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Winners have just been announced in the 2019 FOREWORD Indies and Minnesota author Sheila O'Connor's latest novel, Evidence of V: A Novel in Fragments, Fact and Fictions, is the Editor's Choice for the Fiction Prize. Here is a link to the announcement. Earlier this year, the book also won the Novel & Short Story category of the Minnesota Book Awards.
Evidence of V was inspired by the true story of the author's maternal grandmother’s six-year incarceration as a 15-year-old girl for an unplanned pregnancy in 1935. The novel incorporates multiple genres as well as historical documents to bring to light the little-known practice of incarcerating girls for “immorality” at the Minnesota Home School for Girls in Sauk Centre, Minnesota and across the United States.
O'Connor discussed her book and the story behind it at a virtual event in partnership with The Friends of the Brainerd Public Library on June 22. The event was previewed by the Brainerd Dispatch, as well as Lakeland Public Television, and radio stations KAXE-AM and WWWI-AM in Brainerd, MInn.
A popular speaker, O’Connor has continued to raise awareness of this silenced Minnesota history despite the constraints of the virus. “Although my events have gone virtual, I remain committed to reaching out to communities across Minnesota whose families may have been affected by similar circumstances, and to raise awareness of this treatment of girls and women within the criminal justice system,” said O’Connor. Ultimately, O’Connor hopes to connect with survivors and descendants whose stories have yet to be told.
In addition to recent awards, “Evidence of V” is listed as one of the Best Criminal Justice Books of the Year by the Marshall Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization that seeks to create and sustain a sense of national urgency about the U.S. criminal justice system. It is also a nominee for the Northeastern Minnesota Book Awards.
Learn more about Sheila O'Connor's work on her author website: SheilaOconnor.com.