Luis Alberto Urrea was this year’s judge in General Nonfiction. Here are his comments:
The crop of books I was lucky enough to judge was extraordinary. I know judges often say “They were all winners,” but if I had my druthers, all five of these excellent finalists would have won. I made a selection of a worthy and brilliant book; however, if I could, I would also give the award to its peers.
Hiding Man by Tracy Daugherty: An astoundingly well researched and considered study of a sadly neglected master of American letters. This book is important on many levels–I had writers from all over the country mention it in causal conversation, asking if I had read it yet. It shows a broad scope of scholarship and a sure, steady hand in its narration. And it places Oregon’s literature on an international stage where it represents the writing and thought in the state with great honor. I am grateful for this book.
Strand by Bonnie Henderson:Beach combers, unite. Lovers of solitude, of the cool coasts, of fog and waves, lovers of fine science/nature reporting, this is the book for you. I would like to say to the author that her section about glass floats changed my life. I started to daydream about getting a float. I started looking on eBay. And then, suddenly, my father-in-law gave me a green Japanese glass float! I think of her whenever I see it.
Wild Beauty by John Laursen and Terry Toedtemeier: Exquisite. One of the most stunning books I have seen in years. Masterful and haunting. For anyone who loves the great Columbia River, this book is a perfect gift. The photography in it is priceless.
Wild Things by Donna Matrazzo: Simply lovely. The harbinger of a strong career to come. A personal encounter with the world, a woman’s eye, a fine prose voice. That she gave us this fine book via iUniverse shows the kind of strong spirit Oregon possesses.
Born Under a Bad Sky by Jeffrey St. Clair: This book has the mojo. As a fan of environmental/ nature writing, I often hunger for something new. Something…vital. This is it.
WITS Writers-in-Residence Reading
November 29, 2018
Literary Arts is honored to have accomplished poets, journalists, novelists, essayists, and…
2018/2019 Portland Arts & Lectures
December 4, 2018
The 2018/2019 series is sold out! Sign up for our newsletter at…
One Page Wednesday December
December 5, 2018
Writers, escape the solitude of your desk. Readers, come hear great fresh…
The Moth Mainstage in Portland
December 10, 2018
The Moth returns to Portland on Monday, December 10. This extraordinary performance…
Everybody Reads 2019: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (SOLD OUT)
March 14, 2019
In partnership with the Multnomah County Library and The Library Foundation, Literary…
2019 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
April 22, 2019
Join Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in…