This year’s People’s Choice Awards nominations from the Library of Virginia feature two of my favorites: Leah Weiss of Lynchburg and Roanoke native Liza Mundy in respective fiction and non-fiction categories.
Leah’s book–which I’ve been raving about since long before it was in print–is If the Creek Don’t Rise, her first commercially published work of fiction. It is a lyrical mountain tale that I’ve compared to To Kill a Mockingbird, and that ain’t rhetorical overkill. boys and girls.Leah’s writing is simply superb and is an especially great summer read (going to the beach?).
Liza’s Code Girls is a fine historical work about the little-known contribution to the Allied efforts in World War II by a group of several thousand women who helped break Nazi and Japanese codes–in utter secret. Several of the women Liza writes about are from this region, so it feels almost like a local history, though it’s a significant national piece. Liza, a former Washington Post feature writer, is not at all new to the book circuit, either.
The original nomination list for fiction was 34 books, including one by John Grisham, who didn’t make the cut.
You can stuff the ballot box by weighing in on these books at the Library of Virginia website (vote here). Truth be told, I don’t know how anybody but Leah and Liza can win these babies. Their books are easily a lap or two better than the competition. But, hey, that’s why they play the game.
You will note that four of the fiction nominees are from Charlottesville (not including Grisham, who lives there).
This year’s fiction finalists for the People’s Choice Awards are:
- Love Big, Be Well: Letters to a Small-Town Church by Winn Collier, a Charlottesville minister.
- Say Nothing by Brad Parks, a former Post reporter who lives in the Shenandoah Valley
- The War Bride’s Scrapbook: A Novel in Pictures by Caroline Preston of Charlottesville
- Best Intentions by Erika Raskin of Charlottesville
- If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss of Lynchburg
This year’s nonfiction finalists for the People’s Choice Awards are:
- The Dooleys of Richmond: An Irish Immigrant Family in the Old and New South Mary Lynn Bayliss of Richmond
- Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar of Rutgers University and Philadelphia
- An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan of Charlottesville
- Patrick Henry: Champion of Liberty by Jon Kukla of Richmond (his last three works were published by the Library of Virginia)
- Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy of D.C., a Roanoke native
The winners will be recognized on Saturday, October 20, 2018, at the 21st Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards Celebration presented by Dominion Energy. Each winner will receive an engraved crystal book and a monetary prize of