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General Events

Bette Howland


Tuesday, July 11, 2023 | 6:00 p.m. CT Chopin Theatre, 1543 West Division Street, Chicago, IL 60642

The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame's fourteenth class joins the canon of the city's all-time literary greats at an induction ceremony and reception hosted by Chopin Theatre. Bette Howland, Nella Larsen, and Finley Peter Dunne will be honored and celebrated for their literary contributions to Chicago and beyond. Bette Howland's sons, Jacob and Frank, will speak at the ceremony, which will be followed by a cocktail reception.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Bette Howland

(1937-2017) published three books in her lifetime: W-3, and the story collections Blue in Chicago and Things to Come and Go. She received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1984, after which she did not publish another book. Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, her selected stories, was published in 2019, restoring to the canon the work of a remarkable writer.


From the author of the acclaimed collection Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage comes W-3, the account of a brilliant mind on the brink. In 1968, Bette Howland was thirty-one, a single mother of two young sons, struggling to support her family on the part-time salary of a librarian; and laboring day and night at her typewriter to be a writer. One afternoon, while staying at her friend Saul Bellow’s apartment, she swallowed a bottle of pills. W-3 is both an extraordinary portrait of the community of Ward 3, the psychiatric wing of the Chicago hospital where she was admitted; and record of a defining moment in a writer’s life. The book itself would be her salvation: she wrote herself out of the grave.

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