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American Punishment

The Society of Midland Authors has announced its choices for its annual awards, honoring the best books by Midwest authors published in 2018. The society will present the awards May 14 in Chicago. In each category, a panel of literary judges chose a winner as well as one or more honorees whose work was also deemed worthy of recognition.

ADULT NONFICTION

WINNER: Shane Bauer, American Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment, Penguin. (Author grew up in Onamia, Minnesota.)

See also:

* NPR: Investigative Journalist Aims To Expose Ills Of Privately Run Prisons.

* New York Times: The Dickensian Conditions Of Life In A For-Profit Lockup.

HONOREES: David Quammen, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, Simon & Schuster. (Author is a Cincinnati native.)

Susan Orlean, The Library Book, Simon & Schuster. (Author grew up in Cleveland.)

Eve L. Ewing, Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago's South Side, University of Chicago Press. (Author lives in Chicago.)

The judges for Adult Nonfiction were Jillian McKeown, Don Rose and Jim Schwab.

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BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR

WINNER: Will McGrath, Everything Lost Is Found Again: Four Seasons in Lesotho, Dzanc Books. (Author lives in Collegeville, Minnesota.)

See also:

* Minneapolis StarTribune: 'There Were So Many Places Will McGrath Could Have Gone Wrong With His Memoir . . .

* Asymptote: How To Write About Africa: Everything Lost Is Found Again.

HONOREES: David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, Simon & Schuster. (Author lives in Flint, Michigan.)

Ken Krimstein, The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth, Bloomsbury Publishing. (Author lives in Chicago.)

Art Cullen, Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper, Viking. (Author lives in Storm Lake, Iowa.)

The judges for Biography & Memoir were Jonathan Eig, Sue William Silverman and Mary Kay Shanley.

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ADULT FICTION

WINNER: Kelly O'Connor McNees, Undiscovered Country, Pegasus Books. (Author lives in Chicago.)

See also:

* New York Times: Eleanor Roosevelt's Love Life, As Fodder For Fiction.

HONOREES: David W. Berner, A Well-Respected Man, Strategic Publishing. (Author lives in Washington, Illinois.)

Sarah Stonich, Laurentian Divide, University of Minnesota Press. (Author is from Minneapolis.)

Linda Spalding, A Reckoning, Knopf Pantheon. (Author was born in Kansas.)

The judges for Adult Fiction were Melinda Braun, Sue Harrison and Richard Reeder.

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CHILDREN'S NONFICTION

WINNER: Patricia Hruby Powell, Struttin' With Some Barbecue: Lil Hardin Armstrong Becomes the First Lady of Jazz, Charlesbridge Publishing. (Author lives in Champaign-Urbana.)

HONOREES:

* Patricia Sutton, Capsized! The Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster, Chicago Review Press. (Author lives in Madison, Wisconsin.)

* Kate Hannigan, A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women's Rights, Calkins Creek. (Author lives in Chicago.)

The judges for Children's Nonfiction were Patricia Kummer, Janet Riehecky and Carol Saller.

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CHILDREN'S FICTION

WINNER: Samira Ahmed, Love, Hate & Other Filters, Soho Teen. (Author lives in Chicago.)

See also:

* Christian Science Monitor: Love, Hate And Other Filters Is 2018's Most Important YA Novel So Far.

* Bustle: How Star Wars Inspired Love, Hate & Other Filters, Samira Ahmed's Story About Growing Up Muslim In America.

* Hello Giggles: Love, Hate And Other Filters Is A YA Novel All Adults Should Read.

HONOREES: Gloria Chao, American Panda, Simon Pulse. (Author lives in Chicago.)

Chad Sell, The Cardboard Kingdom, Knopf Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Chicago.)

Jeff Newman, Found, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Milwaukee.)

The judges for Children's Fiction were Debbi Chocolate, Shari Frost and Brian E. Wilson.

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POETRY

WINNER: Claire Wahmanholm, Wilder, Milkweed Editions. (Author lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.)

HONOREE: Aaron Coleman, Threat Come Close, Four Way Books. (Author has lived in Kalamazoo and West Bloomfield, Michigan.)

The judges for Poetry were Lisa Coutley, Joseph G. Peterson and Leland James Whipple.

AWARDS BANQUET DETAILS

The annual awards dinner will take place Tuesday, May 14, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan, 22nd floor, Chicago, which features a beautiful view of Lake Michigan and Millennium Park. A reception with cash bar begins at 6 p.m. followed by the dinner and awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

The master of ceremonies will be Bill Savage, a Northwestern University English professor, contributor to the Chicago Reader and Chicago Tribune, and a lifelong Chicagoan who's knowledgeable on the city's history, culture, and literature. He teaches classes on "Baseball in American Narratives" and "The Chicago Way, and he wrote the introduction and annotations for the 2016 University of Chicago Press edition of George Ade's 1931 book, The Old-Time Saloon: Not Wet, Not Dry - Just History.

Tickets are $75 each. Reservations can by made by PayPal or check at www.midlandauthors.com.

ABOUT THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

The Society, founded in 1915 by a group of authors including Hamlin Garland, Harriet Monroe and Vachel Lindsay, has given out annual awards since 1957. The juried competition is open to authors who live in, were born in, or have strong ties to Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin.

Notable winners have included Saul Bellow, Kurt Vonnegut, Studs Terkel, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mike Royko, Jane Smiley, Dempsey Travis, Leon Forrest, William Maxwell, Louise Erdrich, Scott Turow, Alex Kotlowitz, Aleksandar Hemon, Stuart Dybek and Roger Ebert.

This year's winners will receive a $500 award and a recognition plaque. The coordinator of this year's contest was Marlene Targ Brill.

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Comments welcome.



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