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Readers, Writers

2021 Oregon Book Award Finalists in Fiction

The 2021 Oregon Book Award winners will be announced on May 2, 2021, on a special episode of The Archive Project, airing on OPB Radio at 7:00 p.m. The hour-long show will be hosted by Omar El Akkad and Elena Passarello, and will feature readings from Oregon Book Awards winners, archival audio from previous Oregon Book Awards ceremonies, and an interview with CES Wood recipient Molly Gloss. You can watch the 2021 Oregon Book Award finalists in fiction reading, hosted by Springfield Public library and recorded April 17, 2021.

Here are the 2021 finalists for the Ken Kesey Award in Fiction:

Godshot is a “fiercely written and endlessly readable” debut novel of a teenage girl in thrall to a magnetic—and terrifying—preacher who promises to save her dying and drought-ridden town (Entertainment Weekly). Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places.

Chelsea Bieker is the author of the novel GODSHOT and the story collection, HEARTBROKE (April ‘22)Her writing has appeared in The Paris Review, Granta, The Cut, McSweeney’s, and others. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award and a MacDowell Colony fellowship. She lives in Portland with her husband and two children.

A sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power; and while his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his innermost secrets.

Genevieve Hudson is also the author of Pretend We Live Here: Stories, which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist. They hold an MFA in fiction from Portland State University and have received fellowships from the Fulbright Program, MacDowell, Caldera Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. 

Fictional Film Club is a novel made up of reviews of movies that don’t exist. In footnotes that slowly become more personal, a story emerges of the reviewer, an English teenage boy, as he comes to terms with an unrequited love and struggles with things that he cannot chang

Mark Savage is an author and musician from Portsmouth, England. He lives in Portland, where he is a bookseller and co-host of the Mind-Meld. Fictional Film Club is his first novel.

The Great Offshore Grounds follows half-sisters Cheyenne and Livy as they cross the country in search of the true nature of their family’s history and identity alike. Ferrying the reader from the Alaskan coast to southern swamps, Vanessa Veselka casts a new light on our mythologies—individual, national, and collective—to show what it means to be a family in modern America.

Vanessa Veselka has been a teenage runaway, a musician, and a union organizer. Her work appears in GQ, The Atlantic, and Tin House. Her debut novel, Zazen, won the 2012 PEN / Bingham Prize.

Verge: Stories is a fiercely empathetic group portrait of the marginalized and outcast in moments of crisis.

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the memoir The Chronology of Water, and the novels The Small Backs of Children, Dora: A Headcase, and The Book of Joan.

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