40 books named to Indiana Authors Awards shortlists

The 2022 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards announce the shortlist of books eligible for top honors in its eight literary categories. Forty books written by Indiana authors and published in 2020 and 2021 have been shortlisted. Winners will be announced on Aug. 24. 

Shortlisted books were written by lifelong Hoosiers, professors at Indiana colleges and universities and former residents with a deep connection to Indiana. This year’s shortlists feature stories and poetry elevating the everyday and exploring the strange in Hoosier life. From books for our youngest readers to insightful scholarship on unexpected topics, the range of diverse voices recognized in the shortlists show that Indiana’s literary prowess persists and continues to grow. Whether exploring the local or looking out to the world, Indiana’s authors are claiming their place in the legacy of Midwestern writing about the history of this nation and our lives today.

The awards were established in 2009 as a vision of Eugene and Marilyn Glick and are a component of Indiana Humanities’ rich and diverse literary programming. Indiana Humanities with support from Glick Philanthropies confer awards every other year. Honorees have the opportunity to participate in an annual statewide speaker program and connect with readers, teachers and students.

“Having a vibrant community of writers and readers makes Indiana better,” said Marianne Glick, chair of the Glick Family Foundation and daughter of Eugene and Marilyn Glick. “One of the things I love is sending these authors out around the state to speak in lots of places that might not otherwise have that opportunity. I just know we’re inspiring people in all kinds of ways.”

Judges for the Indiana Authors Awards included former winners, writers, educators, scholars, local bookstore owners and librarians. Judges chose to shortlist books in the following categories: children’s, middle grade, young adult, poetry, genre, debut, fiction and nonfiction. Winners will be announced on Aug. 24 at 10 a.m. via social media and the IAA newsletter. Follow @INAuthorsAwards and sign up at www.IndianaAuthorsAwards.org to receive the announcement. 

“The well of new books with Indiana connections is deep and rich,” said Keira Amstutz, Indiana Humanities president and CEO. “Interest in the awards was high and the competition was considerable. Thanks to Glick Philanthropies, we are able to help readers connect with the works of Indiana authors and the incredible breadth of subjects, styles and genres in which they write.”

A Literary Champion — an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to Indiana’s literary community — and a Lifetime Achievement Winner — recognizing an author for superior literary achievements throughout a career — will be announced at 10 a.m. on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23, respectively. 

Shortlisted books in each category are listed below. 


  • Steve Beaven, who grew up in Evansville, spent time in Indianapolis and now lives in Portland, Ore., for We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland, which describes how the Evansville community recovered after a plane carrying the championship-winning University of Evansville basketball team and its coach crashed in 1977 just after takeoff, killing everyone onboard.
  • Ray Boomhower, Indianapolis, for Richard Tregaskis: Reporting Under Fire from Guadalcanal to Vietnam, about the award-winning war correspondent whose reporting from Guadalcanal during World War II and Cold War conflicts in Korea and Vietnam acknowledged the effects of war on the men who fought it.
  • Craig Fehrman, Bloomington, for Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wrote, the story of America’s presidents as authors. Addressing everything from beloved tomes to volumes lost to history, Author in Chief unearths insights about the presidents through their literary works and offers a window into their public and private lives.
  • James H. Madison, Bloomington, for The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland, the history of the creation and reign of the Ku Klux Klan through the lens of their operations in Indiana and the Midwest. Starting from the KKK’s roots in respectable white protestant society, the book offers a detailed account of the infamous organization and its echoes in America today.
  • Michella M. Marino, Indianapolis, for Roller Derby: The History of an American Sport, about the history and future of roller derby, a sport that has thrilled fans and skaters with its constant action, hard hits and edgy attitude. With a focus on gender equality, roller derby simultaneously challenged and conformed to social norms and created gender politics unlike those of traditional sex-segregated sports.
  • Ruth D. Reichard, Indianapolis, for Blood and Steel: Ryan White, the AIDS Crisis and Deindustrialization in Kokomo, Indiana. Set against the backdrop of the Reagan era and industrial shifts, Reichard’s book tells the story of a lethal new disease and the teenage patient who defiantly struggled against fear in his community.


