Raven Award Winners

The Raven Award is given annually to an artist whose work creatively represents some aspect of mimetic theory. Our winners come from stage, screen, fiction and the visual arts. All of them exemplify the extraordinary capacity of the arts and entertainment to soften hearts and shift our thinking about our place in the world. To paraphrase the brilliant lyric from 2011 winner Stephen Schwartz, when you encounter the work of these exemplary artists you will be changed for good.

Raven Award logo


Heidi Stillman – Playwright, actress, Jeff Award winning director (Hard Times) and founding ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. The current Artistic Director, Heidi served previously as Artistic Director of New Work at Lookingglass and won the Raven Award for her adaptation of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Speeches by Keith Ross,  Suzanne Ross, and Andy White of Lookingglass Theatre, plus a Readers Theater interpretation of the Grand Inquisitor can be seen here. Suzanne defined the Deceit, Desire and a Divine Adaptation by Heidi.


Stephen Schwartz – Grammy and Academy Award winning composer (Godspell, Pocohontas) , Drama Desk Award for best director (Studs Terkel’s Working), Stephen has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Stephen received the Raven Award for his work as composer and lyricist on the musical, Wicked.

Enjoy a video of the Raven Award presentation and Suzanne’s interview of Stephen Schwartz.


Indira Johnson – An artist and peacemaker who equates creativity with nonviolence. Indira comes to her approach to peacemaking from her parent’s commitment to the arts, social service and Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent movement Satyagraha. She was named a Chicagoan of the Year in 2013 by Chicago Magazine. Indira won the Raven Award for her community art and peace building project, Ten Thousand Ripples. Enjoy Suzanne Ross’ celebration of the creativity of nonviolence as she presented the award to Indira.

In April 2017, Indira appeared in Columbia College of Chicago’s TEDx, Evoke Presence. Her talk, “The Power of Individual Action: How One Ripple Can Change the World”, begins at 06:10:51.


Kevin Miller – An award-winning screenwriter, director and producer who has applied his craft to numerous documentaries, feature films and shorts. In addition to his work in film, Miller has written, co-written and edited over 40 books. Kevin won the Raven Award for Hellbound? Suzanne Ross and Adam Ericksen engage Kevin in a lively discussion of his film.


Anthony Bartlett – A seminary professor turned novelist, Tony’s previous books, Cross Purposes: The Violent Grammar of Christian Atonement and Virtually Christian: How Christ Changes Meaning and Makes Creation New, were scholarly examinations of Christianity shaped by the work of René Girard. He won the Raven Award for Pascale’s Wager, his first work of fiction. Lindsey Paris-Lopez interviews Tony about his novel and creative process.

Tony and his wife, Linda, head up the Wood Hath Hope community which officially opens on September 10, 2016. Together they have restored a Civil War era house as a new center for nonviolent theology. Tony comments, “We are very happy to bring this neglected house back to life, but even more urgently, our work is to restore Christian theology to the nonviolence that was always at its heart!”


Paul King – Paul is a British comedy writer and director who has been honored for his work for television and movies. Paul received the Raven Award for writing and directing the live action movie Paddington, which also received Best Film in the 2015 Children’s BAFTA awards. Paddington was also BAFTA nominated in the Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay categories, a unique honor for family entertainment. Enjoy Suzanne Ross’ review of the movie Paddington and her interview with award winner Paul King.


Tim Allen –Actor, comedian. Born Tim Allen Dick on June 13, 1953, in Denver, Colorado. Allen is the son of Gerald and Martha Dick, and one of six children. Allen discovered his penchant for comedy early on — as his last name became fodder for childhood jeers, he often used his wit to deflect insults. His father, a real-estate salesman, was killed in a collision with a drunk driver while driving his family home from a University of Colorado football game, when Tim was eleven years old.

In 1978, on a dare from a friend, he started his comedy career at the Comedy Castle in Detroit. In 1991, he became the star of his own hit television series on ABC called Home Improvement. His current sitcom Last Man Standing, for which he won the Raven Award, released its 100th episode in January 2017.


Christian Picciolini is an Emmy Award-winning director, producer, author, TEDx speaker, peace advocate, and reformed extremist. He received the 2017 Raven Award for his memoir, White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement-and How I Got Out (Hachette Books, 2018). After leaving the violent hate movement he helped create, Christian earned a degree with honors in international relations and international business from DePaul University; began Goldmill Group, his own global media and counter-extremism consulting firm; and was appointed a member of the Chicago Grammy Rock Music Committee and the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival. He won an Emmy Award for directing and producing an anti-hate advertising campaign called “There is life after hate,” which helps youth disengage from white-supremacist groups. Read Adam’s review of White American Youth.