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Ten books by Chicagoland authors have been named as finalists in the Chicago Writers Association’s 2015 Book of the Year Awards.

The finalists will compete for four awards to be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23 at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 Lincoln Ave., in Chicago’s Lincoln Square.

The awards, divided into four categories (traditionally and non-traditionally published fiction and non-fiction), were open to books published between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015 authored by CWA members and non-members residing in the Chicagoland area. (Non-traditional is defined as self- and print-on-demand published.)  The awards are meant to spotlight books by Chicago area authors.

CWA received a record number of entries in this, its fifth year of the book contest.

The finalists are:

Traditional Fiction 

  • The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
  • The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day
  • Old Heart by Peter Ferry

(*Honorable Mention: Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff, On the Way by Cyn Vargas, The Masque of a Murderer by Susanna Calkins, Shall We Not Revenge by D.M. Pirrone, The Black Stiletto Endings & Beginnings by Raymond Benson, and Death at Gills Rock by Patricia Skalka)

Non-traditional Fiction 

  • Alchemy’s Daughter by Mary A. Osborne
  • Nobody’s Child by Libby Fischer Hellmann
  • The Wet Nose of Danger by James Finn Garner

(*Honorable Mention: Principles of Navigation by Lynn Sloan, Chicago Bound by Sandra Colbert, A Groovy Kind of Love by Karen Wojcik Berner, The Absolutely Awesome Adventures of Internet Ed by 5th Period, and Box of Rain by Debra Borys)

Traditional Non-Fiction 

  • Empire of Deception by Dean Jobb
  • The Birth of the Pill by Jonathan Eig

(*Honorable Mention: There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard by David W. Berner and Losing Amma, Finding Home by Uma Girish)

Non-traditional Non-Fiction 

  • Unintended Impact by Jim Proebstle
  • A Different Kind of Same by Kelley Clink

(*Honorable Mention: Justice Perverted by William B. Crawford, Two Years of Heaven by JoAnn Fastoff and The Men Who Made the Yankees by W. Nikola-Lisa)

The winners, to be announced on or before Dec. 1, will be selected by two last year’s winning authors, Scott Jacobs and Kristin Oakley, and special guest judges from the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, Richard Reeder and Donald G. Evans.  Each of the winners will be invited to read from their books at the free awards ceremony. This year’s ceremony will also feature a first-ever lifetime achievement award, honoring an individual who has made significant contributions to Chicagoland’s literary community.


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