Award-winning author Scott Turow will be the featured speaker at the Freedom to Read Foundation’s (FTRF) 40th anniversary gala celebration, Sunday, July 12, at the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. The event, which will honor FTRF’s visionary founder and executive director Judith Krug and the educational work of Chicago’s McCormick Freedom Museum, will feature a dinner and a gala celebration that will include a gallery viewing of the Renzo Piano-designed museum space. The event is being held in conjunction with the American Library Association’s annual conference and will also feature a special address by legendary author Judy Blume.
Turow is the author of seven best-selling novels, including “Presumed Innocent,” “The Burden of Proof” and “Personal Injuries.” His non-fiction works include “One L,” about his experiences as a first-year law student (a text that is still being used in law schools), and “Ultimate Punishment,” a reflection on the death penalty that garnered Turow the 2004 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He continues to practice as an attorney and as a partner in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, a national law firm that has litigated numerous First Amendment cases.
Blume, whose children’s and young adult books are among the most frequently challenged and banned books in the country, is the author of “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Blubber,” “Forever” and many other timeless works.
“We are delighted to have Scott Turow participate in this celebration of the Freedom To Read Foundation’s four decades of critical First Amendment work,” said Freedom to Read Foundation president Judith Platt. “As a lawyer and an author, Mr. Turow has a particularly keen appreciation for the dangers of censorship and the value of free expression that are at the heart of the Foundation’s work. We welcome Judy Blume with equal excitement. Her books, which continue to touch and enlighten young people, and her passionate defense of their right to read, have made Judy Blume a true hero for everyone who cares about intellectual freedom.”
Krug, who also has served as director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom since its founding in 1967, will be honored additionally at the gala with the William J. Brennan Award of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. The Brennan Award recognizes a person or group who has demonstrated a commitment to the principles of free expression consistent with the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice’s abiding devotion. In 2005, Krug received an honorary doctorate, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The 40th Anniversary Gala is co-chaired by FTRF trustees Robert P. Doyle and Burton Joseph, both of Chicago. Tickets are $125 and are on sale by calling (800) 545-2433, ext. 4226. Tickets also can be purchased via ALA’s annual conference registration website.
The Freedom to Read Foundation, a sister organization of the American Library Association, was founded in 1969 to promote and defend the right of individuals to freely express ideas and to access information in libraries and elsewhere. FTRF fulfills its mission through the disbursement of grants to individuals and groups, primarily for the purpose of aiding them in litigation, and through direct participation in litigation dealing with freedom of speech and of the press. Its litigation history includes landmark cases that have kept books on library and school shelves; lawsuits challenging portions of the Patriot Act; and the successful Supreme Court challenge to parts of the Communications Decency Act.
The McCormick Freedom Museum inspires generations to better understand, value and protect freedom. Through interactive exploration, visitors gain a greater understanding of the struggle for freedom in the United States and the role the First Amendment plays in society.
More information on the gala and the Freedom to Read Foundation can be found at www.ftrf.org.