Recent Award-Winners

MSU Press is pleased to present our latest award winners.

2022 Silver Nautilus Book Award in Lyric Prose

The Accidental Reef and Other Ecological Odysseys in the Great Lakes

by Lynne Heasley

In The Accidental Reef and Other Ecological Odysseys in the Great Lakes, Lynne Heasley illuminates an underwater world that, despite a ferocious industrial history, remains wondrous and worthy of care. From its first scene in a benighted Great Lakes river, where lake sturgeon thrash and spawn, this powerful book takes readers on journeys through the Great Lakes, alongside fish and fishers, scuba divers and scientists, toxic pollutants and threatened communities, oil pipelines and invasive species, Indigenous peoples and federal agencies. With dazzling illustrations from Glenn Wolff, the book helps us know the Great Lakes in new ways and grapple with the legacies and alternative futures that come from their abundance of natural wealth.

2022 Michigan Notable Book Award

Pewabic Pottery The American Arts & Crafts Movement Expressed in Clay
by Thomas W. Brunk

Founded by Mary Chase Perry and Horace James Caulkins in Detroit at the turn of the twentieth century, Pewabic produced simple objects with unique glazes rooted in ceramic history, yet freshly made their own. This chronological history of Pewabic work—the most extensive study published to date—focuses primarily on the pottery as operated by Perry and Caulkins, and then goes up through the beginning of the Pewabic Society Inc. in 1979. It offers a fascinating, in-depth exploration of the various aspects of the history of Pewabic Pottery, from the personal lives of its founders and prominent potters to discussions of tiles and glazes and finally to Pewabic Pottery’s place at Michigan State University. Authored by the most recognized scholar on Pewabic Pottery, this study relies heavily on archival sources to achieve a comprehensive history of one of Michigan’s most interesting art studios.

2022 Michigan Notable Book Award

Day of Days
By John Smolens

In the spring of 1927, Andrew Kehoe, the treasurer for the school board in Bath, Michigan, spent weeks surreptitiously wiring the public school, as well as his farm, with hundreds of pounds of dynamite. The explosions on May 18, the day before graduation, killed and maimed dozens of children, as well as teachers, administrators, and village residents, including Kehoe’s wife, Nellie. A respected member of the community, Kehoe himself died when he ignited his truck, which he had loaded with crates of explosives and scrap metal. Decades later, one survivor, Beatrice Marie Turcott, recalls the spring of 1927 and how this haunting experience leads her to the conviction that one does not survive the present without reconciling hard truths about the past. In its portrayal of several Bath school children, Day of Days examines how such traumatic events scar one’s life long after the dead are laid to rest and physical wounds heal, and how an anguished but resilient American village copes with the bombing, which at the time seemed incomprehensible, and yet now may be considered a harbinger of the future.

2022 The Inside Scoop Live Award for the Most Innovative Book of Poetry

2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award, Honorable Mention in Home

2022 Gold Award—Poetry Reader Views Literary Award

2021 Finalist, American Book Fest: Best Book Awards, Poetry

2021  Finalist: 2021 American Writing Awards, Poetry

Poems by Daniel Lassell

The first-ever poetry book set on a llama farm, Daniel Lassell’s debut collection, Spit, examines the roles we play within the act of belonging. It is a portrait of a boy living on a farm populated with chickens sung to sleep by lullaby, captive wolves next door that attack a child, and a herd of llamas learning to survive despite coyotes and a chaotic family. The collection in part explores the role of the body in health and illness, and one’s treatment of the earth and others. A theme of spirituality also weaves throughout the collection as the speaker treks into adulthood, yearning for peace amid the decline of his parents’ marriage.

2021 Honorable Mention Syrian Studies Association Book & Article Prize

The Resistance Network

The Armenian Genocide and Humanitarianism in Ottoman Syria, 1915-1918
By Khatchig Mouradian

The Resistance Network is the history of an underground network of humanitarians, missionaries, and diplomats in Ottoman Syria who helped save the lives of thousands during the Armenian Genocide. Khatchig Mouradian challenges depictions of Armenians as passive victims of violence and subjects of humanitarianism, demonstrating the key role they played in organizing a humanitarian resistance against the destruction of their people. Piecing together hundreds of accounts, official documents, and missionary records, Mouradian presents a social history of genocide and resistance in wartime Aleppo and a network of transit and concentration camps stretching from Bab to Ras ul-Ain and Der Zor. He ultimately argues that, despite the violent and systematic mechanisms of control and destruction in the cities, concentration camps, and massacre sites in this region, the genocide of the Armenians did not progress unhindered—unarmed resistance proved an important factor in saving countless lives.

2021 James A. Winans-Herbert A. Wichelns Memorial Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address

Intellectual Populism

Democracy, Inquiry, and the People
By Paul Stob

In response to denunciations of populism as undemocratic and anti-intellectual, Intellectual Populism argues that populism has contributed to a distinct and democratic intellectual tradition in which ordinary people assume leading roles in the pursuit of knowledge. Focusing on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the decades that saw the birth of populism in the United States, this book uses case studies of certain intellectual figures to trace the key rhetorical appeals that proved capable of resisting the status quo and building alternative communities of inquiry. As this book shows, Robert Ingersoll (1833–1899), Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), Thomas Davidson (1840–1900), Booker T. Washington (1856–1915), and Zitkála-Šá (1876–1938) deployed populist rhetoric to rally ordinary people as thinkers in new intellectual efforts. Through these case studies, Intellectual Populism demonstrates how orators and advocates can channel the frustrations and energies of the American people toward productive, democratic, intellectual ends.

2022 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, Author Award

Doomi Golo—The Hidden Notebooks
By Boubacar Boris Diop

Translated by Vera Wülfing-Leckie and El Hadji Moustapha Diop

The first novel to be translated from Wolof to English, Doomi Golo—The Hidden Notebooks is a masterful work that conveys the story of Nguirane Faye and his attempts to communicate with his grandson before he dies. With a narrative structure that beautifully imitates the movements of a musical piece, Diop relates Faye’s trauma of losing his only son, Assane Tall, which is compounded by his grandson Badou’s migration to an unknown destination. While Faye feels certain that his grandson will return one day, he also is convinced that he will no longer be alive by then. Faye spends his days sitting under a mango tree in the courtyard of his home, reminiscing and observing his surroundings. He speaks to Badou through his seven notebooks, six of which are revealed to the reader, while the seventh, the “Book of Secrets,” is highly confidential and reserved for Badou’s eyes only. In the absence of letters from Badou, the notebooks form the only possible means of communication between the two, carrying within them tunes and repetitions that give this novel its unusual shape: loose and meandering on the one hand, coherent and tightly interwoven on the other. Translated by Vera Wülfing-Leckie and El Hadji Moustapha Diop.

2022 Midwest Book Award in Poetry

2022 Eric Hoffer Book Award, Honorable Mention in Poetry

2022 Finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award

A Fine Yellow Dust
Poems by Laura Apol

In late April 2017, Laura Apol’s twenty-six-year-old daughter, Hanna, took her own life. Apol had long believed in the therapeutic possibilities of writing, having conducted workshops on writing-for-healing for more than a decade. Yet after Hanna’s death, she had her own therapeutic writing to do, turning her anguish, disbelief, and love into poems that map the first year of loss. This collection is the result of that writing, giving voice to grief as it is lived, moment by moment, memory by memory, event by event. While most writing about loss does so from a distance, Apol chooses instead to write from inside those days and months and seasons, allowing readers to experience alongside the poet the moments, the questions, and the deep longings that shape the first grief-year.