H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Between the curved
steel of the El and the
nearest Clark Street hockshop, between the
penny arcade and the shooting gallery,
between the basement ginmill and the
biggest juke in Bronzeville, the
prairie is caught for keeps at last...
City on the Make
fiction is celebrated for its realism and street-smart
lyricism. His sympathetically portrayed characters often are young
urban men who struggle against prejudice.
Part poet and part reporter,
Algren wrote about the American Dream
gone awry. His books include Never Come Morning, A Walk on the Wild
Side, Chicago: City on the Make, and Neon Wilderness. His National
Book Award-winning The Man With the Golden Arm was a realistic
depiction of heroin addiction that was later made into a popular
Algren grew up in a
poor Polish neighborhood on Chicagos South Side.
After studying journalism, he worked a variety of jobs during the
Depression before joining the Federal Writers Project in the late 1930s
and serving in the Army from 1942-45. He traveled throughout the
Southwest before finally settling again in Chicago.
Algren lived on the
third floor here at 1958 West Evergreen Street for
almost two decades. Many of his subjects came from this
neighborhood, and he entertained many prominent writers of the day
in his haunts on Division Street and Damen and Milwaukee Avenues.
His affair with the French writer and intellectual Simone de Beauvoir
was fictionalized in her novel The Mandarins.
Both the international
writers guild PEN and the Chicago Tribune have
fiction contests in Algrens name.