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On the Books

NPR's Scott Simon returns to host the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner Oct. 21.

NPR’s Scott Simon will once again host the discussions at the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner Oct. 21.

When asked what keeps Scott Simon—award-winning broadcaster, author and host of NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday—coming back to the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards Dinner, the answer is simple: “Well, Chicago.” But it is more than just an opportunity to visit his beloved hometown. “[The awards dinner] is a chance to renew our sense of being Chicago authors,” Simon says. “Even for those of us who wind up living elsewhere, that stamp of Chicago is something that we bear proudly that is with us all of our lives and is important to our work.” This year, Simon—whose latest book, a moving account of his mother’s final days titled Unforgettable ($25, Flatiron Books), came out this spring—will chat with legendary composer Stephen Sondheim and emerging novelist Eric Charles May. Simon anticipates another “notable and fantastic” panel, which is the signature of the event. “Sondheim is a man of the theater and has fascinating stories,” he notes. “He has had a considerably different kind of experience than a lot of writers.” The evening, which raises funds for the Chicago Public Library Foundation, also aims to shape the experiences of budding readers and writers. Simon says, “It is so important to have good, strong libraries where youngsters can go in an atmosphere of peace and open-mindedness to have their minds and souls nourished.” Oct. 21, 6PM, tickets from $1,000, The UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Road, 312.210.9830