Chicago Literary Hall of Fame to honor UIC’s Luis Alberto Urrea

Chicago Literary Hall of Fame event

The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame will present its Fuller Award to University of Illinois Chicago professor and writer Luis Alberto Urrea for his lifetime achievements and contribution to literature.

Urrea will become the 11th Chicago author to receive the prestigious honor during a ceremony scheduled to take place Oct. 28, from 6-7:30 p.m., at the National Museum of Mexican Art.   

Urrea, professor of English and distinguished professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC, is a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for his nonfiction work “The Devil’s Highway.” Some of his other critically acclaimed and best-selling books include “The House of Broken Angels,” “The Hummingbird’s Daughter,” “Into the Beautiful North,” and “Queen of America,” as well as the story collection “The Water Museum,” a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist. Urrea, a member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, is the recipient of numerous awards for his poetry, nonfiction, fiction and essays such as a Lannan Literary Award, an Edgar Award, and a 2017 American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.

Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, he is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.” 

Since arriving at UIC in 1999, he has taught creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry workshops for graduate and undergraduate students.

The Fuller Award recognizes writers with strong Chicago connections and is named after the late Henry Blake Fuller, who was an author, editor, poet, critic, and composer; one of Chicago’s earliest novelists; and the author of “The Cliff-Dwellers” (1893) and “With the Procession” (1891). Past recipients are Gene Wolfe, Harry Mark Petrakis, Haki Madhubuti, Rosellen Brown, Stuart Dybek, Angela Jackson, Sara Paretsky, Sterling Plumpp, Sandra Cisneros and Reginald Gibbons. 

During the event, writers Sara Paretsky, Daniel Borzutsky and Dave Eggers will offer tributes; actress Laura Crotte will perform a dramatic reading; and poet and director Coya Paz will lead a conversation with Urrea. Nick Najera, an award-winning writer, actor and producer, will emcee the ceremony, which will be livestreamed via Zoom.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration, which is required for both in-person and virtual guests, is open and available online.  

In-person attendees must show proof of vaccination to gain entry and wear a mask while inside the museum.

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