  • Laird Hunt, who was raised on a farm near Kokomo and now lives in Providence, R.I., and teaches at Brown University, for Zorrie, the story of the tenacious Zorrie Underwood. The book presents a life that starts in hardscrabble Depression-era Indiana and ultimately is convulsed and transformed by events of the 20th century.
  • Angela Jackson-Brown, Bloomington, for When Stars Rain Down, the story of Opal Pruitt and the summer of 1936 in Parsons, Ga., where the arrival of the Ku Klux Klan shakes the tight-knit community and challenges unspoken codes of conduct in their post-Reconstruction town.
  • D.A. Lockhart, who lived in Indianapolis and graduated from Indiana University Bloomington and now lives in Windsor, Ontario, for Breaking Right, about ordinary Hoosiers whose extraordinary moments reveal complicated correlations between their beliefs, their relationships and the land beneath their feet.
  • Michael Martone, who was born in Fort Wayne and now lives in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for The Complete Writings of Art Smith, the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne. Inspired by the real-life pioneer of early aviation who invented the art of skywriting, this collection of stories forms a Midwestern mythology that celebrates facts, fiction and the impermanence of art.
  • Susan Neville, Indianapolis, for The Town of Whispering Dolls, stories about the residents of the rust belt town of Whispering Dolls, who dream of a fabled and illusory past even as new technologies reshape their world into something deeply strange.


  • Caleb Caudell, Indianapolis, for The Neighbor, an odyssey that follows a man who is out of cash and on the run, from his job, his neighbors, the cops and his life.
  • Christopher Elliott, Fort Wayne, for Before the Dream: Martin Luther King’s 1963 Speech, and Civil Rights Struggles in Fort Wayne, Indiana, an account of Dr. King’s speech in Fort Wayne on June 5, 1963, which was enthusiastically received by his supporters and met with resistance from his detractors, during one of the most turbulent years of the Civil Rights movement.
  • Ashley C. Ford, Indianapolis, for Somebody’s Daughter, a memoir about the complexity of childhood in a family fragmented by incarceration, the physical changes in adolescence that draw unwanted attention from men and a journey to bring together the threads of identity and understand complicated familial love.
  • Tyrone McKinley Freeman, Indianapolis, Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy During Jim Crow, a biography of America’s first self-made female millionaire in the early 1900s, and her activist philanthropy aimed at empowering African Americans and challenging the injustices inflicted by Jim Crow.
  • J.R. Jamison, Muncie, for Hillbilly Queer: A Memoir, an enduring love story between a conservative dad and gay son who find that sometimes the differences between us aren’t really that different at all.


  • Paul Allor, Indianapolis, for Hollow Heart, a graphic novel that uses a queer monster love story to examine the choices we make between giving loved ones what they want and giving them what we think they need.
  • Josh Dygert, Indianapolis, for the novel Stella, which follows a girl whose father disappears when he touches a meteor that lands in their cornfields, and her quest to discover the truth as a total eclipse approaches.
  • Sofi Keren, Indianapolis, for False Starts & Artichoke Hearts. This romance novel set in the world of fine dining finds Daniela and Jules both starting over and hoping that their pasts won’t stop them from building a future together.
  • Joseph Lee, Bloomington, for Forgiveness: The Story of Eva Kor, Survivor of The Auschwitz Twin Experiments. This illustrated biography of Eva Kor tells the story of a girl who found herself fighting to survive in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp and an adult in Terre Haute who discovered that forgiveness could save her life.
  • Steve Schatz, Bloomington, for Seashell Virgin: A Nacho Mama’s Patio Café Novel, a humorous novel in which a band of middle-aged friends from Nacho Mama’s Patio Café fight a scheme to close the area’s only gay bar and upend their town.
  • Larry D. Sweazy, Noblesville, for Winter Seeks Out the Lonely: A Sonny Burton Novel, about confronting corruption in a Texas town at the tail end of the Great Depression while also considering a chance at love.


