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2016 Honorees

Karen Joy Fowler, National Winner

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and three short story collections. Her novel, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, won the PEN/Faulkner Award as well as the California Book Award for Fiction for 2013, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize the first year the prize was open to Americans. She is also the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, which was on the New York Times bestsellers list for 13 weeks and was made into a major motion picture. In addition, her novel Sister Noon was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award.

Born and raised in an academic family in Bloomington, Ind., she holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate degree from University of California, Davis. She lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Phil Gulley

Philip Gully, Regional Winner

Philip Gulley is a Quaker pastor, writer and speaker from Danville, Indiana. Many of his characters and recollections are taken from his boyhood in this small Midwestern town. Gulley attended Marian University in Indianapolis where he studied theology and sociology. He then enrolled at Christian Theological Seminary where he received his Master of Divinity in 1992.

While in seminary, he became the pastor of Irvington Friends Meeting in Indianapolis and began writing essays for the church’s newsletter. Pianist and broadcaster Paul Harvey, Jr. received those newsletters and shared them with a publisher. A few months later, the publisher invited Gulley to publish his essays, which resulted in Front Porch Tales, his first book in the best-selling Porch Talk series of inspirational and humorous essays. He has been writing ever since. An eclectic writer, Gulley has now published 20 books, including the acclaimed Harmony series, chronicling life in the eccentric Quaker community of Harmony, Indiana.

April Pulley Sayre, Genre Excellence Winner (Children’s Books)

April Pulley Sayre is an award-winning author/photo-illustrator best known for her lyrical, read aloud science. She is a native of Greenville, S.C., and currently resides in South Bend, Ind. Her recent works include Raindrops Roll, an ALA Notable/NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor book; and The Slowest Book Ever, a middle grade science book. With illustrator Steve Jenkins she created the ALA Notable picture books Woodpecker Wham, Eat Like a Bear, and Vulture View, a Theodor Geisel Honor Book.

Her book Stars Beneath Your Bed: the Surprising Story of Dust received the Best Picture Book of the year from AAAS/Subaru/Science Books and Films and she is a multiple honoree of the John Burroughs Award for natural history writing. Many of her works, including Rah, Rah, Radishes: A Vegetable Chant; Go, Go Grapes: a Fruit Chant; Best in Snow and Full of Fall were photographed in Indiana. Connect with her at, on Facebook at April Pulley Sayre, Children’s Author, or Twitter @AprilPSayre.

Sarah Gerkensmeyer headshot

Sarah Gerkensmeyer, Emerging Winner

Sarah Gerkensmeyer’s story collection, What You Are Now Enjoying, was selected by Stewart O’Nan as winner of the Autumn House Press Fiction Prize, longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and chosen as winner of Late Night Library’s Debut-litzer Prize. A Pushcart Prize nominee for both fiction and poetry and a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction and the Italo Calvino Prize for Fabulist Fiction, Gerkensmeyer’s stories and poetry have appeared in American Short Fiction, Guernica, The Massachusetts Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, B O D Y, Hobart, and Cream City Review, among others. Her story “Ramona” was featured in a Huffington Post piece on flash fiction and also chosen for the 2014 Best of the Net Anthology. Gerkensmeyer was a Pen Parentis Fellow and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellow. She received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University and now lives with her family in Indiana. More information at

Edward Kelsey Moore, Emerging Finalist

Edward Kelsey Moore is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), which has been published in translation in 11 countries, was named a 2013 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a 2014 First Novelist Award by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and was also a 2014 Illinois Reads book by the Illinois Reading Council.
Moore’s essays and short fiction have appeared in the New York Times and a number of literary magazines, including Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, African American Review, and Inkwell. His Pushcart Prize-nominated essay, “Piaf and Roadkill,” received an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award. In addition to his writing, Edward maintains a career as a professional cellist. He is a native of Indianapolis.

Bill Kenley, Emerging finalist

Bill Kenley is an English teacher at Noblesville High School and the author of High School Runner (Freshman). Three times voted by students of his high school as the school’s most inspiring and influential teacher, he writes primarily for a young adult audience. A graduate of Miami University with a Master’s in English Education from the Ohio State University, Kenley is also an avid runner with multiple Boston Marathons and a fifty-mile trail run under his belt.