The Newberry recognized author Toya Wolfe as the 2023 winner of the Pattis Family Foundation Chicago Book Award on Saturday, July 15. Wolfe wrote Last Summer on State Street, a novel the New York Times Book Review called “Tragic, hopeful, brimming with love.” The award honors books that transform public understanding of Chicago, its history, and its people. Last Summer on State Street features the story of four preteen girls as they navigate their friendship with the Robert Taylor Homes as the backdrop. “Applause to [Toya] for a wonderful book which does exactly what we hoped this award would do,” said Lisa Pattis of the Pattis Family Foundation. “It immerses us in Chicago’s story, and we emerge with a better understanding of our city.”
The award presentation took place as part of the Newberry’s Chicago Storytelling in Bughouse Square 2023: Chicago Forward, an afternoon of storytelling, music, and entertainment. The event was emceed by legendary journalist Rick Kogan.
Watch a clip of Toya discussing character development for Last Summer on State Street with the Newberry's Interim President and Librarian, Gail Kern Paster: