Stay Inspired: Shelter in Place 2020 Wins #1 for Independently Published National Book Award

June 2021

Outstanding Books of the Year

Jenkins Group and IndependentPublisher.com are proud to announce the medalists in the 25th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards. Conducted each year to honor the year's best independently published books, the “IPPY” Awards recognize excellence in a broad range of styles and subjects. The Covid-19 crisis has strongly impacted the indie publishing and bookselling communities, but the quality of these IPPY medal-winning books is better than ever. Independent spirit thrives on adversity, and it appears that pandemic-inspired introspection and reinvention have made us stronger.

“There has been, in this suspension, an opportunity to recognize the interdependence of all forms of life on this planet, to give voice to our vulnerability and to find a way to move forward together,” says chef Amaryll Schwertner in Food People are the Best People (Acorn Press), a gold medal-winning collection of photographs and interviews that shares the stories of 100 chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, farmers and purveyors in the Oakland/SF Bay area. 

Culinary arts have played a huge part in our pandemic survival, but so have the Fine Arts: “Art, after all, has always been a response to adversity—as reminder, refuge, or revolt. Poetry brings clarity and insight; painting, boldness and novel ways of seeing the world. Both, in their way, were antidotes to the profound disorientation caused by the pandemic,” writes Jürgen Möllers in his introduction to the gold medal-winning, Stay Inspired: Shelter in Place 2020 (Dolby Chadwick Gallery), a spectacular collection of paired poems and paintings. Project leader Lisa Dolby Chadwick believes the works are reminders of “being in this together; a sense of a kinder, gentler self…and of our profound connection with each other.”

Even in isolation, we all connect through the magic of books. “When we stayed home, we all read lots and lots of books,” says the young narrator of the Children’s Picture Book category medal-winning, When We Stayed Home (Huqua Press). “Sometimes they took me to faraway places, too.”  With libraries and bookstores closed by the pandemic, we were all reminded just how important these things we take for granted—books—really are.

This year’s contest drew over 4,500 entries, and 430 gold, silver and bronze medals will go to independent authors and publishers from 46 U.S. states and seven Canadian provinces (35 medalists), with winners also coming from U.K. and Australia (9 medalists each), plus New Zealand, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica and Malawi. 

A dramatic new milestone was achieved during this 25th annual contest—our first triple medal-winner ever—the extraordinary Spirits of the Coast: Orcas in Science, Art and History (Royal British Columbia Museum), won medals in the categories of Nature, Cover Design, and Best Regional Non-Fiction. This lovely book “brings together the work of marine biologists, indigenous knowledge keepers, poets, artists and storytellers, united by their enchantment with the orca.” The book “nailed it” in all seven of the judging criteria we score in.

“Enchantment is what we hope for, every time we crack the cover of a new book," says Jim Barnes, director of the Awards. “Each new book you open offers the promise of magic, and maybe even a life-changing moment. As awards judges we are so lucky to have been able to experience 25 years of magical, IPPY Award winning books.”

Congratulations to all this year’s 25th Annual IPPY Award medalists for their independent spirit and dedication to changing the world, one book at a time!

See complete results listing for the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards: http://www.independentpublisher.com/article.php?page=2478