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This one’s going out to those of you who may have wondered why all the major book awards seem to come from places other than Chicago. Considering the breadth and depth of the literary landscape here, it’s a bit shocking that we have so few awards to name off the top of our heads. Introducing the Chicago Review of Books

Awards. As they say on their website about the awards:

“. . . the Chicago Review of Books – in partnership with Chicago’s independent bookstores – wants to recognize Chicago-land authors and help them reach more bookshelves across the city, the country, and the world.

This fall, the inaugural Chicago Review of Books Awards (‘Chirbys,’ for short) will celebrate the best books published in 2016 by writers in the Chicago Metropolitan Area.”

They go on to mention that the winners in each category will be announced live on Dec. 8 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Volumes Bookcafe in Wicker Park, at a free public awards ceremony and book signing that will feature panel conversations between some of the authors In each category about their books, writing process, and Chicago inspirations.

So what are the books up for contention that you should know? Here⁳ the full list (with special notes on which of the authors live or work in Evanston):

Best FictionJesse Ball, How to Set a Fire and WhyWesley Chu, Time SeigeGina Frangello, Every Kind of WantingAbby Geni, The Lightkeepers (<– ETHS alum)Mary Robinette Kowal, Ghost TalkersChristine Sneed, The Virginity of Famous Men: Stories (<– She lives in Evanston!)Best PoetryKevin Coval and Nate Marshall, 1989: The NumberTony Fitzpatrick, The Secret BirdsPhillip B. Williams, Thief in the InteriorAbigail Zimmer, Child in a Winter House BrighteningBest DebutKim Brooks, The Houseguest Jessica Chiarella, And AgainMaryse Meijer, Heartbreaker: StoriesAda Palmer, Too Like the LighteningMartin Seay, The Mirror ThiefT. Sean Steele, Tacky GoblinBest Creative NonfictionChris Abani, The Face: Cartography of the Void (<– Mr. Abani is a Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University)Ethan Michaeli, The Defender Natalie Y. Moore, The South SideToni Nealie, The Miles Between MeMary Wisniewski, Algren: A LifeZoe Zolbrod, The Telling (<– She lives in Evanston!)

Betsy Bird

Betsy Bird is the Collection Development Manager of Evanston Public Library.