Announcing Our Award Winners for 2013

The Society of Midland Authors will present its annual awards May 13, 2014, in Chicago, honoring its choices for the best books by Midwest authors published in 2013:



  • Christine Sneed — Little Known Facts — Bloomsbury. (Author lives in Evanston, Ill.)


  • Chinelo Okparanta — Happiness, Like Water — Mariner. (Author lives in West Lafayette, Ind., and is former resident of Iowa City.)
  • Bryan FurunessThe Lost Episodes of Revie Bryson — Black Lawrence. (Author lives in Indianapolis.)

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



  • Rick AtkinsonThe Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945Henry Holt and Co. (Author is a former reporter for the Pittsburg (Kan.) Morning Sun and the Kansas City Times.)


  • Ted AntonThe Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of YouthUniversity of Chicago Press. (Author lives in River Forest, Ill.)
  • Larry HaegHarriman vs. Hill: Wall Street’s Great Railroad War — University of Minnesota Press. (Author lives in St. Paul, Minn.)

The judges for Adult Nonfiction were James Merriner, John Hallwas and Re’Lynn Hansen.



  • James TobinThe Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency — Simon & Schuster. (Author lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.)


  • Michael SheldenYoung Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill — Simon & Schuster. (Author lives in Bloomington, Ind.)

The judges for Biography & Memoir were Gerry Souter, Ray Boomhower and Diane Diekman.



  • Amy TimberlakeOne Came Home — Knopf Books for Young Readers. (Author lives in Chicago.)


  • Clare VanderpoolNavigating Early — Delacorte Press. (Author lives in Wichita, Kan.)
  • Patricia PolaccoThe 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.



  • Neal BascombThe Nazi Hunter: 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.)

(No finalists in this category.)

The judges for Children’s Nonfiction were Marlene Targ Brill, Ann Bausum and Andrew Medlar.



  • Roger Bonair-AgardBury My Clothes — Haymarket Books. (Author lives in Chicago.)


  • Carl PhillipsSilverchest — Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (Author lives in St. Louis.)
  • Averill CurdySong and Error — Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. (Author lives in Chicago.)

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



  • Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune theater critic, arts columnist and reporter

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 cash award and a recognition plaque. Since 2002, the Society has also hosted the presentation of the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary and Dramatic Criticism at its banquet.

The annual awards dinner will take place Tuesday, May 13, 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.

Paul Durica
Paul Durica

The master of ceremonies will be Paul Durica, the founder of Pocket Guide to Hell, a series of free and interactive walks, talks and re-enactments dealing with Chicago’s past. With Bill Savage, he is the editor of Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker’s Guide to the Paris of America (published last year by Northwestern University Press), and his writing has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, Mid-American Review and The Chicagoan.

Tickets are $75 each. Reservations can by made online (with a $1 surcharge to help defray PayPal’s processing fee) at: 

You may also print out the reservation form at: and mail a check for $75 to: Society of Midland Authors, P.O. Box 10419, 
Chicago, IL 60610).