The Illinois Top 200 Project celebrates the state's bicentennial by allowing residents to vote on their favorites in a variety of categories. And the results show two of the state's top authors are from this region.
The top ten list:
- Ernest Hemingway
- Carl Sandburg
- Ray Bradbury
- Gwendolyn Brooks
- Edgar Lee Masters
- Edgar Rice Burroughs
- Lorraine Hansberry
- Saul Bellow
- Richard Wright
- Sandra Cisneros
Sandburg was born in Galesburg. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his poetry and another for his biography of Abraham Lincoln. His birthplace in Galesburg is a state historic site.
Masters was raised in Lewistown and is best known for “Spoon River Anthology,” a collection of epitaphs of the residents of a fictitious small town. The hugely successful book was published in 1915.
“We hope that as people voted for their favorites, like Ray Bradbury or Ernest Hemingway, they also learned about some lesser known people, like Lorraine Hansberry or Sandra Cisneros,” said Chris Wills, a spokesperson for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The Illinois Top 200 Project is a collaboration between the museum, the State Journal-Register, and the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.
“The basic goal is to have the public vote on the top things about Illinois in 20 different categories. And at the end of the year we will have the 200 top people, places, and things about Illinois for the state’s 200th birthday,” Wills said.
Voting is currently be held on the Illinois Top 200 website for the category Heartbreaking Moments, which focuses on tragedies such as fires, floods, and riots. And people can use #iltop200 on social media to suggest nominees for future categories such as musicians, actors, and unforgettable moments.