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Chicago Humanities Festival: Colson Whitehead: 2017 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction

November 11, 2017
Rubloff Auditorium
$10 student and teachers, $15 Chicago Humanities Festival members, $20 per person; Purchase tickets at

Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad tells the story of Cora, who like so many slaves before her, runs toward freedom. In this telling, however, the “underground railroad” is not a metaphor, but an actual subterranean train. Whitehead topped The New York Times bestseller list and won the National Book Award and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for how he brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors of black people before the Civil War, a narrative that weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of today. Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich joins Whitehead in conversation.

A book signing will follow this program.

This program is presented in partnership with the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Humanities Festival. 

*Ticketholders for this event may enter the museum with their event ticket beginning at 2:30. To enter earlier, please purchase a separate museum admission ticket.

Find more Chicago Humanities Festival programs hosted at the Art Institute of Chicago.  

About the Speaker

Colson Whitehead is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Underground Railroad, winner of the 2016 National Book Award, and named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, as well as The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is also a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships. He lives in New York City.

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Colson Whitehead. Photo by Madeline Whitehead.