Charles Simic was appointed America's Poet Laureate for 2007-8. He received the Pulitzer Prize for The World Doesn't End, and has published more than 60 books in the U.S. and abroad. A native of Belgrade, Yugoslavia, he emigrated with his family in 1954 and lived in Oak Park, attending Oak Park-River Forest High School and visiting the Dole Branch Library.
Carol Shields, born and raised in Oak Park, is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Stone Diaries. Her works have won numerous other important awards and nominations. When visiting Oak Park in the 1990s, Carol Shields talked about her childhood and attending storytimes with Mrs. Adele Maze, for whom the Maze Branch Library is named. Learn more about Carol Shields at www.carol-shields.com.
Peter Sagal is host of Wait, Wait . . . Don't tell Me, one of the most popular shows on public radio. He attended Harvard University and has worked as literary manager for a regional theater, movie publicist, stage director, actor, travel writer, staff writer for a motorcycle magazine, and an extra in a Michael Jackson video. Peter Sagal lives in Oak Park with his family. Learn more about Peter Sagal at www.petersagal.com.
Harriette Gillem Robinet is best known for historical fiction in which she portrays African-American children and adults living in pivotal times in U.S. history. Her works have won numerous awards, including the Carl Sandburg Award, the Scott O'Dell Award for children's historical fiction, and the Jane Addams Award. She has lived in Oak Park with her husband and family for more than three decades. Learn more about Harriette Gillem Robinet at www.hgrobinet.com.
Alex Kotlowitz is best known for his first book, There Are No Children Here, which received numerous awards and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the 150 most important books of the century. Between books he contributes to the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and public radio's This American Life. In 2011, he co-directed The Interrupters with fellow Oak Park resident, filmmaker Steve James. Learn more about Alex Kotlowitz at www.alexkotlowitz.com.
An award-winning foreign correspondent, Stephen Kinzer has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him "among the best in foreign policy storytelling." Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times. In the course of covering world events he has been shot at, jailed, beaten by police, teargassed, and bombed from air. Learn more about Stephen Kinzer at www.stephenkinzer.com.
Ernest Hemingway, one of America's greatest writers, was raised in Oak Park. After graduation from Oak Park-River Forest High School, he worked as a reporter for a short time before volunteering as an ambulance driver in World War I. He used his experiences there and as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for some of his work. He won the Nobel Prize in 1954 for The Old Man and the Sea. Learn more about Ernest Hemingway.
Jane Hamilton grew up in Oak Park. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her second novel, A Map of the World, was an international bestseller. Her short stories have appeared in Harper's Magazine. Learn more about Jane Hamilton.