Writers

2020 Award for Graphic Literature Finalists

The following books are finalists for the 2020 Oregon Book Award in Graphic Literature. 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. We will not be hosting our 33rd Annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony at Portland Center Stage at the Armory on June 22. However, we are excited to announce that the Oregon Book Awards will take place in a different format.

Please join us for:

“The 2020 Oregon Book Awards” 
a special from Literary Arts: The Archive Project

Monday, June 22, 2020
7:00 to 7:30 p.m.OPB Radio
 (where to listen)

All of the finalists books are available to order from Broadway Books


Cat Farris of Portland, My Boyfriend is a Bear (Oni Press)

Bear meets girl.

Cat Farris is a native Portlander, an artist, and pretty sure she’s just making this up as she goes along. She is supported in this venture by the world’s most beautiful husband, the laziest greyhound, and an all-star cast of Helioscope studiomates.

“A story of love and finding yourself—both inside and outside a relationship—that goes deeper than you might suspect based on its quirky exterior, made all the more moving by Cat Farris’s charming and cheeky illustrations.” —Judge Adrienne Celt

Maria Capelle Frantz of Portland, The Chancellor and the Citadel (Iron Circus Comics)

Reality has turned inside out, and the Citadel is the last place left to hide. Now its leader must keep fear from breaking out into violence – both within the populace she protects, and within herself.

Maria Capelle Frantz lurks in the shadowy corners of the pacific northwest, where she spends her days drawing and sewing. Her stories use fantasy to explore representation and gender roles, and aim to expand the limitations of the labels we carry with us throughout our lives.

“Frantz’s artistic style communicates both warmth and pathos, suggesting a larger, stranger reality that we fully understand. This is book with a lot of heart.”—Judge Adrienne Celt

Greg Means and MK Reed of Portland, Penny Nichols (Top Shelf Productions)

Penny Nichols is the story of a young woman who quits her mind-numbing office job and risks everything by joining a group of misfits making a low- budget horror movie. It’s a loving tribute to the chaos and camaraderie of DIY filmmaking, and the ways we find our future and our family in the unlikeliest of place.

Greg Means is a writer, editor, and librarian from Portland. He is the co-author of the graphic novels Penny Nichols and The Cute Girl Network (both with MK Reed), and was the editor of the long running comic book anthology Papercutter.

MK Reed is the Eisner and Ignatz nominated author of the graphic novels Americus, The Cute Girl Network, Palefire, Penny Nichols, Science Comics: Dinosaurs, Science Comics: Weather, and the series The Castoffs and Delver. MK lives in Portland, Oregon with her very tall husband.

“Throughout her journey, Penny is accompanied by a well-rounded cast of characters, each one of them humanly complex, regardless of screen time. I loved living in this world as I followed her adventure.” ” —Judge Marinaomi

Dylan Meconis of Portland, Queen of the Sea (Walker Books)

Queen of the Sea follows Margaret, an orphan raised by the benevolent nuns of an isolated island convent. When the kingdom’s freshly deposed queen becomes the Island’s newest resident, Margaret’s peaceful childhood is beset by secrets, intrigue, and danger.

Dylan Meconis is a cartoonist and writer who lives in Portland, Oregon. Her previous graphic novels have been nominated for Reuben, Eisner, and Kim Yale Awards. She’s created comics professionally for fifteen years, and is a member of Portland’s own Helioscope, the largest comics studio in North America.

“With its ingeniously-composed pages, moody watercolors, and empathetic perspective, Queen of the Sea is a stunning accomplishment.” Judge Jason Lutes

Aron Nels Steinke of Portland, Mystery Club (Mr. Wolf’s Class #2) (Graphix)

Mr. Wolf’s students are settling into their new classroom, and Randy, Aziza, and Margot realize they have some questions:What happened to Aziza’s favorite Frisbee?

Is the girls’ bathroom really haunted? Where is Mr. Greens, the teacher who disappeared? To answer these questions, the three friends start a mystery club. What could be more fun?

Aron Nels Steinke is the creator of the Mr. Wolf’s Class graphic novel series. He is also the Eisner Award and Oregon Book Award-winning illustrator and co-author, with Ariel Cohn, of The Zoo Box. He teaches fourth and fifth grade in Portland, Oregon.

“With his vibrant drawings, Aaron Nels Steinke celebrates the joys of small moments, interpersonal connection, and small wonders, all seen from the perspective of the kids themselves. Mr. Wolf ’s Class is a delightful book, rendered with warmth and whimsy”—Judge Jason Lutes