Michael Blanchard wins gold medal awards from IBPA

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Michael Blanchard's hard-cover book has 43 essays accompanied by photographs. — Michael Blanchard

Author and photographer Michael Blanchard, owner of Crossroads Gallery in Oak Bluffs and author of “Through a Sober Lens,” was recently awarded two gold medals, Most Inspirational Book of the Year and Best Interior Book Design, in the 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin competition. The Independent Book Publishers Association has offered the awards for 32 years, recognizing outstanding design and editorial components in independently published books. Blanchard’s “Through a Sober Lens” was published by Julian Wise’s Genevieve Press in 2019. It is the first time Blanchard has entered the competition.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards featured 1,700 unique entries, judged by more than 160 librarians, booksellers, design, and editorial experts, according to the IBPA’s website.

Remarks by judges included from Kirkus Reviews: “An engaging volume that offers lovely photos and stirring reflections. Blanchard’s eloquent prose is easy to browse and ponder.” And from Dan Lyons, New York Times bestselling author of “Disrupted” and “Lab Rats,” and writer on the awardwinning HBO series “Silicon Valley”: “Michael Blanchard delivers a beautiful, open-hearted, and honest account of his journey to sobriety — and tells the story with stunning photographs and straight-from-the-heart prose. Pure inspiration.”

Publisher Julian Wise says they plan to enter the rerelease of Blanchard’s 2014 debut book, “Fighting for My Life,” in next year’s competition.