Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Leon Richard Forrest  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Adult;

Born: 1937 in Chicago, Illinois

Died: November 6, 1997 in Evanston, Illinois


-- Leon Forrest on WorldCat -- http://www.worldcat.org/search?q=leon+forrest


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 Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

There Is a Tree More Ancient Than Eden (Phoenix Fiction)
ISBN: 0226257215

University of Chicago Press. 2001

Leon Forrest, acclaimed author of Divine Days, uses a remarkable verbal intensity to evoke human tragedy, injustice, and spirituality in his writing. As Toni Morrison has said, "All of Forrest's novels explore the complex legacy of Afro-Americans. Like an insistent tide this history . . . swells and recalls America's past. . . . Brooding, hilarious, acerbic and profoundly valued life has no more astute observer than Leon Forrest." All of that is on display here in two novels that give readers a breathtaking view of the human experience, filled with humor and pathos.

The Bloodworth Orphans (Phoenix Fiction)
ISBN: 0226257223

University of Chicago Press. 2001

Leon Forrest, acclaimed author of Divine Days, uses a remarkable verbal intensity to evoke human tragedy, injustice, and spirituality in his writing. As Toni Morrison has said, "All of Forrest's novels explore the complex legacy of Afro-Americans. Like an insistent tide this history . . . swells and recalls America's past. . . . Brooding, hilarious, acerbic and profoundly valued life has no more astute observer than Leon Forrest." All of that is on display here in a novel that give readers a breathtaking view of the human experience, filled with humor and pathos.

Two Wings to Veil My Face: A Novel
ISBN: 155921192X

Moyer Bell Ltd. 1997

A ninety-one-year-old African American woman tells her story of passage from slavery to freedom to her twenty-one-year-old grandson

Divine Days
ISBN: 0393312216

W. W. Norton & Company. 1995

A unanimous chorus of critical acclaim greeted this powerful novel last year―one of the most significant works of African-American fiction since Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.

This huge oratorio of a novel unfolds over seven days in the life of Joubert Jones, an aspiring playwright making ends meet tending bar at his Aunt Eloise's Night Lounge. A Rabelaisian cast of characters and a Shakespearean range of voices crowd the pages of this book, an infinitely rich and suggestive tapestry of Black-American life and identity.

The Furious Voice For Freedom Essays O
ISBN: 155921080X

Asphodel Press. 2010

Essays on Life. Forrest's writing is evocative, vivid, even poetic. -Library Journal.

Meteor in the Madhouse
ISBN: 0810151146

Triquarterly. 2001

Book by Forrest, Leon, Drown, Merle


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