West Chicago Public Library District resident named finalist in statewide writing competition

The Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Manuscript competition recently announced this year’s finalists:

• “Nicky” by Hailey Atwood (West Chicago Public Library District)

• “The Wizard of Odd” by Patti Sherry-Crews (Evanston Public Library)

• “Expedition Noah” by Jeremy Zentner (Fondulac Library District)

Authors from across the state submitted a total of 27 manuscripts to this year’s contest. Librarians across the state have volunteered their time and expertise to judge these entries and narrow the list down to these three outstanding finalists.

Hailey Atwood from West Chicago was thrilled to have her story selected. “Nicky is a psychological thriller that follows Adam, a self-proclaimed psychopath who hides behind his success as a respected anesthesiologist -- until one day, a young woman dies mysteriously, leaving her dog Nicky behind as a witness. I developed the premise when I adopted my own dog from a rescue organization. He became absolutely terrified when I opened a bottle of wine, and I learned that his previous owner had died suddenly from something alcohol-related -- and he discovered her body. It made me think about how little we know of everyone’s back story, and how people discover things about themselves and others.”

The STBF Committee will announce the winner later this summer. The winning author will receive free line-editing and cover design services provided by our sponsor, Lyrasis, for their manuscript. Should the winner decide to self-publish or indie-publish their manuscript, that book will be automatically entered in next year’s Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project Book Contest as a semifinalist.

The goal of the STBF Project, now in its 10th year, is to recognize and promote outstanding self- or indie-published adult fiction (and memoir for the book contest) to support local authors and bring more great reads to library patrons.

For more information about the Soon to Be Famous Illinois Author Project, visit

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