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The Midwest's Best: Little Known Facts

The third and final part in a series about this year's Society of Midland Authors award winners, honoring the best books by Midwest authors published in 2013. The annual awards dinner will take place on May 13 at the Cliff Dwellers Club.


WINNER: Christine Sneed, Little Known Facts, Bloomsbury. (Author lives in Evanston, Ill.)


See also:
* New York Times: A Star's Circle.

* Chicago Tribune: Little Known Facts About Christine Sneed.

* Mark Athitakis: Book Review.


Chinelo Okparanta, Happiness, Like Water, Mariner. (Author lives in West Lafayette, Ind., and is former resident of Iowa City.)

"The stories in Chinelo Okparanta's first collection are quiet, often unnervingly so, in the manner of a stifled shriek. Hints of menace - a reference to a robbery, an illness, a drop of blood on peeling linoleum - are delivered blandly, matter-of-factly, as if resisting the urge to dramatize were a kind of survival mechanism. This is deceptive, for the plots in Happiness, Like Water are heated where the prose is not."


Bryan Furuness, The Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson, Black Lawrence. (Author lives in Indianapolis.)

"As the novel navigates the tricky adult negotiations that sustain domestic mythologies and the bittersweet nature of adolescent discoveries, the readers is reminded that anyone can be subject to resurrection, with all its terror and promise, and that the winding journey toward love and salvation is life-long."


The judges for Adult Fiction were Patricia Ann McNair, Billy Lombardo and Bayo Ojikutu.


WINNER: Amy Timberlake, One Came Home, Knopf Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Chicago.)

""An adventure, a mystery, and a love song to the natural world."


See also:
* Christian Science Monitor: Book Review.

* Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Set In Wisconsin.

* Washington Post: Book Review.


Clare Vanderpool, Navigating Early, Delacorte Press. (Author lives in Wichita, Kan.)


Patricia Polacco, The Blessing Cup, Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Union City, Mich.)


The judges for Children's Fiction were Charlotte Herman, Gary Schmidt and Marianne Malone.


WINNER: Neal Bascomb, The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World's Most Notorious Nazi, Arthur A. Levine Books. (Author grew up in St. Louis and lives in Philadelphia.)

"A thrilling spy mission, a moving Holocaust story, and a first-class work of narrative nonfiction."

See also:
* School Library Journal: Book Review.

* American Library Association: Award For Excellence In Nonfiction For Young Adults.

* The Book Smugglers: Book Review.


The judges for Children's Nonfiction were Marlene Targ Brill, Ann Bausum and Andrew Medlar. (No finalists in this category.)


WINNER: Roger Bonair-Agard, Bury My Clothes, Haymarket Books. (Author lives in Chicago.)

"Bury My Clothes is poet Roger Bonair-Agard's meditation on violence, race, and the place in art at which they intersect. Amongst oppressed communities, he asserts, art is about survival, about establishing personhood in a world that says you have none - a mode of creation that has transformed both the world of art, and the world itself."


See also:
* Huffington Post: This 'Love Trumpet' Kills Racism.


Carl Phillips, Silverchest, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (Author lives in St. Louis.)

Averill Curdy, Song and Error, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (Author lives in Chicago.)


The judges for Poetry were Mark Eleveld, Haki R. Madhubuti and Donna Seaman.


WINNER: Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune theater critic, arts columnist and reporter


* Adult Nonfiction: Guns, Worms & Trains.
* Biography & Memoir: The Polio President.


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 13, 2014

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