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UW-Eau Claire faculty member wins prestigious Society of Midland Authors' Award for Nonfiction

April 25, 2012
 BJ Hollars
B.J. Hollars
EAU CLAIRE — A book written by B.J. Hollars, assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, is the winner of the prestigious 2012 Society of Midland Authors' Award for Nonfiction.

Hollars' book, "Thirteen Loops: Race, Violence and the Last Lynching in America," will be recognized during a May 8 awards ceremony in Chicago, Ill. During the ceremony, the Society of Midland Authors willhonor its choices for the best books published in 2011 by Midwest authors.

"Writing a book on racial violence was an exhaustive experience," Hollars said of his award-winning book. "'Thirteen Loops,' which recounts three interrelated, race-related murders that occurred over a 50-year time period throughout the state of Alabama, covers a subject that's hard for readers to read and a writer to write. Yet to be recognized with such a prestigious award reaffirms the importance of telling these types of stories; stories that — while quite troublesome to hear — are necessary."

Hollars said the award is especially meaningful because of its previous recipients, including writers such as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow and Stuart Dybek.

"These are people who inspired me to begin writing in the first place," Hollars said of the past award recipients.

Each year, the 97-year-old Society of Midland Authors presents awards for excellence to authors and poets in the categories of adult fiction and nonfiction, biography, poetry, and children's fiction and nonfiction published in the previous year. The juried competition is open to writers who live in, were born in or have strong ties to the 12-state Midwest region.

Hollars teaches creative writing, literature and composition at UW-Eau Claire.

A list of all 2012 Society of Midland Authors award winners is available online.

For more information about his book or the award, contact B.J. Hollars at or 715-836-2667.


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