Connecticut’s Literary Community Celebrates Notable Authors and Illustrators
September 14, 2021 • Ctr for Book, Features & News, Press Release

The 2021 Connecticut Book Awards, a program of the Connecticut Center for the Book, an affiliate program of the Library of Congress, and a core program of Connecticut Humanities, will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 22, 2021.

The Connecticut Book Awards recognize the best books of 2020 either about Connecticut or by authors and illustrators from Connecticut. Categories include Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Books for Young Readers.

Awards will also include the Bruce Fraser “Spirit of Connecticut” Award. This special award is in memory of longtime Connecticut Humanities director Bruce Fraser and celebrates Connecticut’s sense of place. Winners of all award categories will be announced at the event.

The Connecticut Center for the Book is also happy to report a new partnership with the Connecticut Literary Festival. This partnership will expand programming opportunities and allow for the expansion of creative and culturally relevant writing outside of just prose and poetry. We are thrilled to be able to join the Connecticut Literary Festival to expand the scope of the literary arts community in the state.

FINALISTS for 2021 (in alphabetical order by author’s last name)


Mill Town | Kerri Arsenault | Roxbury | MacMillan Press
God’s Shadow | Alan Mikhail | New Haven | W. W. Norton and Company
The Alchemy of Us | Ainissa Ramirez | New Haven | The MIT Press
American Rebels  | Nina Sankovitch | Westport | St. Martin’s Press
No Way but to Fight: George Foreman and the Business of Boxing | Andrew R. M. Smith | Woodstock | University of Texas Press


I Hear Their Voices Singing | Cortney Davis | Bethel | Antrim House
| Gray Jacobik | Deep River | CavenKerry Press
My Husband Would | Benjamin S. Grossberg | West Hartford | University of Tampa Press
Maps for Jackie | Jason Labbe | Bethany | BlazeVox
Edges & Fray: on language, presence, and (invisible) animal architectures | Danielle Vogel | Chester | Wesleyan University Press


Spindle City | Jotham Burrello | Ashford | Blackstone Publishing
All Girls | Emily Layden | Albany* | St. Martin’s Press
Riot Baby | Tochi Onyebuchi | New Haven | Tor Books
Musical Chairs | Amy Poeppel | Kent | Simon & Schuster
Father Guards the Sheep | Sari Rosenblatt | Middletown | University of Iowa Press

*Novel largely set in Connecticut

Young Readers


Cleo Porter and the Body Electric | Jake Burt | Hamden | Macmillan, Feiwel and Friends
Class Act | Jerry Craft | Norwalk HarperCollins Children’s Books
Dress Coded | Carrie Firestone | Avon | Putnam
From the Desk of Zoe Washington | Janae Marks | Fairfield | Katherine Tegen Books
The Last Tree Town | Beth Turley | Simon & Schuster


Accidental Archaeologists | Sarah Albee | Watertown | Scholastic
Albert Hopper, Science Hero | John Himmelman | Killingworth | Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Picture Books

Let’s Dance! | Valerie Bolling | Stamford | Author | Boyds Mills & Kane
Kindergarten Hat | Janet Lawler | Author | Farmington | Little Bee Books
The All-Together Quilt | Lizzy Rockwell | Author and Illustrator | Farmington | Alfred A. Knopf
Hazel and Twig: The Lost Egg | Brenna Burns Yu | New Haven | Candlewick Press

2021 Spirit of Connecticut Finalists


Hartford Seen | Pablo Delano | West Hartford | Wesleyan University Press
Paved Roads & Public Money | Richard Deluca | Chesire | Wesleyan University Press
The History of Steep Rock Association | Carol Bergren Santoleri | New Preston | Steep Rock Association
Creating Connecticut: Critical Moments that Shaped a Great State | Walter Woodward | Columbia | Globe Pequot Press


The Sea Glass Murders | Timothy Cole | Greenwich | Pace Press

Young Readers

Lois’s Story: A Young Girls’ Inspiration Helps to Stop Hate and Fear | Ed Edelson | Southbury | Amazon


Coming Through | Rennie McQuilkin | Bloomfield | Antrim House


About Connecticut Humanities

Connecticut Humanities (CTH) is a nonprofit affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through competitive grantmaking, its website, and social media channels, CTH highlights cultural and educational events and is an advocate for the humanities.

About Connecticut Center for the Book

Connecticut Center for the Book is a program of Connecticut Humanities and is Connecticut’s affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Its mission is to celebrate books, writers, and readers who engender and sustain the life of the imagination and to highlight authors, illustrators, printers, publishers, and the literary heritage of the State of Connecticut.

About The Library of Congress Center for the Book

The Library of Congress Center for the Book promotes books and libraries, literacy and reading, as well as poetry and literature.

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