CWW Announces 2012 Wisconsin Writers Award Winners, Hamilton Receives Highest Honor
The Council for Wisconsin Writers is proud to present its highest honor, the Major Achievement Award for work of outstanding merit, to novelist Jane Hamilton, who will keynote CWW’s awards banquet, 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Wisconsin Club in Milwaukee. The award is being presented in memory of CWW friend and colleague Thomas J. Bontly, who passed away last year.
Hamilton, who lives on an orchard in Rochester, Wisconsin, is author of six novels, including the award-winning The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, both Oprah Book Club selections. Her most recent novel, published by Grand Central, is Laura Rider’s Masterpiece. Her sharply drawn characters and poignant story lines depict real people struggling with the complexities and tragedies of ordinary life. Her award will include $1000 and a week-long writer’s residency at Shake Rag Alley or Maplewood Lodge in Mineral Point.
At the banquet, the CWW will also award prizes in eight literary categories for this year’s Wisconsin Writers Awards. Sixteen distinguished writers will be honored for work published in 2012 and chosen by out-of-state judges. The first prize winner in each category will receive $500 and a week-long residency in Mineral Point. Honorable mentions will receive $50.
Shauna Singh Baldwin of Milwaukee, author of The Selector of Souls, published by Random House of Canada, will receive the Anne Powers Fiction Book Award for her novel interweaving the lives of her two main characters over the course of a turbulent decade for women in 1990s India. Honorable mention goes to Paul Salsini of Milwaukee for The Temptation of Father Lorenzo (iUniverse), featuring characters from his prize-winning Tuscan trilogy.
The Tofte/Wright Children’s Award winner is Kathleen Ernst for Meet Caroline (American Girl Co.), a story of historical fiction about a 9-year old American girl living on the shore of Lake Ontario in 1812. Honorable mention goes to Isabella Fontaine, who lives on a farm in rural Wisconsin, and Ken Brosky, who lives in Madison, for volume 1 of The Grimm Chronicles (Brew City Press), stories about fairytale characters released into real life.
The Posner Poetry Book Award winner is Sarah Busse, co-poet laureate of Madison and co-editor of Verse Wisconsin, for her book Somewhere Piano, published by Mayapple Press. James Pollock of Madison receives honorable mention for Sailing to Babylon, published by Able Muse Press.
The Kenneth Kingery/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award will go to David McGlynn of Appleton for his memoir A Door in the Ocean (Counterpoint Press), which traces his journey from competitive swimming and family tragedy through radical evangelicalism and adult life. Jim Draeger of Monona and Mark Speltz of Madison will share honorable mention for their book Bottoms Up: A Toast to Wisconsin’s Historic Bars & Breweries (Wisconsin Historical Society Press).
The Larry and Eleanor Sternig Award for Short Fiction will be given to Jeff Esterholm of Superior for “Mrs. Weir,” published by Midwestern Gothic in its nostalgia-themed issue. Karen Loeb’s “Housewarming,” appearing in Thema, receives an honorable mention. Loeb lives in Eau Claire.
George Johnson of Madison is winner of the Kay Levin Award for Short Nonfiction for his piece, “The American Pearl Rush: Its Wisconsin Beginnings,” about freshwater pearls discovered in 1889 in the Sugar River at Albany. His account was published in the Wisconsin Magazine of History. Honorable mention goes to Tom Matthews of Wauwatosa for his piece, “Almost Famous,” published in Milwaukee Magazine, a profile of a long-time musician from Milwaukee, Paul Cebar.
The Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award for five poems goes to Kara Candito of Madison, where she co-curates the Monsters of Poetry series; honorable mention to Amie Whittemore of Racine.
The Ellis/Henderson Outdoor Writing Award goes to Tom Davis of Green Bay for his essay “Ghosts of the Little Sioux,” which appeared in Pointing Dog Journal. Steven Dewald of La Crosse will receive honorable mention for his book Under a Poacher’s Moon: Stories of a Wisconsin Game Warden (self-published with Create Space).
The CWW Essay Award for Young Writers of $250 goes to Tatiana Lyons of Madison West High School for her essay “The Greatest Wizard in South Dakota.” Honorable mention and $50 goes to Elijah Carrel, also of Madison West, for his essay “Thank You, Christopher Columbus.”
The public is cordially invited to hear Jane Hamilton and these other fine Wisconsin writers at the Council’s May 11 awards banquet. Reservation forms can be found at the website, www.wiswriters.org. More information about the winners and contest judges can be found at the Awards link on the website.