Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Leon Richard Forrest  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT C:ADULT Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1937 in Chicago, 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 Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''''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