The Midland Authors announces the winners of its 2022 awards, for the best books written by Midwest authors and published in 2021. The winners in seven categories — including a new award for history — will be honored May 10 during a banquet at the Cliff Dwellers Club in Chicago, along with honorees in each category.

History Award
Winner: Edward McClelland, Midnight in Vehicle City: General Motors, Flint, and the Strike That Created the Middle Class, Beacon Press. (Author is from Lansing, Michigan, and Chicago.)
— Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in College Debt, Belknap Press. (Author is from Chicago.)
— Brendan Goff, Rotary International and the Selling of American Capitalism, Harvard University Press. (Author is from Chicago.)
Judges: John Holden, Joseph Gustaitis, and Dominic Pacyga.

Adult Fiction Award
Winner: Andrew J. Graff, Raft of Stars, Ecco. (Author is from Cedarville, Iowa.)
— Anthony Bukoski, The Blondes of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Press. (Author is from Superior, Wisconsin.)
— Kate McIntyre, Mad Prairie: Stories and a Novella, University of Georgia Press. (Author is from Kansas.)
— Jakob Guanzon, Abundance, Graywolf Press. (Author was raised in Minnesota.)
Judges: Dan Chaon, Kent Meyers, and Jean Thompson.

Richard Frisbie Adult Nonfiction Award
Winner: Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar, You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism, Grand Central Publishing. (The authors are from Omaha, Nebraska.)
Honoree: Kim Todd, Sensational: The Hidden History of America’s “Girl Stunt Reporters,” Harper. (Author is from Minneapolis.)
Judges: Marie Mockett, Jack Shuler, and Kim Hiltwein.

Bernard J. Brommel Biography and Memoir Award
Winner: Steve Paul, Literary Alchemist: The Writing Life of Evan S. Connell, University of Missouri Press. (Author is from Kansas City, Missouri.)
— Sarah Vogel, The Farmer’s Lawyer: The North Dakota Nine and the Fight to Save the Family Farm, Bloomsbury. (Author is from Bismarck, North Dakota.)
— Melissa J. Homestead, The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather & Edith Lewis, Oxford University Press. (Author is from Lincoln, Nebraska.)
— Yveline Alexis, Haiti Fights Back: The Life and Legacy of Charlemagne Péralte, Rutgers University Press. (Author is from Oberlin, Ohio.)
Judges: John Hallwas, Bob Remer, and Gary Schmidt.

Poetry Award
Winner: Kaveh Akbar, Pilgrim Bell: Poems, Graywolf Press. (Author is from West Lafayette, Indiana.)
— Tracy Fuad, about: blank, University of Pittsburgh Press. (Author was born and raised in Minnesota.)
— Simone Muench and Jackie K. White, Hex & Howl, Black Lawrence Press. (The authors are from Chicago.)
— Diane Seuss, frank: sonnets, Graywolf Press. (Author is from Kalamazoo, Michigan.)
Judges: Chris Abani, Nandi Comer, and Emilio DeGrazia.

Children’s Fiction Award
Winner: Kelly J. Baptist, The Swag Is in the Socks, Crown Books for Young Readers. (Author is from Berrien Springs, Michigan.)
— Anuradha D. Rajurkar, American Betiya, Knopf Books for Young Readers. (Author is from Evanston, Illinois.)
— Molly Beth Griffin, Ten Beautiful Things, Charlesbridge. (Author is from Minneapolis.)
— Andrea Zimmerman, If I Were a Tree, Lee & Low Books. (Author is from originally from Ohio, now residing in Los Angeles.)
Judges: Laura Hirshfield, Julie Novak, and Sandy Renner.

Children’s Reading Round Table Children’s Nonfiction Award
Winner: Suzanne Slade, June Almeida, Virus Detective!: The Woman Who Discovered the First Human Coronavirus, Sleeping Bear Press. (Author is from Libertyville, Illinois.)
— Kao Kalia Yang, Yang Warriors, University of Minnesota Press. (Author is from St. Paul, Minnesota.)
— Laurie Lawlor, Fearless World Traveler: Adventures of Marianne North, Botanical Artist, Holiday House. (Author is from Evanston, Illinois.)
Judges: Mary Losure, Marianne Malone, and Judith Schein Cohen.

About the awards banquet and contest

The Midland Authors will give out the awards at a banquet on Tuesday, May 10, at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave., 22nd floor, Chicago. Carol Marin, co-director of the DePaul Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence and NBC5’s former political editor, will emcee the awards banquet. The keynote speaker will be Urbana novelist and short-story author Jean Thompson, a professor emerita at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who served as a judge in the adult fiction category.

A reception with cash bar begins at 6 p.m., followed by the dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets are $80 each, which includes dinner. Reservations can be made online at or by mailing a check to: Society of Midland Authors c/o Tom Frisbie, 12 S. Owen St., Mount Prospect, IL 60056.

Each winner will receive a $500 award and a recognition plaque, while honorees will receive a recognition plaque. The judges chose the winners and honorees out of more than 240 books submitted for the contest. The annual 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.

The Society of Midland Authors was founded in Chicago in 1915. Its annual book awards have been given out since 1957. Notable past winners have included Saul Bellow, Studs Terkel, Kurt Vonnegut, 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. Visit for a complete list of past winners.

For more information, visit, or contact Midland Authors President Gerry Plecki at [email protected].