Shari Wagner is thrilled and honored to have her book shortlisted for the Indiana Authors Award in poetry.
“Every year, so many wonderful books by Indiana poets are published that having ‘The Farm Wife’s Almanac’ on the shortlist is incredibly meaningful to me,” she said. “In past years, I have been nominated and considered for the Indiana Authors Award, but the format was very different. Instead of being focused on different literary genres, awards were divided into national, regional and emerging author categories. The shortlists also are something new this year.
“I really appreciate both changes. The shortlists give public recognition to more writers, and the new categories highlight the importance of each genre.”
Wagner, a Westfield resident, is one of three Hamilton County authors on the 2020 Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards’ shortlist of books eligible for top honors in its seven literary categories: children’s, young adult, poetry, genre, emerging, nonfiction and fiction. The other authors are Noblesville resident Larry Sweazy (genre) and Carmel resident Bill Sullivan (nonfiction). Thirty-seven books written by Indiana authors and published in 2018 and 2019 have been shortlisted for the awards, which will be announced Sept. 1.
Sweazy said having his book “See Also Proof: A Marjorie Trumaine Mystery,” shortlisted is a huge honor.
“The seven categories allow for more writers and books to be brought to the attention of local readers,” he said. “There is a deep pool of literary talent in Indiana, and these awards are proof of that.”
The shortlisted books were written by lifelong Hoosiers, professors at Indiana colleges and universities, former residents and others with a deep connection to Indiana.
Each category winner receives a $5,000 cash prize, a handcrafted limestone award and the opportunity to make a $500 donation to an Indiana library of their choice. Awards are now made every other year. In between award years, starting in 2021, local honorees will have the opportunity to participate in a statewide tour to connect.
“I love that the honorees will have the opportunity to take a statewide tour to connect with readers, teachers and students,” Wagner said. “My favorite part of serving as Indiana Poet Laureate (2016-2017) was sharing my love for poetry with people throughout the state, especially at libraries and schools. A statewide book tour will be a terrific way to introduce people to the literature being created locally, in their home state, and to get young people excited about reading and writing.”
Sweazy, who has published 15 novels, called the tour a great idea.
“Introducing writers to the state, to libraries and to readers is extremely important,” he said. “It lets people know how many good writers there really are in Indiana. It’s nice for your hometown to know that your books exist and sit on the shelves next to more well-known authors.”