Illinois Center for the Book

Illinois Literary Heritage Award

The Illinois Literary Heritage Award was established by the Illinois Center for the Book in 1995, to recognize and acknowledge extraordinary contributions to our literary culture. Initially the award was issued solely to entities that had a connection to Illinois. In order to celebrate all significant aspects of our literary culture, we now welcome nominations of entities that have made a wider contribution to our literary history and heritage.

The Illinois Secretary of State's Office invites individuals, groups and organizations in Illinois to nominate significant literary entities for this award.

Eligible Nominees

Publishers, authors, libraries, special collections, and other entities that have enhanced literary culture through:

The Award

The Nomination Process

  1. Send nomination to Illinois Center for the Book in writing; preferably six months in advance of the community event.
  2. The nomination must include:
    • A brief narrative that addresses the specific and overall significance of the literary entity.
    • Material supporting the significance of the literary contribution of the entity.
    • Detailed information about the accompanying community event.
    • A description of how the presentation of the award fits into the community event.
    • The names, contacts and roles of the key individuals in the nominating and partnering groups for the community event.


YearAward Recipient
2016John Donvan and Caren Zucker for their lifetime of remarkable journalistic achievements and their 7 year collaboration on writing New York Times bestseller – In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, a groundbreaking and deeply moving scientific and social history of autism.
2015John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell for their collaboration on the acclaimed graphic-memoir trilogy, March. March is a riveting portrait of the life of Congressman and civil rights icon, John Lewis, and his experiences during the American civil rights movement of the 1960's.
2008Ray Bradbury, Illinois author, poet, novelist and writer of television series, short stories, screenplays and radio drama.
2006Louis "Studs Terkel", Illinois author, historian, radio and television broadcast personality.
2000Diana Haskell, Lloyd Lewis Curator of the Midwest Manuscripts at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
1999Carus Publishing Company, Peru, Illinois for publishing numerous exceptional magazines for children.
1998Cyrus Colter, Illinois author and educator.
1997University of Illinois Press, Champaign, Illinois for the Prairie State Book Project.
1996Angela Jackson, Illinois author, poet and playwright.
1995John Knoepfle, Illinois poet and essayist.