it recognizes and spotlights recently published books that explore the complexity, diversity, and dynamism of this vibrant city we call home.

“We congratulate Dawn Turner for Three Girls from Bronzeville and are grateful for the compelling and page-turning opportunity it affords readers to more deeply appreciate Chicago’s unique challenges and opportunities.  We would like to extend our appreciation to the leadership at the Newberry Library and the entire award committee for the deliberate and conscientious manner in which they selected this inaugural list of outstanding titles.”

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