A father/daughter project, inspired by a true experience, was named the best novel/short story collection at Tuesday night's Minnesota Book Awards.

"The Barrens" was written by Kurt and Ellie Johnson. The novel is about lovers Holly and Lee, who go on a canoeing trip in subarctic Canada, an adventure that becomes a survival tale when the more experienced athlete, Holly, dies. When she was 17, co-writer Ellie Johnson completed a 45-day canoe trip in subarctic Canada.

The general nonfiction prize also has a family connection: It's about writer Teresa Wilhelm Waldof's grandfather. Her "Wilhelm's Way: The Inspiring Story of the Iowa Chemist Who Saved the Manhattan Project" details how Iowa State chemistry professor Harley Wilhelm helped convince the world a controlled nuclear reaction was possible.

Jess Lourey's "The Quarry Girls," winner of the genre fiction prize, is about two girls trying to figure out why their friends keep vanishing.

Writer Kristen Schroeder and illustrator Sarah Jacoby earned the children's literature prize for "So Much Snow," while Brian Farrey took home the middle grade prize for "The Counterclockwise Heart," in which a boy comes to believe the clock that is placed where his heart should be is counting down his days. The young adult prize went to "The Complicated Calculus (and Cows) of Carl Paulsen," Gary Eldon Peter's tale of a teenaged farm boy who has a crush on a city boy.

"When Minnehaha Flowed With Whiskey: A Spirited History of the Falls" earned Karen E. Cooper the Emilie Buchwald Award for Minnesota nonfiction. It explores the hidden history of events near the beloved falls, including illegal saloons, "lewd dancing" and prostitution. "Seven Aunts" won the prize for creative nonfiction/memoir. A descendant of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Anishinaabe, Staci Lola Drouillard, wrote the book about her own aunts.

John Lee Clark received the poetry award for his "How to Communicate" collection, which embraces new linguistic possibilities, including poems inspired by the Braille slate.

Sales representative Stu Abraham received the Kay Sexton Award for his work on behalf of publishers and Minnesota writers. The Minnesota Book Awards are sponsored by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library.