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Congratulations to CWA’s 2014 Book Award Finalists!

Fourteen books by Chicagoland authors have been named as finalists in the Chicago Writers Association’s 2014Book of the Year Awards.

The finalists will compete for four awards to be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24 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, 2013 and June 30, 2014 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.

“On behalf of the CWA, we thank all those who submitted books to our 2014 BOTY award contest!” said CWA President Tori Collins. “I am always excited and amazed that each year more authors from the Chicagoland area enter the contest, giving us the opportunity to hear their stores as well as share and experience their expertise. Each year we receive more books and our screeners have to make tough choices as to which books our finalist judges will review.”

Collins added: “As a book screener myself, I know how difficult this year’s decisions were. I want to acknowledge all of those who entered the contest. You made our job incredibly tough. I also want to recognize all of our screeners – Diane Bushemi, Brandon Nelson, Connie Corcoran Wilson, Randy Richardson and Becky Sarwate – who volunteered to read countless books, during one of the most coveted times of the year: summer! They were all extremely helpful in making this year’s initial screening phase successful.”

The finalists are:

Traditional Fiction 

  • Zombie, Indiana by Scott Kenemore
  • Death Stalks Door County by Patricia Skalka
  • The Hundred-Year House by Rebecca Makkai
  • Asher’s Fault by Elizabeth Wheeler
  • Cementville by Paulette Livers

(*Honorable Mention: The Old Neighborhood by Bill Hillmann, American Past Time by Len Joy, and The Secret of Jack the Ripper by Diane Gilbert Madsen)

Non-traditional Fiction 

  • Double Indignity by James Finn Garner
  • Carpe Diem, Illinois by Kristin A. Oakley
  • My Name is Luke by Jim Ruddle

(*Honorable Mention: No Turning Backby Dan Burns. The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats by Constance Corcoran Wilson,The Unabridged Songwriter by John M. McNamara, and Havana Lost by Libby Fischer Hellmann)

Traditional Non-Fiction 

  • Once I Was Cool by Megan Stielstra
  • Meaty by Samantha Irby
  • Swastika Nation by Arnie Bernstein

(*Honorable Mention: Chicago River Bridges by Patrick McBriarty, Lost in Space by Ben Tanzer and Death by Children by Bull Garlington)

Non-traditional Non-Fiction 

  • Famous Ski Hills in Wisconsin by Scott Jacobs
  • Little Women of Baghlan by Susan Fox
  • The New Love Deal by Gemma Allen, Michele Lowrance and Terry Savage

(*Honorable Mention: Write Through Chicago by Mark Henry Larson and Bob Boone, Fields of War: Battle of Normandy by Robert J. Mueller, What We Leave Behind by Catherine Eisen, Friend Grief and the Military by Victoria Noe, and From God’s Monster to the Devil’s Angel: Life of a Chicago Gang Member by Pacc Butler)

The winners, to be announced on or before Dec. 1, will be selected by last year’s winning authors, Susan Nussbaum (Good Kings Bad Kings), Jay C. Rehak (30 Days of Empathy), Bree Houseley (We Hope You Like This Song), and David W. Berner (Any Road Will Take You There). Each of the winners will be invited to read from their books at the free awards ceremony.

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