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Biography & Autobiography

On March 24, 2021, IBPA announced the following three finalists in the BIOGRAPHY category. Register to attend the virtual award ceremony on May 13th to learn which book wins Gold.

Watch the following video to see which of the three finalists below won gold, and which won silver.


See below for the list of 2022 winners in the BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY category, for books with a copyright date of 2021. 

Note: In 2022 the Biography category was changed to Biography & Autobiography. For earlier autobiographies, please see the Memoir category.

Leeteg: Babes, Bars, Beaches and Black Velvet Art
2022 Gold Winner

Author: CJ Cook with Michael Ashley

Publisher: South Pacific Dreams

ISBN: 978-0-9984224-2-8

Click to Purchase


In 1933 Edgar Leeteg, the American Gauguin, left California for Tahiti with oil paints and a few brushes. He conquered the South Pacific art scene and its nightlife. Hard-drinking, constantly womanizing, and endlessly painting, Leeteg the Legend, the original “Tiki Man,” started the black velvet craze linked to South Pacific-themed restaurants.

Find a Trail or Blaze One: A Biography of Dr. Reatha Clark King
2022 Silver Winner

Author: as told to Kate Leibfried

Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press

ISBN: 978-1-64343-757-6

Click to Purchase


The story of Reatha Clark King shines a light on a woman who broke barriers in the pursuit of knowledge and justice. She shattered the corporate glass ceiling, shaped a university, and advocated for underestimated students. This book is a loving and grateful tribute from the countless people Reatha inspired.

Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map
2022 Silver Winner

Author: Rick Ridgeway

Publisher: Patagonia

ISBN: 9781938340994

Click to Purchase


Rick Ridgeway calculates that he’s spent over five years of his life sleeping in tents: “Small tents pitched in the world’s most remote regions.” Whether at elevation or raising a family at sea level, those years taught him, he writes, “to distinguish matters of consequence from matters of inconsequence.” 


See below for the list of 2021 winners in the BIOGRAPHY category, for books with a copyright date of 2020. Click here to watch the Gold and Silver winner speeches.

Chasing Excellence: The Remarkable Life and Inspiring Vigilosophy of Coach Joe I. Vigil
2021 Gold Winner

Author: Pat Melgares

Publisher: Soulstice Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-7331887-3-9

Click to Purchase


Coach Joe I. Vigil rose from poverty to inspire Olympic runners, All-Americans, and “Vigilantes” everywhere to chase excellence. Driven by curiosity, a deep faith in people, and unwavering loyalty to his hometown of Alamosa, Colorado, his life is an American dream—and a guide to timeless qualities of a leader.

Dalko: The Untold Story of Baseball's Fastest Pitcher
2021 Silver Winner

Authors: Bill Dembski, Alex Thomas, Brian Vikander

Publisher: Influence Publishers

ISBN: 978-1-64542-710-0

Click to Purchase


A fascinating and tragic story in baseball history, Dalko: The Untold Story of Baseball's Fastest Pitcher explores Steve Dalkowski's unmatched talent and the forces that worked against him. Eyewitness accounts offer readers unparalleled insight into the game of baseball and the complex relationship between athletes and the sports they love.

Radical Spirits: India's First Woman Doctor and Her American Champions
2021 Silver Winner

Author: Nandini Patwardhan

Publisher: Story Artisan Press

ISBN: 978-1-7340631-1-0

Click to Purchase


Radical Spirits is the inspiring story of India’s first woman doctor. Married at 10, mother at 13, MD at 22. Takes the reader to the fraught social and religious frontier between India and America in the late 1800s. Makes for a captivating story, every page granting insights into the age-old struggle to surmount entrenched borders and barriers.


See below for the list of 2020 winners in the BIOGRAPHY category, for books with a copyright date of 2019.

Gertie: The Fabulous Life of Gertrude Sanford Legendre, Heiress, Explorer, Socialite, Spy
2020 Gold Winner

Author: Kathryn Smith

Publisher: Evening Post Books

ISBN: 978-1-929647-44-6

Click to Purchase


Gertrude Sanford Legendre, an heiress, explorer, socialite and spy, lived a 20th century life full of fun, adventure, derring-do and drama.

From Red Earth.jpg
From Red Earth: A Rwandan Story of Healing and Forgiveness
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Denise Uwimana

Publisher: Plough Publishing House

ISBN: 978-0874869842

Click to Purchase


An exceptional personal account of a strong woman who survived against all odds and used her gifts to help others.

Mani/Pedi: A True-Life Rags-to-Riches Story
2020 Silver Winner

Author: Krista Beth Driver

Publisher: She Writes Press

ISBN: 978-1-63152-626-8

Click to Purchase


Charlie risked everything to escape from Vietnam with her young family and immigrated to the U.S. for a better life. She lived the American dream.

About the
Independent Book Publishers Association

Founded to support independent publishers nationwide, the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) leads and serves the independent publishing community through advocacy, education, and tools for success. With over 3,200 members, IBPA is the largest independent publishing association in the U.S. Its vision is a world where every independent publisher has the access, knowledge, and tools needed to professionally engage in all aspects of an inclusive publishing industry.


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