  • Kaveh Akbar, West Lafayette, for Pilgrim Bell, a collection of poems that take readers on a spiritual journey of disavowal by daring to exist in the empty spaces where song lives.
  • Marianne Boruch, West Lafayette, for Bestiary Dark, poems that offer up strange and sweet details as well as beauty and impending doom while wrestling with the question of the world’s finite nature.
  • Ross Gay, Bloomington, for Be Holding, a lyrical love song to legendary basketball player Julius Erving — known as Dr. J — and how the imagination might bring us closer to each other.
  • Adrian Matejka, Indianapolis, for Somebody Else Sold the World, poems that meditate on the ways we exist in an uncontrollable world: in love and its aftermaths, in families that divide themselves, in protest-filled streets, in isolation as routines become obsolete because of lockdown orders and curfews.
  • Mark Neely, Muncie, for Ticker, a collection of poems that follows the life of its main character as he navigates marriage, children, aging parents, politics, race, religion, global catastrophe and the irrelevance of middle age.



  • John David Anderson, Indianapolis, for One Last Shot, a book in which Malcolm always feels like he doesn’t quite measure up … until he’s introduced to miniature golf and finds that it’s a perfect match.
  • Lisa Fipps, Kokomo, for Starfish, a poignant story about a girl who’s fat-shamed and does something about it.
  • Helen Frost, Fort Wayne, for All He Knew, a novel in verse inspired by true events about a young deaf boy during World War II, the sister who loves him, and the conscientious objector who helps him.
  • Rob Harrell, Zionsville, for Batpig: When Pigs Fly, a graphic novel featuring an unstoppable super-swine hero who boldly fights for justice as Batpig.
  • Laura Martin, Zionsville, for Glitch, a story about Glitchers — people who travel through time to preserve important historical events — and an impending disaster that threatens them and everyone they know. Can they come together to save the future?


  • Gabrielle Balkan, who grew up in Indianapolis and now lives in Brooklyn, for Whose Bones? An Animal Guessing Game, a playful, informative introduction to bones for the youngest readers.
  • Kim Howard, who grew up in LaPorte and now lives in Bloomington, for Grace and Box, a picture book in which a young girl befriends a box and they go on lively adventures together.
  • Kenneth Kraegel, who grew up in Mishawaka and now lives in Grand Rapids, Mich., This is a Book of Shapes, which begins as a standard book about everyone’s geometric favorites but soon defies expectations with a series of funny and imaginative twists.
  • Kekla Magoon, who grew up in Fort Wayne and now lives in Montpelier, Vt., for The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy, about Marshall’s vision for racial equality and how he was determined to do whatever it took to change unfair laws.
  • Rebecca Mullin, who grew up in Indianapolis and now lives in Eau Claire, Wis., for One Tomato: A Garden Counting Book, which introduces the shapes and concepts of the numbers in a fun walk through a garden.
  • Judith L. Roth, Elkhart, for Hiding Baby Moses, a lyrical retelling of the Old Testament story of baby Moses being hidden from the Pharaoh, told from the perspective of his protective older sister.

All shortlisted books can be found at Bookshop.org.

Watch as the winners are revealed live on Aug. 24!

Indiana Humanities will announce the winners of the Indiana Author Awards on Aug. 24 at 10am live on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. We’ll also announce a Literary Champion (an individual or organization that has made significant contributions to Indiana’s literary community) and a Lifetime Achievement winner (recognizing an author for superior literary achievements throughout a career) at 10am on Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 respectively.

About the Indiana Authors Awards

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards honor the best books written by Indiana authors. Awarded every two years, they celebrate Indiana writers, shine a light on the Hoosier state’s literary community and deepen connections between Indiana writers and readers. They were established in 2009 as a vision of Eugene and Marilyn Glick and are a component of Indiana Humanities’ rich and diverse literary programming.

About Glick Philanthropies 

Glick Philanthropies is a family of charitable initiatives, programs and organizations focused on building community and creating opportunity. Together, Glick Philanthropies strives to strengthen the quality of life in central Indiana and in communities where Gene B. Glick Company properties are located to ensure that people in those communities can reach their full potential and lead lives of dignity. Glick Philanthropies includes the Glick Family Foundation, the Glick Housing Foundation, the Glick Fund at Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Glick Fund at the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, the Far Eastside Success Initiative and TeenWorks. Since 1982, Glick Philanthropies has awarded over $275 million to charitable causes and has led a transformative effort to improve education and economic opportunity on Indianapolis’ far eastside where the Gene B. Glick Company was originally headquartered. For more information, visit GlickPhilanthropies.org.

About Indiana Humanities 

Indiana Humanities connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. Learn more at www.indianahumanities.org

Media Contact:

Marisol Gouveia

Director of Engagement, Indiana Humanities