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Mavis Staples to get special Sandburg Award


A lovely, musical note has been added to the 14th annual Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner this fall. Grammy Awad-winning soul, rhythm and blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples will be the repient of the inaugural Carl Sandburg Award in the Arts from the Chicago Public Library and its foundation.

The choice was clearly a very natural one as, like Staples, Sandburg himself also was a civil rights activist, who also was an accomplished singer.

The awards dinner will be held at the UIC Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 22.

Previously announced, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and author Larry McMurtry will be honored with the Sandburg Awards for career achievement in literature; and Chicago author Veronica Roth, who penned the “Divergent” bestsellers, will be given the 21st Century Award for encouraging new talent.

In a statement, dinner producer and Library Foundation Board member Donna LaPietra said, “Carl Sandburg is remembered not only as a poet and write, he was one of the United States’ first folk singers, who would perform song at his lectures and poetry recitals. He also was an early and powerful advocate for civil rights during his era. We could think of no one more perfect to receive the first Carl Sandburg Award in the Arts than the incomparable Mavis Staples.”