First Annual Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award to Be Presented to Dawn Turner for Three Girls from Bronzeville

Turner will receive the award in a public event at the Newberry Library on July 30

CHICAGO, May 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Newberry Library and The Pattis Family Foundation are pleased to announce the winner of the first annual Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award. Dawn Turner, author of Three Girls from Bronzeville, will receive the award, which celebrates works that transform public understanding of Chicago, its history, and its people. 

"Three Girls from Bronzeville is a bracing memoir that illustrates how race, class, and geography intersect to shape both communities and the individual lives of three women in Chicago," said Daniel Greene, President and Librarian of the Newberry. "Dawn Turner’s storytelling embodies the spirit of the Pattis Chicago Book Award, which seeks to advance understanding of our city among readers. We are very pleased to recognize her insightful and deeply moving book."

"It is enormously gratifying and humbling to be given a book award from The Pattis Family Foundation and the Newberry Library, two esteemed Chicago institutions that celebrate the value of storytelling and its power to illuminate, inspire, and change lives," said Dawn Turner. "I am so deeply honored, and overwhelmed with gratitude to be the inaugural recipient of such a prestigious prize." 

The Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award is open to writers working in a variety of genres, including history, biography, social sciences, poetry, drama, graphic novels, and fiction. This year, 47 nominations were considered by Newberry staff members Daniel Greene (President), Laura McEnaney (Vice President for Research and Academic Programs), and Liesl Olson (Director of Chicago Studies) as well as writer and photographer Lee Bey and novelist and artist Audrey Niffenegger

In addition to awarding Dawn Turner the $25,000 prize, the panel also recognized a group of shortlist award recipients. Each will receive an award of $2,500

Elly Fishman, Refugee High: Coming of Age in America (The New Press).

Tim Samuelson, Louis Sullivan’s Idea (Alphawood Foundation; distributed by University of Minnesota Press). Edited and designed by Chris Ware, who will share the award with Samuelson.

William Sites, Sun Ra’s Chicago: Afrofuturism and the City (University of Chicago Press).

Carl Smith, Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City (Atlantic Monthly Press).

The presentation of the 2022 Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award will take place at a free, public event at the Newberry on July 30, when Dawn Turner will receive the award and take part in a conversation about Three Girls from Bronzeville. The event will coincide with the 2022 Newberry Book Fair.

Mark and Lisa Pattis of The Pattis Family Foundation commented: "As lifelong Chicagoans and book people, we are delighted to support the Newberry Library as it recognizes and spotlights recently published books that explore the complexity, diversity, and dynamism of this vibrant city we call home. We congratulate Dawn Turner for Three Girls from Bronzeville and are grateful for the compelling and page-turning opportunity it affords readers to more deeply appreciate Chicago’s unique challenges and opportunities.  We would like to extend our appreciation to the leadership at the Newberry Library and the entire award committee for the deliberate and conscientious manner in which they selected this inaugural list of outstanding titles."

About Three Girls from Bronzeville
From Simon & Schuster: Dawn, Kim, and Debra—third-generation daughters of the Great Migration—come of age in the 1970s, in the warm glow of the recent civil rights movement. It has offered them a promise, albeit nascent and fragile, that they will have more opportunities, rights, and freedoms than any generation of Black Americans in history. Their working-class, striving parents are eager for them to realize this hard-fought potential. But the girls have much more immediate concerns: hiding under the dining room table and eavesdropping on grown folks’ business; collecting secret treasures; and daydreaming about their futures—Dawn and Debra, doctors, Kim a teacher. 

For a brief, wondrous moment the girls are all giggles and dreams and promises of "friends forever." And then fate intervenes, first slowly and then dramatically, sending them careening in wildly different directions. There’s heartbreak, loss, displacement, and even murder. Dawn struggles to make sense of the shocking turns that consume her sister and her best friend, all the while asking herself a simple but profound question: Why?

About the Newberry Library
The Newberry Library—free and open to the public—fosters a deeper understanding of our world by inspiring research and learning in the humanities and encouraging conversations about ideas that matter to diverse audiences. The Newberry’s extensive collection includes maps, city directories, printed histories, newspapers and periodicals, and archival materials documenting business, journalism, publishing, activism, and the arts across Chicago and the Midwest. Every year, thousands of writers, artists, scholars, teachers, and students visit the Newberry, contributing to its diverse community of learning.

About The Pattis Family Foundation
With a history originating from book and magazine publishing, The Pattis Family Foundation actively supports programs that elevate the value of the written word and intellectual inquiry.

In addition, The Pattis Family Foundation supports various health, educational, and cultural initiatives as well as programs that help bridge the opportunity gap for talented students with limited financial resources.

Orly Telisman 
(312) 375-1230

SOURCE The Pattis Family Foundation