Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author to be announced Wednesday, April 16


Soon To Be Famous Authors pics


Announcement of the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author next Wednesday, April 16, 2 p.m. Central Time, RAILS Burr Ridge


Register to Attend the Announcement Event                    


Watch the Event Live Online (will be live at 1:55 pm)


This email is being sent to all libraries that nominated an author for the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project.  We have attempted to reach both the nominator and the director.


At the onset, thank you!  Bob Doyle, Illinois Library Association Executive Director, said, "The purpose of this exciting project is twofold—give a talented author exposure and spotlight the importance of libraries to literature efforts.” This project, while still unfinished, could not have moved forward had not Illinois library colleagues shared this vision. 


Three finalists (photos above) have been selected from 15 round two authors that were selected from the original 103 statewide entries (see map below) submitted to the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project.  We thank our 23 librarian judges who served from a variety of library types from across the state.  The finalists are Rick Polad, Carol Stream, nominated by the Phillips Library at Aurora University for his book Change of Address; Mary Hutchings Reed, Chicago, nominated for her work Warming Up by the Mount Prospect Public Library; and Joanne Zienty, Wheaton, nominated by the Forest School Library in Des Plaines for her book The Things We Save.  To read their personal statements, please visit


The winner will be announced at a reception during National Library Week on Wednesday, April 16, at 2 p.m. at the RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) Administrative Offices at 125 Tower Drive in Burr Ridge.  David Vinjamuri, brand expert and NYU professor who inspired the project, will present the award.  Vinjamuri spoke eloquently about the importance of libraries in the era of eBooks and branding at the American Library Association’s annual conference last summer.  “David made the point again and again about how libraries are instrumental in promoting reading and literature. He issued a challenge to libraries to find an unknown talented Illinois author that will become a success based on librarians’ recommendations,” said Illinois Library Association Executive Director Robert Doyle.


Steve Bertrand, host of Bertrand on Books on WGN Radio (720 AM) will interview the winning author.  Bertrand’s interviews with authors are featured on the Kathy and Judy Show on Saturday mornings between 10 a.m. and noon and posted on WGN’s website in their entirety.  He has interviewed top writers including Scott Turow, Jackie Collins, Lisa Gardner, and Sara Paretsky. 


Please attend the event or watch it online.


We are also asking Illinois libraries to assist us in making this author famous.  Please buy and promote the book.  EBooks and printed books will be available to purchase from this author for your library.  We will also be scheduling author visits in person and via the web.  “Libraries and librarians are experts at recognizing exceptional literature and promoting the works of authors,” said Dee Brennan, Executive Director of RAILS.


Again, as we move into the next exciting phase of this powerful project, we thank all of you, RAILS, ILA, Heartland, CPL, Jeanne Hamilton, ALA and PLA. We also send out a huge thank you to all of our librarian judges and the many emerging Illinois authors who create engaging stories for others to enjoy.


Sue Wilsey, Niles Public Library
Cris Cigler, Fox River Valley Public Library District
Julie Stam, Eisenhower Public Library District
Donna Fletcher, Donna E. Fletcher Consulting, Inc.
Nikki Zimmermann, La Grange Public Library
Anita Quinlan, Plainfield Public Library
Liz Clemmons, Gail Borden Public Library
Denise Raleigh, Gail Borden Public Library


Inline image 2Nominations received from across the state. Thank you.