Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information


Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: June 5, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri


Illinois Connection

When Petrakis was six months old, his family moved to Washington Park neighborhood in Chicago's South Side. He also lived in Woodlawn and South Shore.

Biographical and Professional Information

Harry Mark Petrakis published his first story, "Pericles on 31st Street" in the Atlantic Monthly in 1957. His most notable work, "A Dream of Kings," the tale of the larger-than-life Matsoukas who sacrifices everything, even his principles, in an effort to save his ailing son, was published in 1966. It was published in twelve foreign editions and was made into a motion picture in 1969 starring Anthony Quinn. In all, he wrote 24 books consisting of fiction, essays, and nonfiction.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- """Days of Vengeance"""

-- *Carl Sandburg Award, Friends of the Chicago Public Library, 1983


-- """Pericles on 31st Street"""

-- *Finalist in Fiction, National Book Award, 1966


-- """A Dream of Kings"""

-- *New York Times Bestseller, 1966

-- *Finalist in Fiction, National Book Award, 1967


-- """Other Awards and Honors"""

-- * Atlantic First Award, 1957

-- * Benjamin Franklin Citation, 1957

-- * Friends of American Writers Award, 1964

-- * Friends of Literature Award, 1964

-- * Society of Midland Authors Award, 1964

-- * O. Henry Award - for his short story The Prison, available in the anthology Prize Stories, 1966

-- * Writer-in-Residence, Chicago Public Library, 1976-1977

-- * Writer-in-Residence, Chicago Board of Education, 1978

-- * Carl Sandburg Award, Chicago Public Library, 1983 - Lifetime achievement award given to a Chicago author

-- * Gabby Award for Arts & Culture, 2009

-- * Nikos Kazantzakis Award for the Arts, Pancretan Association, 2013

-- * Fuller Award for Lifetime Achievement, Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, 2014

-- * Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, American College of Greece

-- * Honorary Doctorate, Hellenic College

-- * Honorary Doctorate, University of Illinois

-- * Honorary Doctorate, Indiana University Northwest

-- * Honorary Doctorate, Roosevelt University

-- * Honorary Doctorate, Governors State University