• A Wealth of Self-Published Fiction, Memoirs and Children’s Books –

NEW YORK, NY—May 6, 2022—The U.S. Selfies today announced the shortlist for the annual award that celebrates excellence in self-publishing. All books were published during the calendar year 2021 in one of three categories: adult fiction, children’s books and, for the first time, memoir/autobiography. A total of 25 books were selected from a pool of 220 entrants in the prize, which is managed jointly by BookLife, the self-publishing arm of Publishers Weekly, and BookBrunch, the trade publication of the U.K. Each of the three winning titles is awarded a $1,000 prize. Winners will be announced in June 2022.

Trends in the shortlisted fiction saw an emphasis on historic fiction (WWI, WWII, early 20th century America), international locations (France, Japan, Hungary, ancient Greece) and, of the eight shortlisted titles, three were mysteries and seven were written by women.

For the children’s book category, themes included belonging in a multicultural environment, teaching readers about careers and money, fantasy, a Cinderella retelling and a “poetic Western” about rodeo life. Women also dominated, making up seven of the nine finalists.

Memoirs and autobiography, a new category for the U.S. Selfies this year, found the shortlisted authors evenly split between men and women. The tales traversed topics such as overcoming adversity and personal transformation, living with a challenging disease or exploring widowhood. Two titles veered off from these themes—the story of a bloody military operation in Vietnam led by the Marines and a memoir recounting the launch of a series of Black-owned discos in Manhattan in the 1970s, all still owned by the same group of friends.

“The U.S. Selfies entries offer a wealth of fascinating stories that are deeply moving. Overall, these books more than meet our criteria, being extremely readable and backed by creative marketing and publicity strategies with solid sales potential,” said Jo Henry, managing director of BookBrunch, who will be a judge in the memoir/autobiography category.

Juries for the awards will select the winners from the shortlists. For fiction, jurors include Robin Cutler, president of LMBPN Worldwide Publishing and the CEO of HowToPublishBooks.com, Gabino Iglesias, a writer, professor and book reviewer living in Austin, Texas, and Rachel Kerr, of BookBaby Publishing and former producer at local Philadelphia radio and TV stations.

Children’s book judges include Joshua J. Carlson, who is Librarian III: Manager, Youth Services at the White Plains Public Library; BookLife editor and former Publishers Weekly associate children’s reviews editor Matia Madrona Query; and Leslie ‘Lam’ Miller, CEO and chief instigator at book production firm Girl Friday Productions.

In the memoir and autobiography category, in addition to Jo Henry, judges include Mary Webber O’Malley, a writer and bookseller for Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, Missouri, and Sophia Stewart, deputy editor of The Millions, associate editor at Publishers Weekly and a 2021-2022 Emerging Critics Fellow at the National Book Critics Circle.

The 2022 awards are sponsored by IngramSpark, Combined Book Exhibit, Girl Friday Productions and BookBaby. For the winning books, in addition to receiving $1,000 cash supplied by IngramSpark, authors also receive promotional book displays valued at over $2,500 from Combined Book Exhibit at major book fairs around the world and a $5,000 package of advertising in Publishers Weekly’s print magazine and online.

The mission of the awards initiative, which was created by BookBrunch and introduced to great acclaim in the U.K. in 2018, is to discover new talent and reward the best self-published titles each year.

The 2022 shortlist is:


Kinley Bryan, Sisters of the Sweetwater Fury

M.K. Dean, An Embarrassment of Itches

Metra Farrari, All the Blues Come Through

Shanna Hatfield, Sadie

Karla M. Jay, The Puppet Maker’s Daughter

Michael Pronko, Tokyo Zangyo

Nikki Stern, Freeze Before Burning

Jenni L. Walsh, A Betting Woman: A Novel of Madame Moustache

Children’s Books

Aubre Andrus, Amanda, Toy Engineer

Garrett Curbow, Daughter of Light

Monica Eaton, Money Plan

David Horn, Eudora Space Kid: The Great Engine Room Takeover

Karen Kincy, Dragon by Midnight

Dia Mixon, One Whole Me

Jennifer Shaw, Dumplings Mean Family

Courtney Shannon Strand, Roundup Rodeo

Katie Weaver, When The Sky Roars


Nadia Davis, Home is Within You, A Memoir

Noel Hankin, After Dark: Birth of the Disco Dance Party

Lorena Junco Margain, On the Way to Casa Lotus

Allison Hong Merrill, Ninety-Nine Fire Hoops

Wayne Raffesberger, Thank God I Got Polio: A Life of Adventure and the Adventure of Life

Arlene Sacks, Moving Forward

William V. Taylor Jr., On Full Automatic: Surviving 13 Months in Vietnam

M.S.P. Williams, Listen Mama

For more information, contact Christi Cassidy, +1-917-217-4269, ccassidy@publishersweekly.com.

#  #  #