Fabulous Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Benefit on May 1 at Place de la Musique

The first six writers to be inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame will be announced Saturday, May 1, during a special benefit presentation and concert at the magnificent Sanfilippo Estate in Barrington Hills, Illinois.

Sanfilippo EstateThis special evening of words and music, hosted by the Chicago Writers Association, will feature appearances by acclaimed local authors Elizabeth Berg, Joe Meno, Sara Paretsky, Rosellen Brown and Achy Obejas. Marc Kelly Smith, creator and founder of the poetry slam movement, will emcee.

The night will also feature a concert at the Estate’s Music Theater by Jelani Eddington performing on the world’s largest restored theater pipe organ. The original theater organ, a 1927 Wurlitzer from the Omaha Theater, has been expanded and now controls 8,000 pipes, percussions and sound effects.

The Sanfilippo Estate, nicknamed Place de la Musique, is a 44,000-square-foot private residence filled with magnificent collections of beautifully restored antique music machines, chandeliers, art glass, the world’s largest restored theater pipe organ, the most spectacular European salon carousel in existence, street and clock towers, steam engines and other functional mechanical antiques.  The Estate, owned by Jasper Sanfilippo, former CEO of the parent company of Fisher Nut, hosts charities holding fundraisers through the Sanfilippo Foundation. View a picture gallery of the Sanfilippo Estate or watch the WTTW Chicago Tonight video featuring the Sanfilippo Estate.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., at which time guests will be able to tour the Residence and its collections. The announcement ceremony will begin at 7:15, followed by the concert at 8 p.m. No food or drink is permitted inside the Estate. Attire is business casual.

Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are available online now: $55 for CWA members; $65 for non-members. NO TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR. Proceeds will benefit the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, a project of the nonprofit Chicago Writers Association.  Plans are to hold an Academy Awards-style induction ceremony in Chicago later this year.

Directions to the Private Estate will be included with your ticket purchase. The Estate is about 45 minutes from Downtown Chicago.

***For those who decide to attend, let me know if you’re interested in meeting for dinner/drinks before or after the event.***

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Auction

Join the Chicago Writers Association for a special night to benefit the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame!

If you’re free on Thursday, January 7th, join us at Sheffield’s in Chicago for the Deck the Hall Auction and Raffle.

Acclaimed authors Bayo Ojikutu, Marcus Sakey and Don De Grazia will appear as a special guests of honor. Ojikutu’s first novel, 47th STREET BLACK (2003) received both the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Great American Book Award. Sakey’s first three works have all been optioned for film (Ben Affleck’s production company is developing a movie based on Sakey’s first novel, THE BLADE ITSELF, and Tobey Maguire has picked up the rights to his third book, GOOD PEOPLE).  De Grazia’s powerful Chicago epic American Skin has been hailed worldwide as an American classic . 

We’re kicking off our Deck the Hall auction a few days early by putting up some select items up for bid online. Items like professional manuscript evaluations by published authors, 1st edition signed books by Neil Gaiman and Audrey Niffenegger, theatre tickets, vintage fountain pens, your name in a book, a blogging consultation, a DVD set of Oliver Stone films, and books signed by sports and local celebrities.

The online auction opened on New Year’s Day. Check it out:

This is a way to participate in the auction if you’re unable to attend Thursday’s benefit party at Sheffield’s, or to get a jump start on the competition if you are joining the party.  This auction will go live beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Sheffield’s, where we will have more items that will be up for auction exclusively to party attendees.

If you’re planning on attending the party, we encourage you to purchase tickets in advance, as all tickets are $5 more at the door.  Get your tickets here: http://deckthehall.eventbrite.com/

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

"The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s mission is to promote and celebrate Chicago’s rich and proud literature tradition by honoring the authors whose words have best captured the essence of our city."
~The Chicago Hall of Fame Mission

Earlier this year I became involved with plans to create Chicago’s Literary Hall of Fame and help with the induction ceremony in 2010.

The Chicago Hall of Fame project is under the care of the Chicago Writers Association, and is the brainchild of Chicago writer, Don Evans. Our plans are to showcase some of the amazing literary talent that has sprung up from Chicago.

The initial induction class will consist of writers who have already passed away, but in the upcoming years, the Hall of Fame will be expanded to include living writers.

A 14-person nominating committee generated a list of Chicago writers that included: Jane Addams, Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, Gwendolyn Brooks, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edna Ferber, Ernest Hemingway, and others (Click here for the entire list and their biographies). The list will be narrowed down to six inductees, determined by Stuart Dybek, Rosellen Brown, Bill Savage, Haki R. Madhubuti, and Oachy Obejas. The winners will be announced next year.

I’ll keep you informed about the event.