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Announcing the 2021 Oregon Book Award Finalists

We are thrilled to announce the 35 titles from across the state that have been chosen as finalists for the 2021 Oregon Book Awards. Finalists were selected by a panel of out-of-state writers in seven categories: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, general nonfiction, children’s literature, young adult literature, and drama.

Winners in each category will be announced on a special episode of The Archive Project, Sunday, May 2 on OPB Radio at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific). Winners receive a $1,000 cash award.

KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION  
Judges: Michael Byers, Joseph Cassara, Hilary Leichter

  • Chelsea Bieker of Portland, Godshot (Catapult Press)
  • Genevieve Hudson of Portland, Boys of Alabama (Liveright Publishing, W.W. Norton)
  • Mark Savage of Portland, Fictional Film Club (Deep Overstock)
  • Vanessa Veselka of Portland, The Great Offshore Grounds (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Lidia Yuknavitch of Milwaukie, Verge (Riverhead Books, Penguin Random House PPG)

STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Judges: Tyree Daye, Erika Meitner, Kathryn Neurnberger 

  • Anna Elkins of Jacksonville, Hope of Stones (Press 53)
  • Eman Hassan of Portland, Raghead (New Issues Poetry and Prose)
  • Floyd Skloot of Portland, Far West: Poems (LSU Press)
  • Ed Skoog of Portland, Travelers Leaving for the City (Copper Canyon)
  • Joe Wilkins of McMinnville, Thieve (Lynx House Press)

FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTION
Judges: Jordanna Bailkin, Farid Matuk, Adam Sowards

  • Edwin Battistella  of Ashland, Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels: Insulting the President, from Washington to Trump (Oxford University Press)
  • Nicholas Buccola of Portland, The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America (Princeton University Press)
  • Kelsey Freeman of Bend, No Option but North: The Migrant World and the Perilous Path Across the Border (IG Publishing)
  • Joseph E. Taylor III of Portland, Persistent Callings: Seasons of Work and Identity on the Oregon Coast (Oregon State University Press)
  • Ann Vileisis of Port Orford, Abalone (Oregon State University Press)

SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION 
Judges: May-Lee Chai, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Heather Sellers

  • Sierra Crane Murdoch of Hood River, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country (Random House)
  • Ruby McConnell of Eugene, Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life (Overcup Press)
  • David Oates of Portland, The Mountains of Paris (Oregon State University Press)
  • Melissa Matthewson of Ashland, Tracing the Desire Line: A Memoir in Essays (Split Lip Press)
  • Ben Moon of Pacific City, Denali: A Man, a Dog, and the Friendship of a Lifetime (Penguin Books)

ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Judges: Nikki McClure, Eliot Schrefer, Wendy Wahman

  • Susan Hill Long of Portland, Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life (Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster)
  • Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, Butterflies Belong Here (Chronicle Books)
  • Jody J. Little of Portland, Worse Than Weird (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
  • Jenn Reese of Portland, A Game of Fox and Squirrels (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Macmillian)
  • Elizabeth Rusch of Portland, Mario and the Hole in the Sky: How a Chemist Saved Our Planet (Charlesbridge)

LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE 
Judges: David Gill, Cynthia Hand, Sheba Karim

  • Nancy Richardson Fischer of Hood River, The Speed of Falling Objects (Inkyard Press)
  • Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, We Had to Be Brave (Scholastic Focus)
  • Kathryn Ormsbee of Eugene, The Sullivan Sisters (Simon & Schuster)
  • Erin Riha of Portland, But for the Mountains (REUTS Publications)
  • Elizabeth Rusch of Portland, You Call THIS Democracy?: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

ANGUS BOWMER AWARD FOR DRAMA
Judges: Michelle  Carter, Diana Grisanti, KJ Sanchez

  • Sara Jean Accuardi of Portland, The Delays
  • Conor Eifler of Portland, You Cannot Undo This Action 
  • E.M. Lewis of Monitor, How the Light Gets In               
  • Anya Pearson of Portland, The Measure of Innocence      
  • Andrea Stolowitz of Portland, Recent Unsettling Events        

SPECIAL AWARDS
In addition to recognizing the finest achievements of Oregon authors in several genres, Literary Arts recognizes individual contributions with the following special awards.  
 
Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award
PlayWrite, Inc. of Portland
 
The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award 
Elizabeth Lyon of Eugene
 
C.E.S. Wood Award
Molly Gloss of Portland

UPCOMING ONLINE EVENTS WITH
OREGON BOOK AWARDS FINALISTS

Wednesday, April 14Poetry Finalists reading  

Saturday, April 17Fiction finalists reading with Springfield Library Celebrates Authors 

Saturday, April 24: Green Bean Books presents Children’s Literature Finalists as part of Independent Bookstore Day

Wednesday, April 28: Panel discussion with Drama finalists, moderated by Chip Miller, Associate Artistic Director, Portland Center Stage

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