Announcing the 2019 Literary Award Winners

Posted by Brigitte Rupp Vacha on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 in Awards

Chloe Benjamin Wins Literary Prize from the Wisconsin Library Association
For Her Novel: The Immortalists

The Literary Awards Committee of the Wisconsin Library Association is pleased to announce that Chloe Benjamin’s novel The Immortalists is the Literary Award winner for 2019. The award is for the highest literary achievement by a Wisconsin author for a work written in 2018. 

The Immortalists follows the lives of four siblings living in New York’s Lower East Side in 1969. Drawn to a mystic woman who claims to divine the date of one’s death, the Gold children learn their futures. The prophecies hang over the Gold family for the next forty years as they grapple with choices over fate, science versus nurture and what they owe to themselves and each other. Author and retired professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin Judith Claire Mitchell called The Immortalists “a beautifully written page-turner…a thoughtful and tender look at how we live our lives in our fraught and perilous times.” 

In addition to The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin is the author of The Anatomy of Dreams, which won the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Prize. She has an MFA from the University of Wisconsin and lives in Madison with her husband. 

The Literary Awards Committee also selected eight books by Wisconsin authors for Outstanding Achievement. These titles, all published in 2018, are: 

The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah BlumA Lucky Man: Stories by Jamel Brinkley
Paris by the Book by Liam Callanan
Florida by Lauren Groff
How Are You Going to Save Yourself by J. M. Holmes
The Philosopher’s Flight by Tom Miller
Light It Up by Nick Petrie
What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan 

The committee also recognized seven collections of Outstanding Poetry. They are: 

The Arrows That Choose Us by Marilyn Annucci
Caught Between Coasts:  Collected Poems, 1989-2018 by Jan Chronister
At the End of the War by DeWitt Clinton
Under the Tail of the Milky Way Galaxy by Ethel Mortenson Davis
Walking Backwards:  Poems, 1966-2016 by John Koethe
A Stone to Carry Home by Andrea Potos
Midwest Medley:  People and Places, Wild Things and Weather by Patricia Williams 

The Literary Awards Committee designated three authors as Notable Wisconsin Authors this year. Designed to promote greater awareness of the state’s literary heritage, the award recognizes an author’s entire body of work. This year’s Notable Authors are: 

Ellen Kort
Michael Perry
Michelle Wildgen

The 2019 Literary Awards Committee members are comprised of active and retired librarians from across the state. For more information about the Literary Awards, visit 

The Wisconsin Library Association engages, inspires and advocates for library workers and supporters to improve and promote library services for the people of Wisconsin.

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