Nelson Algren was an American author whose 1949 novel, “The Man with the Golden Arm,” won the National Book Award for Fiction and was later made into a movie. His short stories have earned three O’Henry Awards. Raised on the South Side of Chicago, his work articulates the world of “drunks, pimps, prostitutes, freaks, drug addicts, prize fighters, corrupt politicians, and hoodlums.” His scathing essay “Chicago, City on the Make” drew praise from Ernest Hemingway, attention from J. Edgar Hoover, and was banned from the Chicago Public Library. He was inducted into the Academy of Arts and Letters shortly before his death in 1981. Algren was a court reporter for The Daily Illini.
This bio was written at the time of Nelson Algren’s inauguration into the 2022 Illini Media Hall of Fame.