Oregon

The 2023 Oregon Book Awards Finalists Have Been Announced

While most people waited this morning for the 2023 Oscar nominees to be announced, fans of the written word — especially those based in Oregon — were eager to learn who the nominees would be in another competition: the Oregon Book Awards.

Today Portland Literary Arts shared the list of finalists competing for the honor this year. From a total of 202 entries, 34 Oregonians were selected in seven genre categories by out-of-state juries.

Among the nominees is Portlander Emme Lund, whose debut novel The boy with a bird in his chest competed for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. The book is described as a modern coming-of-age story about love, grief and queerness. Another finalist in this category, Jon Raymond, also from Portland, who is perhaps better known for his acclaimed screenplay for films like First cow, Meek’s cutoff and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. His nominated work refusalis a futuristic thriller about climate change.

Local theatergoers will recognize the names of several finalists in the drama category, including Sara Jean Accuardi, who is entering The Storytellera 95 minute play inspired by Shakespeare The storm about a teenager who lived off the grid his entire life, and EM Lewis, his two-person drama Dorothy’s dictionaryabout a high school student and a sick librarian, was recognized.

Winners will be announced live at the 2023 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony hosted by Luke Burbank on Monday, April 3 on the Portland Center Stage at the Armory.

Here is a full list of finalists:

KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION
Judges: Zinzi Clemmons, Jonathan Dee, Shruti Swamy
  • Sindya Bhanoo from Corvallis, Seeking happiness elsewhere: stories (Catapult)
  • Cai Emmons by Eugene, Sinking Islands (Red Chicken Press)
  • Emme Lund from Portland, The boy with a bird in his chest (Atria books)
  • Jon Raymond from Portland, refusal (Simon & Schuster)
  • Lidia Yuknavitch from Otis, thrust (Riverhead Books)
STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Judges: Chen Chen, Lisa Olstein, Matthew Olzmann
  • Matthew Dickman from Portland, attitude (WW Norton & Co.)
  • Michele Glazer from Portland, fretwork (University of Iowa Press)
  • Janice Lee from Portland, separation anxiety (CLASH books)
  • Amy Miller from Ashland, astronauts (Beloit Poetry Journal)
  • Eric Tran from Portland, Mund, sugar and smoke (diode outputs)
FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NON-FICTION
Judges: Richard Panek, Kim Todd, Neal Thompson
  • Anita Hannig from Portland, The Day I Die: The Untold Story of Assisted Dying in America (source books)
  • Lauren Kessler from Eugene, Free: Two years, six lives and the long journey home (source books)
  • Leah Sottile from Portland, When the moon turns to blood (Twelve Books)
  • Deb Vanasse from Warrenton, Roar of the Sea: Betrayal, Obsession, and Alaska’s Most Valuable Wildlife (west edge press)
  • David H. Wilson Jr. of Portland, Northern Paiutes of the Malheur: High Desert Reckoning in Oregon Country (University of Nebraska Press)
SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NON-FICTION
Judges: Sloane Crosley, Christa Parravani, Mychal Denzel Smith
  • Laurie Easter from Williams, All legacies (OSU Press)
  • Garrett Hongo by Eugene, The perfect sound: A memory in stereo (Pantheon)
  • Lora Lafayette from Portland, Possums Run Amok: A True Tale Told Slant (Mercuria Press)
  • Casey Parks of Portland, Diary of an Outsider: A Memory and a Mystery (Alfred A. Button)
  • Ann Stinson from Portland, The Ground at My Feet: Sustaining a Family and a Forest (OSU Press)
LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL AND YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Judges: Mary Cronk Farrell, TP Jagger, Alex Sanchez
  • Waka T Brown of West Linn, Dream, Anni, dream (HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books)
  • Jonathan Case from Silverton, Little monarchs (holiday house publisher)
  • Susan Hill Long from Portland, The Care and Storage of Freddy (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman books)
  • Jenn Reese from Portland, Every bird a prince (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.)
  • Sonja Thomas from Portland, Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence (Simon & Schuster/ Aladdin)
ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW PRIZE FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Judges: Erik Brooks, Carole Lindstrom, Cathryn Mercier
  • Zoey Abbott from Portland, Pig and Horse and the Uncanny (Abrams/Abrams Books for Young Readers)
  • Cathy Camper from Portland, Arab Arabs all year! (Candlewick Press)
  • Dane Liu from Portland, friends are friendsForever (Henry Holt and Co.)
  • Trudy Ludwig from Portland, Brave every day (Alfred A. Knopf/Knopf books for young readers)
  • Carrie Tillotson from Tigard, Counting to Bananas: A Mostly Rhyming Fruit Book (Flamingo Books/Penguin Young Readers)
ANGUS BOWMER AWARD FOR DRAMA
Judges: France-Luce Benson, Colette Freedman, Amina Henry
  • Sara Jean Accuardi from Portland, The Storyteller
  • EM Lewis of Monitor, Dorothy’s dictionary
  • Rich Rubin of Portland, Russian troll
  • CS Whitcomb of Wilsonville, acting counsel
SPECIAL AWARDS

In addition to recognizing the best achievements by Oregon authors across multiple genres, Literary Arts also recognizes individual contributions with the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award, and the CES Wood Award.

The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
The Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award
  • Dawn Babb Prochovnic of Portland

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