Johnson named one of Indiana’s top authors


Staff report

Ben Davis graduate Leah Johnson was among nine authors honored this past weekend with the 2022 Indiana Authors Award.

Johnson, a 2012 BD graduate, was honored in the Young Adult category for her first two books, You Should See Me in a Crown and Rising to the SunYou Should See Me in a Crown has been named one of the top 100 Young Adult books of all time and follows the life of a high school student who runs for prom queen in order to receive a college scholarship.

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards honor the best books written by Hoosier authors. Beginning in 2019, Indiana Humanities began administering the award as a biennial honor. Winners of the Indiana Authors Awards receive $5,000 and are invited to participate in a statewide speakers program. Additionally, winning authors have the opportunity to designate a $500 award to an Indiana library of their choice.

Johnson was editor of the Ben Davis newspaper Spotlight during her senior year and also sang in the choir and played tennis.

The 2022 award-winning books are:

Debut: Somebody’s Daughter: A Memoir by Ashley C. Ford of Indianapolis. A memoir about the complexity of childhood in a family fragmented by incarceration, the physical changes in adolescence that draw unwanted attention from men, and a journey to bring together the threads of identity and to understand complicated familial love.

Fiction: The Town of Whispering Dolls by Susan Neville of Indianapolis. Stories about the residents of the rust belt town of Whispering Dolls, who dream of a fabled and illusory past even as new technologies reshape their world into something deeply strange.

Nonfiction: Author in Chief: The Untold Story of Our Presidents and the Books They Wroteby Craig Fehrman of Bloomington. The story of America’s presidents as authors. Addressing everything from beloved tomes to volumes lost to history, Author in Chief unearths insights about the presidents through their literary works and offers a window into their public and private lives.

Genre: Hollow Heart by Paul Allor of Indianapolis. A graphic novel that uses a queer monster love story to examine the choices we make between giving loved ones what they want and giving them what we think they need.

Poetry: Be Holding by Ross Gay of Bloomington. A lyrical appreciation of legendary basketball player Julius Erving — aka Dr. J — and how the imagination might bring us closer to one another.

Middle Grade: All He Knew by Helen Frost of Fort Wayne. A novel in verse inspired by true events surrounding a young deaf boy during World War II, the sister who loves him and the conscientious objector who helps him.

Children’s: Grace and Boxby Kim Howard of Bloomington. A picture book in which a young girl befriends a box and they go on lively adventures together.