The Midland Authors is pleased to announce that the books listed below have been selected as semifinalist entries for our awards competition, which honors books by Midwestern authors published in 2023. (APRIL 2 UPDATE: This list has been updated to include the semifinalists in Adult Fiction.)

Tickets and sponsorships for the May 21 Awards Banquet at the Cliff Dwellers, 200 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago, are available for purchase byPayPal or by check or money order. Visit our website for details at:

The emcee for the evening will be Justin Kaufmann of Axios.

Finalists will be announced in two weeks, with the announcement of winners and honorees to follow in mid-April.

Congratulations to all semifinalists and their publishers!

Adult Fiction

  • Central Places by Delia Cai (Ballantine)
  • Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stradal (Pamela Dorman Books)
  • Brave in Season by Jon Volkmer (Milford House)
  • The Midwife’s Touch by Sue Harrison (Shanty Cove Books)
  • Strange Attractors: The Ephrem Stories by Janice Deal (New Door Books)
  • The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman by Molly Lynch (Catapult)
  • Land of Joys by Steve Wiegenstein (Amphorae Publishing Group/Blank Slate Press)
  • Down the Steep by A.D. Nauman (Regal House Publishing)
  • The Luck of the Fall by Jim Daniels (Michigan State University Press)
  • I Have Some Questions for You by Julia Falkner (Viking Books)
  • You Shall See the Beautiful Things by Steve Amick (Acre Books)
  • I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin (Viking Books)

Richard Frisbie Award for Adult Nonfiction

  • Touch the Future: A Manifesto in Essays by John Lee Clark (W.W. Norton)
  • Higher Power: An American Town’s Story of Faith, Hope, and Nuclear Energy by Casey Bukro (Agate)
  • Hit Girls: Women of Punk in the USA, 1975-1983 by Jen B. Larson (Feral House)
  • Moby Dyke: An Obsessive Quest to Track Down the Last Remaining Lesbian Bars in America by Krista Burton (Simon & Schuster)
  • Murder Ballads Old & New: A Dark and Bloody Record by Steven L. Jones (Feral House)
  • Programmable Planet: The Synthetic Biology Revolution by Ted Anton (Columbia University Press)
  • How to Taste Coffee: Develop Your Sensory Skills and Get the Most Out of Every Cup by Jessica Easto (Agate)
  • How Not to Kill Yourself: A Portrait of the Suicidal Mind by Clancy Martin (Pantheon)
  • Writer’s Postcards by Dipika Mukherjee (Penguin)
  • Paper Valley: The Fight for the Fox River Cleanup by P. David Allen II and Susan Campbell (Wayne State University Press)

Bernard J. Brommel Award for Biography & Memoir

  • Eliza Scidmore: The Trailblazing Journalist Behind Washington’s Cherry Trees by Diana P. Parsell (Oxford University Press)
  • Fieldwork: A Forager’s Memoir by Iliana Regan (Agate)
  • Love and Industry: A Midwestern Workbook by Sonya Huber (Belt)
  • Newspaperwoman of the Ozarks: The Life and Times of Lucile Morris Upton by Susan Croce Kelly (University of Arkansas Press)
  • Bernardine’s Shanghai Salon: The Story of the Doyenne of Old China by Susan Blumberg-Kason (Post Hill)
  • We Will be Free: The Life and Faith of Sojourner Truth by Nancy Koester (William B. Erdmans)
  • Chinese Prodigal: A Memoir in Eight Arguments by David Shih (Atlantic Monthly Press)

Children’s Reading Roundtable Award for Children’s Nonfiction

  • How to Spacewalk: Step-By-Step With Shuttle Astronauts by Kathryn Sullivan and Michael J. Rosen (MIT Kids Press)
  • Virginia Wouldn’t Slow Down! The Unstoppable Dr. Apgar and Her Life-Saving Invention by Carrie Pearson (Norton Young Readers)
  • Work With What You Got: A Memoir by Zion Clark and James S. Hirsch (Candlewick)
  • Restoring Prairie, Woods, and Pond: How a Small Trail Can Make a Big Difference by Laurie Lawlor (Holiday House)
  • Do Not Eat This Book: Fun With Jewish Foods & Festivals by Beth Kander (Sleeping Bear Press)
  • What Music! The Fifty-Year Friendship Between Beethoven and Nannette Streicher, Who Built His Pianos by Laurie Lawlor (Holiday House)
  • Ted Kooser: More Than a Local Wonder by Carla Keiner (University of Nebraska Press)

Children’s Fiction

  • Mèo and Bé by Doan Phuong Nguyen (Lee & Low Books)
  • Maddie’s Ghost by Carol Fisher Saller (Duckweed Books)
  • Sweet Dreams: Poems and Paintings for the Child Abed by Rick Telander (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Maybe There Are Witches by Jude Atwood (Fitzroy Books)
  • We, the Curious Ones by Marion Dane Bauer (Candlewick Press)
  • Stanley’s Secret by John Sullivan (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Puppets of Spelhorst by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)


  • I Done Clicked My Heels Three Times by Taylor Byas (Soft Skull Press)
  • When I Reach For Your Pulse by Rushi Vyas (Four Way Books)
  • Tender Headed by Olatunde Osinaike (Akashic Books)
  • Empire by James Armstrong (Shipwreckt Books)
  • Breathing in Minneapolis by Patrick Cabello Hansel (Finishing Line)
  • Trace by Brenda Cárdenas (Red Hen Press)
  • Continued Cases by Richard Hague (Dos Madres Press)
  • Auction by Quan Barry (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Ghost Variations by Elton Glaser (University of Pittsburgh Press)


  • Come Fly With Me: The Rise and Fall of Trans World Airlines by Daniel L. Rust and Alan B. Hoffman (Missouri Historical Society Press)
  • The Burning of the World: The Great Chicago Fire and the War for a City’s Soul by Scott W. Berg (Pantheon Books)
  • Indigenous Missourians: Ancient Societies to the Present by Greg Olson (University of Missouri Press)
  • I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction by Kidada E. Williams (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Country and Midwestern: Chicago in the History of Country Music and the Folk Revival by Mark Guarino (University of Chicago Press)
  • Entangled Encounters at the National Zoo: Stories From the Animal Archive by Daniel Vandersommers (University Press of Kansas)
  • Without Warning: The Tornado of Udall, Kansas by Jim Minick (University of Nebraska Press)