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a program of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation

the WINNERS

Congratulations to the 2018 National, Regional and Lifetime Achievement Award winners! The Award Dinner celebrating their literary contributions will be held on Saturday, October 13, 2018. 


National Author Winner

Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Brubaker-Bradley-photo-for-website.jpg#aKimberly Brubaker Bradley is the #1 New York Times bestselling author and Newbery Honor Medalist of The War That Saved My Life, The War I Finally Won, and 15 other books for young readers. She was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, near the setting for her first novel, Ruthie's Gift, and lived in Indianapolis for several years with her husband and young family until moving to a farm outside Bristol, Tennessee, where she now lives. She has a grown son and daughter, five small nephews, several horses (most retired), a new puppy, and more cats than she ever thought she'd acquire. She loves to travel and to find unexpected stories in every-day history. Visit her online at www.kimberlybrubakerbradley.wordpress.com. 



Regional Author Winner

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Sasso-photo-for-website.jpg#asset:585Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso served as Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, Indianapolis from 1977- 2013.  She currently is the director of the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative at IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute. Sasso is active in the arts, civic and interfaith communities and has written and lectured on women, spirituality and the discovery of the religious imagination in children.  She co-founded Women4Change Indiana in 2017.

Sasso is an author of two books for adults and sixteen award-winning children’s books, including two starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and the 2006 Best Books of Indiana Award.  Four of her books are awaiting release in 2018 and 2019.  She is the recipient of the “Sagamore of the Wabash”, the Heritage Keepers Award from the Indiana State Museum and The Spirit of the Prairie Award from Conner Prairie. She received a National Jewish Book Award in 2013.  She and husband, Dennis were designated as Interfaith Ambassadors of the Year by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation in Indiana.

Rabbi Sasso was the first woman ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the first to serve a Conservative congregation.  Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and her husband, Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso, are the first practicing rabbinical couple in world Jewish history.  They are the parents of two children, David and Debbie (Brad) and grandparents of Darwin, Ari and Levi. Visit her online at www.allaboutand.com


Lifetime Achievement Award Author Honoree

James Alexander Thom

Thom-updated-photo.JPG#asset:586James Alexander Thom has lived in the Southern Indiana woods so long, he has moss growing on his north side.

He was born in Owen County 85 years ago and still resides there, in a log house he built himself. He expects to die there, but has been a procrastinator all his life and just keeps putting it off.

The oldest son of two country doctors, he joined the Marines for the Korean War, returned to study English and Journalism at Butler University, became a reporter and columnist for The Indianapolis STAR, then a freelance magazine writer, and a lecturer in the Indiana University School of Journalism, before turning full-time to the writing of frontier and Indian Wars history.

Mr. Thom blames Mark Twain and Herman Melville more than anybody for making him decide to be a writer.

He blames his ancestors for his fascination with American history, as they were always neck-deep in it, from Nantucket whaling to soldiering in every conflict from the Revolutionary War on down. His namesake was killed at the Battle of Fredericksburg, his great grandfather survived Andersonville prison camp, and his father was an Army officer in both World Wars. A lifetime of studying America's wars eventually turned James Thom into a hardened pacifist.

Mr. Thom's carefully researched novels have sold more than two million copies, and two of them were made into television films by Ted Turner and by Hallmark. As a sideline, he wrote, edited and illustrated a magazine of humor and inspiration, NUGGETS, for 25 years.

His 1981 novel Follow the River was a New York Times bestseller and is now in its 50th printing. Panther in the Sky, his biographical novel about Shawnee chieftain Tecumseh, won the Western Writers of AmericaSPUR Award for best novel in 1989. His years of research among Shawnee Indians for that book led to his marriage to Dark Rain, with whom he co-authored the 2003 novel Warrior Woman.

Mr. Thom was named a "Sagamore of the Wabash" by Governor Otis Bowen in 1978, was awarded a doctorate of letters by Butler University in 1995, and was the inaugural winner of the Indiana Author Award  in 2009. His 2011 history-writing textbook was chosen best nonfiction book of that year by the Indiana State Library, and he has been inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame. Among his most cherished awards are blankets and eagle feathers bestowed by American Indian tribal leaders in appreciation of his portrayals of their ancestors and cultures.

He is a longtime environmental writer, tree-hugger, and anti-war activist, and has been active in programs of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library since its founding.

His three most recent books were productions of Cardinal Publishing Group here in Indianapolis.

An artist and sculptor, Mr. Thom has illustrated three books and several magazine articles, and is presently doing illustrations for one of his children's books. Meanwhile, he is trying to write a big new American Indian novel which he hopes he can finish before he wakes up and smells the coffin. Visit him online at www.jamesalexanderthom.com


Congratulations to the past winners of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award. These authors represent some of the best that Indiana literature has to offer and are truly deserving of recognition.

View a complete list of all winners and finalists.

Click here for a complete list of all public library grant recipients.