The Newberry Library has awarded Dawn Turner, author of “Three Girls from Bronzeville,” $25,000 as the recipient of the first-ever Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award.
The award aims to highlight works that transform the public’s understanding of Chicago, its history and its people. And the size of the prize matters – by comparison, the National Book Award is $10,000, while the Pulitzer is $15,000.
“Three Girls from Bronzeville” follows Dawn, her sister Kim and friend Debra as they grow up in the 1970s in this South Side Chicago neighborhood, and was published by Simon & Schuster in 2021. Turner was previously a writer for the Chicago Tribune.
“‘Three Daughters of Bronzeville’ is an invigorating memoir that illustrates how race, class, and geography intersect to shape both communities and the individual lives of three Chicago women,” said Daniel Greene, President and Librarian of The Newberry. “Dawn Turner’s narration embodies the spirit of the Pattis Chicago Book Award, which seeks to advance readers’ understanding of our city.”
Turner will receive the award on July 30 as part of the 2022 Newberry Book Fair.
Overall, a panel of Newberry staffers considered 47 Chicago books for the award. The group has also selected four authors who will receive a small prize of $2,500: Elly Fishman, author of “Refugee High: Coming of Age in America”; Tim Samuelson, author of “Louis Sullivan’s Idea”; William Sites, author of “Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City”; and Carl Smith, author of “Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City.”
The prize, which will be awarded annually, was jointly announced Tuesday by Chicago’s Newberry Library and the Pattis Family Foundation of Highland Park, a nonprofit that “supports programs that elevate the value of the written and intellectual research,” according to the announcement. .