Click here for more details about the award, the books, and their authors.
Here is a picture of a few of us judges who made it to the event. It was nice that some of us could make it. I am the second from the left.
As the announcement event went on, the three finalists were sitting in front of us as you can see here. Each was in front of a blow up of the cover of their book. I felt for them though. The wait must have been insufferable. But as you can see in the picture below, they were very happy to be here.
David Vinjamuri got up to talk about how he was surprised, but proud to have inspired a contest that is promising to make someone famous. He talked, among other topics, about how the public library is one of the most trusted institutions in America. How great it is that we are confident in our talent to evaluate materials and take a stand publicly to say that this book is good and you should read it.
After 2 representatives from the award committee came up to give background on how we got here today, David came back to introduce each writer and read something from the nominated book. And then each author had a chance to talk to us.
First up was the lone male author, Rick Polad, the author of Change of Address: A Spencer Manning Mystery. [Ed note, since I read an author provided Kindle copy of each novel, I have linked each title to Amazon.]
Next we had Mary Hutchings Reed author of Warming Up.
And the last finalist, Joanne Zienty, author of The Things We Save.
I got her sitting because she was framed so nicely from where I was sitting, but she too got up and talked to us.
As the rules of this award stipulated, the book needed to be sponsored by a library and it had to be self published, so it came as no surprise to me that each of the authors had a life long connection to the public library.
Zienty, specifically, had her book reviewed by PW Select and was surprised to find it had been purchased by some public libraries, as far away as Maine. She spoke eloquently about how I’m
David came back to remind us all that the announcement of the winner is only the beginning of our job as Illinois librarians.
And then he announced the winner...Joanne Zienty! Here is her initial reaction.
She then shared the story of how she tried to get her local library to nominate her, but due to the polar vortex, at the last moment, she had to nominate herself [she is a librarian].
You can look for more info by following #soontobefamous. There you can find the live stream and lots more photos and links there.