Announcing the winners of the 2022 Minnesota Author Project!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2022 Minnesota Author Project! The contest seeks to publicize the role libraries have long played in introducing readers to new authors. Being recognized by librarians creates credibility and visibility for indie authors in a growing marketplace of digital content and indie-published books. 

This is the fifth year celebrating the contest, which recognizes the best indie-published authors in Minnesota.

The Self-Working Trick (and other stories)— Adult Fiction

Scales of Ash & Smoke— Young Adult Fiction


Bringing Joy (Communities Create)

The Communities Create category, in its third year, celebrates Minnesota organizations and communities that are producing written creative works, especially with the support of their local library.

Winners will receive $2,000 and a commemorative award, as well as other accolades and perks. Prizes are sponsored by the Minnesota Library Foundation and BiblioLabs.

This is a statewide effort. MN Writes MN Reads extends a special thanks to the volunteer judges from across who made this possible, as well as all Minnesota library staff, for supporting these writers. Join us in celebrating and supporting them! 

Read the winners now on BiblioBoard Library.

Finalist Feature: Scales of Ash & Smoke

Category: Young Adult Fiction

Description:She lived her whole life enslaved to the dragons.
But now she’s one of them.

Seventeen-year-old Kaida, a human, has spent her entire life enslaved to the dragons who slaughtered half the human population a thousand years ago. She is forced to serve her ruthless Master, Eklos, until one deadly summer day when the Prince of Elysia saves her life.

Prince Tarrin steals her away to the Royal Palace, shocking Kaida when he reveals that she is mutator formarum.

He promises her safety, but when they uncover a dangerous conspiracy to rid Elysia of the Royal Family, she begins to question how safe she truly is.

And when desire blooms between Kaida and Tarrin, in the midst of fighting for their lives, she must choose whether to save the very creature she swore to hate, or allow him to perish…

And destroy her own heart.

Read it now!

Author: Emily Schneider is an award-winning author who grew up in Minnesota where she spent most of her life studying music and singing, which ironically has nothing to do with writing fantasy novels.

While music had always been a passion, Emily could never get away from her love of reading and writing books full of dragons, Fae, monsters, magic, and romance.

When she is not writing about dragons and magic, you can find Emily chasing around her two dogs, Pixel and Frodo, playing Mario Kart with her husband, or watching The Lord of the Rings for the one-hundred-and-eleventh time.

Emily’s Local Library: Great River Regional Library

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

Finalist Feature: The Secret Gift

Category: Young Adult Fiction

Description: In the realm of Jinn, enchantments and magical abilities are conceived and often exploited. At 17-years-old, Jezebel has developed a powerful shape-shifting Gift—and she’s determined to keep it a secret.

When her friends find a portal to the human world, she reluctantly follows. There, she’s tempted to embrace her Gift. After all, no one but the humans will see. Unfortunately, one of her friends witnesses her secret, and he won’t let it go. He pushes her to explore the full extent of her ability, no matter the cost.

But Jezebel hits her breaking point when he crosses a line. She has to decide if she’ll continue letting others use her like she’s always feared, or find a way to shift her future in a new direction.

The Secret Gift is a villain origin story that can be read as a standalone, or before or after The Stolen Kingdom Series. Over a century before the evil Queen Jezebel crosses paths with Arie, Rena, and Nesrin, she’s just an innocent Jinni girl… who was betrayed.

Read it now!

Author: Bethany Atazadeh is best known for her young adult fantasy novels, The Stolen Kingdom Series, which won the Best YA Author 2020 Minnesota Author Project award. She is obsessed with stories, chocolate, and her corgi puppy, Penny.

Using her degree in English with a creative writing emphasis, Bethany enjoys helping other writers through her YouTube channel with free writing and publishing advice, as well as a business as a writing coach over on Patreon, dedicated to helping other authors write and publish their novels.

Bethany’s Local Library: Hennepin County Library

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