The following books are finalists for the 2019 Oregon Book Award in creative nonfiction. Each year, this program honors the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, graphic literature, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers. Winners will be announced live during the ceremony event on April 22 at the Gerding Theater. The evening will be hosted by Cheryl Strayed. Reserve your seat today at Brown Paper Tickets. All of this year’s finalist are listed here.
manuel arturo abreu of Portland, Incalculable Loss (Institute for New Connotative Action Press)
manuel arturo abreu is a poet and artist from the Bronx. They received their BA in Linguistics from Reed College in 2014. They wrote List of Consonants (Bottlecap Press) and transtrender (Quimérica Books), a 2018 Oregon Book Award finalist for poetry.
Incalculable Loss, a debut collection of critical prose delves into themes of the violence of modernism, the network condition and its aesthetic+ethical ramifications, and the commodification of identity. abreu explores such themes by means of subjects like cannibalism, the British art collective Mongrel, the mainstreaming of gender trouble, and more.
David Biespiel of Portland, The Education of a Young Poet (Counterpoint Press)
David Biespiel is the author of eleven books, most recently Republic Café. Recipient of Lannan, NEA, and Stegner fellowships, two Oregon Book Awards, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Balakian Award, he is Poet-in-Residence at Oregon State University and founder of the Attic Institute.
A classic coming-of-age tale that does for Boston in the 1980s what Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast did for Paris in the 1920s, David Biespiel’s The Education of a Young Poet is a moving account of his awakening to writing and the language that can shape a life.
Apricot Irving of Corbett, The Gospel of Trees (Simon & Schuster)
Apricot Irving’s work has appeared on This American Life, Granta and On Being, and she has received awards from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and Literary Arts. The founder of the Boise Voices Oral History Project, she lives in the Columbia River Gorge with her husband and two wildly imaginative boys.
The Gospel of Trees is a memoir in many voices, a lyrical meditation on ecology and loss in Haiti. A missionary’s daughter grapples with the tangled legacy of those who wish to improve the world, while bearing witness to the defiant beauty of an undefeated country.
Dionisia Morales of Corvallis, Homing Instincts (OSU Press)
Dionisia Morales is a native New Yorker who now calls Oregon home. Her essays have appeared in Oregon Humanities Magazine, Los Angeles Review of Books, Hunger Mountain, and other literary journals. Homing Instincts is her first book.
Homing Instincts is an essay collection that explores the different ways we define “home.” Seen through the lens of the author’s experiences as a city kid turned outdoors woman and an East Coast transplant turned Westerner, the book probes questions of what it means to be a newcomer and how we build a sense of belonging.
Meaghan O’Connell of Portland, And Now We Have Everything (Little Brown)
Meaghan O’Connell’s work has appeared in places like New York Magazine, Longreads, and The Guardian. Meaghan lives in Southeast Portland with her husband and children.
And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready is a frank, funny, and visceral book of essays about having a baby and staying, for better or worse, exactly yourself.