The Society of Midland Authors holds its Annual Awards Dinner, honoring the best books by Midwestern authors published last year in six categories: adult fiction, adult nonfiction, poetry, biography, children’s fiction and children’s nonfiction.
WINNER: Benjamin Percy, The Wilding: A Novel, Graywolf Press. (Author lives in Ames, Iowa.)
FINALISTS: Keir Graff, The Price of Liberty, Severn House Publishers. (Author lives in Chicago.) Billy Lombardo, The Man With Two Arms: A Novel, The Overlook Press. (Author lives in Forest Park, Illinois.)
WINNER: Deborah Blum, The Poisoner’s Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York, Penguin Press. (Author lives in Madison, Wisconsin.)
FINALISTS: Harry Castleman and Walter J. Podrazik, Watching TV: Six Decades of American Television, Expanded Second Edition, Syracuse University Press. (Podrazik lives in Chicago. Castleman, a graduate of Northwestern University, now lives in Canton, Massachusetts.)
Kevin Stein, Poetry’s Afterlife: Verse in the Digital Age, The University of Michigan Press and The University of Michigan Library. (Author lives in Dunlap, Illinois.)
WINNER: Bill Barnhart and Gene Schlickman, John Paul Stevens: An Independent Life, Northern Illinois University Press. (Barnhart lives in Chicago. A former resident of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Schlickman lives in Beverly Shores, Indiana.)
FINALIST: Bruce L. Mouser, For Labor, Race, and Liberty: George Edwin Taylor, His Historic Run for the White House, and the Making of Independent Black Politics, The University of Wisconsin Press. (Author lives in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.)
WINNER: Rebecca Barnhouse, The Coming of the Dragon, Random House Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Youngstown, Ohio.)
FINALISTS: Stephanie Hemphill, Wicked Girls: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials, Balzer and Bray. (Author lives in Chicago.) Clare Vanderpool, Moon Over Manifest, Delacorte Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Wichita, Kansas.)
WINNER: Don Mitchell, Driven: A Photobiography of Henry Ford, National Geographic Children’s Books. (A former resident of Iowa, Illinois and Ohio, Mitchell lives in Arlington, Virginia.)
WINNER: Jehanne Dubrow, Stateside, TriQuarterly. (A former resident of Lincoln, Nebraska, Dubrow lives in Chesterstown, Maryland.)
Since 2002, the Society has also hosted the presentation of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary and Dramatic Criticism at its banquet. This year's winner is John Barron, publisher of the Chicago Sun-Times and book critic.
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 in past years have included Saul Bellow, Studs Terkel, Gwendolyn Brooks, Mike Royko, Jane Smiley and Scott Turow. Prizes include a cash award and recognition plaque.
Sam Weller, author of the Bradbury Chronicles and Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews, emcees.
Recorded Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at the Chicago Bar Association.