Arts & Leisure

Weybridge author wins four national book awards

Doug Wilhelm’s novel “Street of Storytellers” won the 2020 gold medal for young adult fiction from the Independent Press Awards.

WEYBRIDGE — Honors for published books are hard-won — and it’s rarer still to win three national awards in a single day, then a fourth a few weeks later. Yet that’s what happened last month to Weybridge author Doug Wilhelm.
On Tuesday, May 5, Wilhelm’s novel “Street of Storytellers” won the 2020 gold medal for young adult fiction from the Independent Press Awards, an international competition for books issued by presses outside the corporate publishing establishment. The same competition’s gold medal for autobiography went to “China in Another Time,” a memoir by the late Claire Lintilhac of Stowe that Wilhelm edited and compiled. Both books were published last fall by Rootstock Publishing of Montpelier. The same day, “Street of Storytellers” won a silver medal for teen fiction from the Benjamin Franklin Awards. Sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Ben Franklin Awards are generally regarded as the top honors in the fast-growing world of “indie” books.
Then on May 28, “Street of Storytellers” was awarded second place for fiction by the IndieReader Discovery Awards. That national competition gives just six top honors — three for fiction and three for nonfiction — along with awards in various categories. “I was confused by IndieReader’s email about the Discovery Award,” said Wilhelm, who is recovering from a recent case of COVID-19. “I wrote back, ‘Do you mean for YA fiction?’ They said, ‘No — fiction.’ This means they put the book up against all the novels entered.
“I’m a little stunned.”
“Street of Storytellers” is Wilhelm’s 17th book aimed, at least originally, for young-adult readers. His best-known novel, “The Revealers,” has been read and discussed by over 1,000 schools across the U.S., including more than 90 in Vermont. The new novel is set in the frontier city of Peshawar, Pakistan, during Christmas week 1984, a place and time of rising tension and extremism. It centers on four teenage characters: the American narrator, an Afghan refugee, and a Pakistani brother and sister. The novel also won the 2019 Book Award for young-adult books from the Independent Publishers of New England, and was named an “Indie Editors’ Choice” by the journal Kirkus Reviews.
Wilhelm wove together “China in Another Time” from writings and recorded storytelling left behind by Lintilhac, a missionary doctor’s daughter who grew up in China, then lived and worked there as a nurse before finally leaving in 1950. Lintilhac died in 1984, several years after creating the Lintilhac Foundation, which is still active in Vermont.

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