Chicago Tribune announces 2015 Literary and Heartland Award Winners

Aug 05, 2015, 10:52 ET from Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO, Aug. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Salman Rushdie, an award-winning British Indian novelist and essayist, has been named the 2015 Chicago Tribune Literary Award winner for his influential, courageous work. In addition, Danielle Allen and Chang-Rae Lee have been named 2015 Heartland Award winners for fiction and non-fiction, respectively. Rushdie, Allen and Lee will be presented with their awards on November 7, 2015 at the 25th annual Chicago Humanities Festival, co-presented by the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row program. The Literary and Heartland Prizes recognize lifetime achievement and contribution by authors who have made a significant impact on society.

Author of more than seventeen books, Rushdie is an outspoken defender of free expression and a prophetic writer who works in both allegory and realism to illustrate the tragicomedy that is human life. He is best known for his second novel "Midnight's Children" that was recognized with a Booker Prize in 1981, and his fourth novel "Satanic Verses" based on the life of Muhammad that sparked major controversy and led to protests among Muslims. His newest book "Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights" is scheduled publish in September.

"In the selection of Salman Rushdie for the Chicago Tribune Literary Award, we honor one of the world's most prominent writers, and one who has devoted his life to a principle we hold dear: freedom of speech." said Gerould Kern, Editor and Vice President of the Chicago Tribune.

"Salman Rushdie has distinguished himself internationally with work that has both reflected and influenced the world. Rushdie's legions of readers recognize his extraordinary and original work, and we salute his courage and faith in the power of the printed word."

Past recipients of the Literary Award, first awarded in 2002, include the late Arthur Miller, August Wilson and E.L Doctorow, as well as more recently Margaret Atwood, Elie Wiesel and Patti Smith.

The Chicago Tribune also will present the winners of the 2015 Heartland Prizes for fiction and non-fiction at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Chang-rae Lee will be awarded the Heartland Prize for fiction for his dystopian novel, "On Such a Full Sea." In stylish prose, this is a work of imagination with a profound insight into displacement, assimilation and difference in society. Other noteworthy accomplishments throughout Lee's career include winning a PEN/Hemingway award for his 1995 "Native Speaker" and being named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for "The Surrendered".  Lee is a creative writing professor at Princeton University.

Danielle Allen will be honored with the Heartland Prize for non-fiction "Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in the Defense of Equality", a profound inquiry into the question of American democracy, and the themes of liberty, equality and the power of language itself. A political theorist, she is Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor in the Harvard Department of Government and Graduate School of Education.

"Our Heartland prizes honor books that look to the past, and imagine the future, in ways that brilliantly illuminate the present," said Elizabeth Taylor, Chicago Tribune literary editor at large. "Danielle Allen and Chang-rae Lee are a testament to an abiding faith in language and the transformative power of imagination."

Chicago Tribune established the Heartland Prizes in 1988 to annually recognize one novel and one work of non-fiction that reinforce and perpetuate the values of heartland America. 

The Literary and Heartland Awards, along with the Nelson Algren Short Story Award and Young Adult Literary Prize, are part of the Tribune's Printers Row program, an effort to inspire reading and readers throughout the year through its weekly Printers Row Journal, fiction inserts, monthly author talks and annual Printers Row Lit Fest.

About Chicago Tribune Media Group: 
Chicago Tribune Media Group is a diversified media and marketing solutions company that reaches 4.9 million people each month across all platforms. CTMG's robust portfolio of media solutions includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune, and a collection of niche and digital offerings including RedEye, Hoy, Chicago magazine, Naperville Magazine, The Mash, Blue Sky Innovation,, and As the region's leading voice, CTMG also extends into the suburbs of Chicago through popular titles including TribLocal, The Beacon-News, The Courier-News, Lake County News-Sun, Naperville Sun, Post-Tribune in Northwest Indiana, Daily Southtown, and 32 Pioneer Press weekly newspapers.

About the Chicago Humanities Festival:

For more than 25 years, the Chicago Humanities Festival has celebrated the questions that shape and define us as individuals, communities, and cultures. For the curious at heart, CHF’s vibrant year-round programming and robust Fall Festival offer the opportunity to engage with some of the world’s most brilliant minds. Collaborating with leading arts, cultural, and educational organizations, it presents scholars, artists and architects, thinkers, theologians, and policy makers that change how we see the world, where we’re from, and where we’re going. Under the leadership of Executive Director Phillip Bahar, Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Jonathan Elmer, and Associate Artistic Director Alison Cuddy, CHF is one of Chicago’s most vital presenting organizations.

This year's Fall Festival, Citizens, will take place Oct. 24–Nov. 8 in and around Chicago. The Festival will explore what it truly mean to belong—to be citizens of a neighborhood, a city, a nation, or a world—and examine contemporary citizenship in all its messiness and glory.

For more information and to view the full schedule (available after August 18), visit


SOURCE Chicago Tribune