The Chicago Review of Books Awards

Founded in 2016, the Chicago Review of Books Awards (CHIRBy Awards) celebrate the exemplary works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and short stories & essays published by authors from the Chicago literary community. The awards are voted on by a committee of local booksellers and the Chicago Review of Books staff.

The Chicago Review of Books also introduced the Adam Morgan Literary Leadership Award to our annual awards ceremony in 2019. Named after our founding editor Adam Morgan, the award honors individuals for their contributions to the Chicago literary community through service, advocacy, and stewardship.  

For more information about the CHIRBy Awards ceremony, visit the StoryStudio event page

Past Winners


2023 – Bliss Montage: Stories by Ling Ma
2022 – The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan
2021 – The Upstairs House by Julia Fine
2020 – The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata
2019 – False Bingo by Jac Jemc
2018 – The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
2017 – How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas
2016 – The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni


2023 King: A Life by Jonathan Eig
2022 – Crying in the Bathroom: A Memoir by Erika L. Sánchez
2021 – Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner
2020 – Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot by Mikki Kendall
2019 – Burn the Place by Iliana Regan
2018 – Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side by Eve L. Ewing
2017 – The Wrong Way to Save Your Life by Megan Stielstra
2016 – The South Side by Natalie Y. Moore


2023 I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times by Taylor Byas
2022 – Against Heaven by Kemi Alabi
2021 – Wolf Lamb Bomb by Aviya Kushner
2020 – Too Much Midnight by Krista Franklin
2019 – 1919 by Eve L. Ewing 
2018 – Citizen Illegal by José Olivarez
2017 – Electric Archces by Eve L. Ewing
2016 – child in a winter house brightening by Abigail Zimmer

Essay/Short Story

2023 – “After the Buses: Meet the Migrants at the Center of Texas’ Manufactured Crisis” by Madison Savedra in Block Club Chicago & Borderless Magazine
2022 – “It’s quiet around here until it’s not” by Salem Collo-Julin in Chicago Reader
2021 – “The climate crisis haunts Chicago’s future. A Battle Between a Great City and a Great Lake” by Dan Egan in The New York Times
2020 – “When reporting on movement actions, revolutionary joy must be given the same space as the struggle” by Matt Harvey in The TRiiBE
2019 – “An Axe for the Frozen Sea” by Megan Stielstra in Believer Magazine
2018 – “After Unthinkable Loss” by Sarah Conway, photos by Sebastián Hidalgo in City Bureau / Chicago Magazine

Adam Morgan Literary Leadership Award

2023 – Javier Ramirez & Kristin Enola Gilbert, Exile in Bookville
2022 – Jeff Deutsch, Director of Seminary Co-op Bookstores 
2021 – Kathleen Rooney, Founder of Poems While You Wait and Rose Metal Press
2020 – D.L. Mullen, Owner of Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery
2019 – Ydalmi Noriega, Vice President of Programs and Engagement at Poetry Foundation