Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Announced

April 16, 2014


Joanne Zienty, Wheaton


The winner of the first Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project is Joanne Zienty.  A Wheaton resident and the library media specialist at the Forest School Library in Des Plaines was awarded the honor for her book The Things We Save.  The winner was announced at an award ceremony held Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Libraries) headquarters in Burr Ridge, Illinois.     


Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, I vividly remember the "glow of industry" that lit the night sky with an orange haze and perfumed the air with acrid odors of coke ovens and blast furnaces, although the steel mills have been shuttered for decades.  My first success as a writer came in 5th grade, when I completed a 70-page novel-an "homage" to Walter Farley's Black Stallion series -- and had my first play -- a Thanksgiving melodrama -- produced on stage at my elementary school.  I've been writing ever since. My other passion is working as a library media specialist, combining my favorite pastimes:  reading, encouraging others to read, teaching information literacy and playing with technology.  


The Soon to be Famous Illinois Author project is the brainchild of library marketing professionals who were inspired after listening to a presentation by brand expert and NYU professor David Vinjamuri, who spoke at the 2013 American Library Association Annual Conference about the importance of libraries in the era of e-books and branding.  He challenged libraries to wield their collective influence to lift an obscure author to success.


Librarians volunteered to act as judges for the 103 self-published adult fiction authors.  After a series of eliminations, the top three authors were selected and were all present at the RAILS headquarters for the announcement.  Vinjamuri flew in from New York to introduce the authors and present the award to the winner.


For additional details about the Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project and to schedule an interview with the Zienty, please contact Sue Wilsey, Marketing and PR Supervisor at the Niles Public Library at 847-663-6405

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