Art Shay in this video interview from the inaugural year of the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame talks about his friend Nelson Algren and how the two of them came up with the title for the Algren book on the city they both loved and documented.
Shay tells it this way: "The title was born in my '49 Pontiac." He recalls his own brainstorming: " 'We got to do this as a book, this is a book on Chicago. We need a title. Chicago is sort of a wild city, a historic city, it's a city of dynamite. It's a city on the make.' I said, 'That's the title.' He said, 'right, that's the title.' "
Algren's work, Chicago: City on the Make: Sixtieth Anniversary Edition, was recently republished in a commemorative volume with an introduction by Studs Terkel. Algren was inducted into the hall in 2010 and Shay accepted the award for him. This week, the hall honored the class of 2011: Cyrus Colter, Theodore Dreiser, Harriet Monroe, Mike Royko, Carl Sandburg and Ida B. Wells.