The 2008 Best Books of Indiana were named recently at an awards ceremony at the Indiana State Library. Started in 2005 by the Indiana Center for the Book, the state book award contest is designed to strengthen interest in Indiana's strong literary heritage.
The competition has four categories, children's/young adult, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. A panel of judges in each category looked at all entries judging books on the quality of writing, organization and interpretation.
Books by Indiana authors or about Indiana, published between January 1 and December 31 of the previous year were eligible.
"It is always a privilege to recognize, promote and honor Indiana authors," said Roberta Brooker, Indiana State Librarian.
"This year's finalists will join the works of great Hoosier authors like Gene Stratton Porter, Meredith Nicholson, James Whitcomb Riley and Kurt Vonnegut, among many others, in their new permanent home within Indiana Authors room."
The following books received highest honor:
Best Book of Indiana-Fiction is "Breathing Out the Ghost" by Kirk Curmutt, Montgomery, Ala. And Best Book of Indiana--Nonfiction went to "Sailing the Inland Sea" by Susan Neville, Indianapolis.
Best Book of Indiana--Children's Literature went to "When I Crossed No-Bob" by Margaret McMullan, Evansville and the State Librarian's Award for Excellence in Nontraditional Literature went to Day Dreamer to Dream Catcher by Joe Cooper, Indianapolis as told to Suzanne Bailer Smith, Noblesville.
Each category's winning title and author will be engraved on a plaque in the Indiana Authors Room. Two copies of all 2008 competition entries have been added to the State Library's collection.
One of each copy will circulate. Indiana citizens can borrow any Best Books of Indiana title at the State Library or request it via interlibrary at their local public library.
A complete listing of this year's finalists and past winners and finalists is available on the Indiana Center for the Book's Web site at www.in.gov/library/.