Although not as commercially familiar as Neil Gaiman or J.K. Rowling, Gene Wolfe is a name that should be remembered and recognized and the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame seems to agree. Next month, they will be honoring the science fiction writer with the first Henry Blake Fuller Award.

According to Donald G. Evans, executive director of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, the Henry Blake Fuller Award is a “lifetime achievement award honoring great living writings in the Chicago area.” Wolfe was chosen because of his “critically acclaimed collection of work in various genres, such as science fiction and fantasy.”

Best known for his ‘The Book of the New Sun’ series, Wolfe has written over 100 books and short stories spanning a career of over 40 years since becoming a full time writer in the 1970’s. At 80 years of age, he is still writing and is currently on his third draft of his newest novel, ‘The Land Across.’

Wolfe has said that writing in this genre seems natural and recalls reading pocketbook science fiction stories when he was a child, thanks to his mom. One day while driving him to middle school, he saw a book that she was reading and asked if he could look at it. From then on, he was hooked on science fiction. “The first thing I read was Theodore Sturgeon’s ‘Microcosmic God,’ he says, “It blew me away. It was a wonderful story. It still is a wonderful story.”

Before becoming a writer, Wolfe was an industrial engineer (it’s been said that he was part of the team that invented that machine that makes Pringles potato chips) but the call to become a writer was too strong to resist.

Wolfe has received numerous literary awards such as the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Awards for his works and is happy to receive the first Fuller Award but does say that these recognitions are not why he writes. “It feels good, you like (getting awards), but it’s not what you work for,” Wolfe said. “I work to write good material. I want to say, ‘That’s a good book.’”

Wolfe will be receiving the Fuller Award in a ceremony which will be held at the Barrington’s Sanfilippo Estate on March 17th.

Source: Chicago Tribune