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Thursday, April 29, 2021


 Winners announced June 26, social media premiere with book giveaways to follow.


[EMPORIA, KS]—[April 29, 2021] —Three books released by Meadowlark Press in 2020 were named finalists in the the 31st annual Midwest Book Awards. In the Mystery category, All Hallows’ Shadows, the third book in the Pete Stone series, by Michael D. Graves, Emporia, was a finalist. In fiction for Youth Adults, two of the three titles making the list were published by Meadowlark: A Time for Tears, by Jerilynn Jones Henrikson, Emporia, and Opulence, Kansas, by Julie Stielstra, Lyons, Illinois. The awards program, which is organized by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPA), recognizes quality independent publishing in the Midwest.

“In so many ways, 2020 was a rough year for publishing. We did not get to have any of our usual release parties as social distancing restrictions upended our usual routes of getting books into the hands of readers. But we continued to focus on the quality of our product, and, quite honestly, our 2020 books are some of the best we’ve produced yet. All of our authors are award winners from where I stand but making the finalists list for the Midwest Book Awards is a wonderful bit of recognition. We have so many quality stories being written by Kansans and about Kansas,” said Tracy Simmons, publisher, Meadowlark Press.

The 31st annual Midwest Book Awards was open to books published and copyrighted in 2020 in MiPA’s 12-state Midwestern region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

This year’s competition garnered 241 entries in 35 categories, submitted by 74 independent publishers and judged by a panel of nearly one hundred librarians and booksellers from throughout the Midwest.

Historically, an awards gala is held in Minneapolis to announce the winners, but this year, as in 2020, winners will be announced and celebrated online, first in a Zoom webinar open to MiPA members and finalists, and shortly thereafter in a social media premiere that can be shared with friends and family. A period of book giveaways and winner highlights will accompany the social media premiere.

“This shift to celebrating online has enabled us to engage with a larger publishing community throughout the Midwest,” said Jennifer Baum, executive director of MiPA. “The number of entries received in 2020 grew by about 25% compared to the prior year, which can be attributed to our greater online presence.”

Following the conclusion of the gala celebrations, winners will be encouraged to participate in MiPA’s second season of the Virtual Reading Series, a limited series launched last year on MiPA’s YouTube channel.

Finalist books will also be for sale in MiPA’s affiliate shop on Bookshop.org, a website that shares proceeds with independent booksellers. Buyers can opt to select which independent store will receive the commission, or to leave it in a general pool to be distributed among independent booksellers.

For a complete list of finalists, visit www.mipa.org/midwest-book-awards. Follow @MIPAMidwestBookAwards on Facebook for updates on the gala’s social media premiere and book giveaways.

The Midwest Book Awards, which began in 1989, recognizes the best independent literature to come out of the Midwest each year and is organized by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association (MiPA). Founded in 1984, MiPA exists today as a vibrant professional nonprofit association made up of traditional presses, university presses, author-publishers, hybrid presses and related support industries, such as graphic designers and printers. MiPA serves the Midwest independent publishing community through regular educational programming, networking and peer recognition.


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