The Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project recently announced the 2016 winner of its annual writing competition, and now your list of “must-read” books is officially one title longer. Choosing from the best self-published fiction Illinois writers have to offer, librarians throughout the state selected Geralyn Hesslau Magrady as this year’s winning author for her excellent historical novel Lines–. Set in 1870s-era Chicago and filled with incredible period detail, Magrady’s book explores the historical struggles for workers’ rights and gender equality while tracing the life of Livia Haas – a young German woman who experiences first love and terrible loss while surviving both the Great Fire and the Haymarket Affair. Though her summer is packed with statewide book readings and signings, Magrady recently paused to speak with us via email about her contest experience, her real-life inspiration for Livia Haas, research at the Berwyn Public Library, Emily Dickinson, and what she hopes readers will take away from Lines–.
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