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Book Club Mon Dec 16 2013

Chicago Writers Association 3rd Annual Book of the Year Awards


The Chicago Writers Association has announced the winners of its 3rd Annual Book of the Year Awards. Categories included Traditional Fiction; Non-Traditional Fiction; Traditional Non-Fiction; and Non-Traditional Non-Fiction.

The winner in the category of Traditional Fiction was Susan Nussbaum for Good Kings Bad Days, which follows a group of teens in a home for juveniles with disabilities. The book, Nussbaum's first novel, is also the winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Nussbaum is a playwright and disability rights activist.

The Non-Traditional Fiction category was awarded to 30 Days to Empathy, a collaborative, crowdsourced novel written by 31 Whitney Young High School students ("The 31") and edited by their teacher, Jay C. Rehak. 30 Days to Empathy tells the tale of high school student Jake Hollomon as he discovers the meaning of empathy by spending a day as each of his classmates.

Bree Housley took the award for Traditional Non-Fiction for We Hope You Like This Song. The book is a memoir about her relationship with her best friend since childhood, who died prematurely from complications from preeclampsia, a potentially fatal condition in pregnant women. (Gaper's Block's Lara Levitan recently interviewed Housely here.)

The award for Non-Traditional Non-Fiction went to Any Road Will Take You There by David W. Berner. Inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Berner embarks on a 5000- mile road trip on which he explores the many issues that arise between fathers and sons, as well as the legacies that fathers leave behind.

An awards ceremony will take place on January 18 at the Book Cellar where authors will read from their work and autograph books. The event is free and open to the public.

Image courtesy of Chicago Writers Association

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