Leon Forrest

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General Information

Name: Leon Richard Forrest

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction, Non-Fiction

Born: 1937 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: November 6, 1997 in Evanston, Illinois

Illinois Connection

Forrest was born in Chicago and grew up on the city's South Side. He went to school at Wendell Phillips, Hyde Park Academy, Wilson Junior College and attended the University of Chicago. He taught African-American studies and English at Northwestern University.

Biographical and Professional Information

Leon Forrest was an African American novelist. His novels concerned mythology, history, and Chicago. Forrest attended Hyde Park High School, Wilson Junior College, Roosevelt University, and the University of Chicago. He served in Germany in the U.S. Army. After his term in the service, Forrest returned to Chicago determined to pursue a career as a writer.

His first novel, There is a Tree More Ancient than Eden, came out in 1973. His third novel Two Wings to Veil My Face won several awards. His fourth book, Divine Days, won the Chicago Sun-Times Book of the Year Award for local fiction. He wrote and edited for several South Side community newspapers, and was a professor of English and African-American studies at Northwestern University for 24 years. He also served as president of the Society of Midland Authors.

His stream-of-consciousness writing concerned the legacy of slavery and earned him a place on Chicago magazine’s Most Important Chicagoans of the 20th Century. April 14, 1985 was declared as - Leon Forrest Day in Chicago by then Chicago Mayor, Harold Washington.

Published Works

  • There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden, Random House, 1973
  • The Bloodworth Orphans, Random House, 1977
  • Two Wings to Veil My Face, Asphodel Press, 1984
  • Divine Days, Another Chicago Press, 1992
  • The Furious Voice for Freedom: Essays, Asphodel Press, 1992 - was reprinted in paperback as Relocations of the Spirit in 1994
  • Meteor in the Madhouse, TriQuarter, 2001

Titles at Your Library

There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden (Phoenix Fiction)

ISBN: 0226257215
Release Date: 2001-11-01

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The Bloodworth Orphans (Phoenix Fiction)

ISBN: 0226257223
Release Date: 2001-12-01

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Two Wings to Veil My Face: A Novel

ISBN: 155921192X
Release Date: 1997-02

Find on World Cat

Divine Days

ISBN: 0393312216
Release Date: 1995-01-17

Find on World Cat

Literary Awards

Two Wings to Veil My Face

  • Society of Midland Authors Award for adult fiction
  • DuSable Museum Certificate of Merit and Achievement in Fiction
  • Carl Sandburg Award
  • Friends of Literature Prize

Divine Days

  • Book of the Year Award for local fiction, Chicago Sun-Times

Other Awards

  • Illinois Author of the Year, Illinois Association of Teachers of English, 1996
  • Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2013

External Links

Leon Forrest on WorldCat


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