Skip to main content

2014 Honorees

Michael Shelden

Michael Shelden, National Winner

Professor Michael Shelden of Indiana State University is the author of five biographies, including the Pulitzer Prize Finalist Orwell: The Authorized Biography, which was also a New York Times Notable Book and has been translated into five languages. His study of Mark Twain’s final years, Man in White, was chosen as one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor and Library Journal. For 15 years, he was a features writer for the London Daily Telegraph, and for 10 years he served as a fiction critic for the Baltimore Sun. His work has also appeared in The Shakespeare Quarterly, the Times of London, Victorian Studies, the Washington Post and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. His most recent book­­––Young Titan: The Making of Winston Churchill––was published in 2013 by Simon & Schuster in New York and London. A popular speaker, Michael has given lectures for the Churchill Centre, the National World War Two Museum, the Commonwealth Club of California, the Hirshhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, and the London Library.

Norbert Krapf

Norbert Krapf, Regional Winner

Jasper native, Indianapolis resident and former Indiana Poet Laureate (IPL) Norbert Krapf was inspired to start writing poetry in 1971 by the poems of Walt Whitman and the songs of Delta blues great Robert Johnson. As IPL, Norbert promoted collaborations and the reunion of poetry and song.

Of Norbert’s 26 books, 11 are full-length poetry collections, including the recent Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet’s Journal of Healing, American Dreams, Bloodroot: Indiana Poems and Invisible Presence. He has also edited a collection of pioneer German journals and letters from Dubois County and translated early poems of Rainer Maria Rilke and legends from his ancestral Franconia. Norbert is emeritus professor of English at Long Island University where he directed the C.W. Post Poetry Center. He holds degrees from St. Joseph’s College (Ind.) and the University of Notre Dame, and was Fulbright Professor at the Universities of Freiburg and Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany. He received the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, had a poem included in a stained-glass panel at the Indianapolis Airport and held an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Fellowship to combine poetry and the blues. See and hear more at

Kelsey Timmerman

Kelsey Timmerman, Emerging Winner

Kelsey Timmerman is the author of Where am I Wearing? A Global Tour to the Countries, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes and Where am I Eating? An Adventure Through the Global Food Economy. His writing has appeared in publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Condé Nast Portfolio and has aired on NPR. Kelsey is also the cofounder of the Facing Project, which seeks to connect people through stories to strengthen community. He has spent the night in Castle Dracula in Romania, played PlayStation in Kosovo, farmed on four continents, taught an island village to play baseball in Honduras, and in another life, worked as a SCUBA instructor in Key West, Florida. Whether in print or in person he seeks to connect people around the world. For more information, visit

Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole, Emerging Finalist

Jessica Brockmole spent several years living in Scotland, where she knew too well the challenges in maintaining relationships from a distance. She plotted her first novel, Letters from Skye, on a long drive from the Isle of Skye to Edinburgh. Since publication, Letters from Skye has sold to 23 countries and has reached international bestseller lists. It was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year. Jessica’s other titles include Fall of Poppies, At the Edge of Summer, and Woman Enters Left. She now lives in the South Bend area with her husband and two children. For more information, visit

Clifford Garstang, Emerging finalist

Clifford Garstang is the author of What the Zhang Boys Know, which won the 2013 Library of Virginia Award for Fiction, and the prize-winning short story collection In an Uncharted Country. He is the editor of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, an anthology with three volumes. He is also the author of the popular literary blog Perpetual Folly, widely known for its annual ranking of literary magazines.

Clifford’s work has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere, and has received Distinguished Mention in the Best American Series. He won the 2006 Confluence Fiction Prize and the 2007 GSU Review Fiction Prize and has been awarded fellowships by the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

After receiving a BA in Philosophy from Northwestern University, Clifford served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea. He then earned an MA in English and a JD, magna cum laude, both from Indiana University, and practiced international law. Subsequently, he earned a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 2003 he received an MFA in fiction from Queens University of Charlotte. He currently lives in Virginia. For more information, visit