Finalist Feature: The Mourning Bird

Category: Adult Fiction

Description:When eleven-year-old Chimuka and her younger brother Ali find themselves orphaned in the 1990s, it’s clear that their seemingly ordinary Zambian family is brimming with secrets: from HIV/AIDS to infidelity to suicide. Faced with the difficult choice of living with their abusive extended family or slithering into the dark underbelly of Lusaka’s streets, Chimuka and Ali escape and become street kids. Against the backdrop of a failed military coup, election riots and a declining economy, Chimuka and Ali are raised by drugs, crime and police brutality. As a teenager, Chimuka is caught between prostitution and the remnants of the fragile stability from before her parents’ death. The Mourning Bird is not just Chimuka’s story, it’s a national portrait of Zambia in an era of strife. With lively and unflinching prose, Kalimamukwento paints a country’s burden, shame and silence that, when juxtaposed with Chimuka’s triumph, forms an empowering debut novel.

Read it now!

Author: Mubanga is a multi-award-winning novelist, short story writer, poet, essayist and filmmaker. Her first novel, The Mourning Bird (Jacana Media) won the 2019 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, making her the first and only Zambian to win the prize since its inception in 2004. She won the Kalemba Short Story Prize 2019 and the Tell Your Own Story Awards Zambia 2020. Her short stories have appeared on numerous shortlists including the Bristol Short Story Prize (2019), the Nobrow Short Story Prize (2019) and the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2022).

Her work has also appeared on Netflix, and in Blackbird Books, Doek! Overland, Killens Review of Arts & Letters, The Advocates for Human Rights, The Red Rock Review, The Menteur Literary & Arts Magazine and others. Her poems and short stories have been translated and published in Italian by Menelique.

She has an LLB from Cavendish University Zambia and an LLM from the University of Minnesota. Mubanga practised law in Zambia until 2019. She is now an MFA candidate at Hamline University in Minnesota where she lives with her husband and their two children.

Mubanga’s Local Library: Ramsey County Library

Winners will be announced at the 2022 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference.

Finalist Feature: The Self-Working Trick (and other stories)

Category: Adult Fiction

Description: It’s just one thing after another for magician Eli Marks: The bizarre death of a barista. Performing close-up magic at a funeral. A homicidal husband looking for ideas. An unexpected customer encounter. An impossible stabbing during a show. A Halloween murder. A life-changing magic lesson. A mystifying murder/suicide. A puzzling jewel heist and an even odder painting theft. And more!

A dozen Eli Marks short stories (ten never-before published). Which means you now have a dozen more reasons to spend some quality time with Eli Marks.

Read it now!

Author: John is author of the Eli Marks mystery series and the Como Lake Players mystery series. He also has four other stand-alone novels: “The Greyhound of the Baskervilles,” “A Christmas Carl,” “The Sword & Mr. Stone” and “The Ripperologists.”

He hosts two podcasts: “Behind the Page: The Eli Marks Podcast,” and “The Occasional Film Podcast.”

In real life, John’s not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less – that’s no small trick. He’s also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, those books made more than the films.

John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several greyhounds, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

John’s Local Library: Hennepin County Library

Winners will be announced at the 2022 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference.

Finalists announced for 2022 Minnesota Author Project

The Minnesota Author Project celebrates indie-published authors and community writing collaborations. Congratulations to all the finalists!


Winners will be announced at the 2022 Minnesota Library Association Annual Conference and will receive $2000 cash prize, sponsored by the Minnesota Library Foundation and BiblioLabs.

Stay tuned for features of these books and their authors, coming soon. Read the ebooks now on BiblioBoard Library.