Literary Arts Announces 2021 Oregon Book Prize Finalists

Literary Arts announced the finalists for the 2021 Oregon Book Awards on Monday. A panel of selected non-Oregon writers 35 titles from all over the state be finalists in the Fiction, Poetry, Non-Fiction, Non-Fictional Creation, Children’s Literature, YA and Theater categories.

This year’s tomes range from a deep historical dive into the American lore of insulting presidents to a children’s mystery full of wacky characters. Don’t miss: Alabama boys, Genevieve Hudson’s debut novel, a strange coming of age told through magical realism. Hudson notably faces Vanessa Veselka Large Offshore Lands, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award 2020, and Godshot—Portlander’s debut novel Chelsea Bieker.

Deborah Hopkinson, who won an Oregon Book Award last year, is back in the race twice with her books Butterflies belong here and We had to be brave, finalists respectively in the children’s literature and children’s literature categories.

Tune in to a special OPB episode The archives project at 7 p.m. on May 2 to hear the winners of each category. Here is the full list of nominees and literary scholarship recipients:

KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION

Judges: Michael Byers, Joseph Cassara, Hilary Leichter

Chelsea Bieker from Portland, Godshot (Catapult press)

Geneviève Hudson from Portland, Alabama boys (Liveright Publishing, WW Norton)

Mark Savage from Portland, Fictional movie club (Significant overstock)

Vanessa Veselka from Portland, Large Offshore Lands (Alfred A. Knopf)

Lidia Yuknavitch from Milwaukie, Edge (Riverhead Books, Penguin Random House PPG)

STAFFORD / HALL PRIZE FOR POETRY

Judges: Tyree Daye, Erika Meitner, Kathryn Neurnberger

Anna Elkins from Jacksonville, Hope of stones (Press 53)

Eman Hassan from Portland, Raghead (New poetry and prose numbers)

Portland’s Floyd Skloot, Far West: poems (LSU Press)

Ed Skoog from Portland, Travelers leaving for the city (Copper Canyon)

Joe Wilkins of McMinnville, Steal (Lynx House Press)

FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL INFORMATION

Judges: Jordanna Bailkin, Farid Matuk, Adam Sowards

Edwin Battistella from Ashland, Dangerous twisted scoundrels: insulting the president, from Washington to Trump (Oxford University Press)

Nicolas Buccola from Portland, The Fire is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr. and the Race Debate in America (Princeton University Press)

Kelsey Freeman from Bend, No other choice but the north: the world of migrants and the perilous path across the border (IG Edition)

Joseph E. Taylor III of Portland, Persistent calls: 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 NON-FICTION

Judges: May-Lee Chai, Ingrid Rojas Contreras, Heather Sellers

Sierra Crane Murdoch from Hood River, Yellow Bird: oil, murder and a woman’s quest for justice in an Indian country (Random house)

Eugene’s Ruby McConnell, The Truth on the Ground: A Geological Study of a Lifetime (Press Overcup)

David Oates from Portland, The mountains of Paris (Oregon State University Press)

Melissa Matthewson from Ashland, Drawing the line of desire: a thesis in essays (Split lip press)

Ben Moon from 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 urgency of life (Paul Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster)

Deborah Hopkinson from West Linn, Butterflies belong here (Chronicle Books)

Jody J. Little from Portland, Worse than strange (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Jenn Reese from Portland, A game of fox and squirrel (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Macmillian)

Elizabeth Rusch of Portland, Mario and the hole in the sky: how a chemist saved our planet (Charles Bridge)

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 (Ink press)

Deborah Hopkinson from West Linn, We had to be brave (School Focus)

Kathryn Ormsbee by Eugene, The Sullivan sisters (Simon and Schuster)

Erin Riha from Portland, But for the mountains (REUTS publications)

Elizabeth Rusch of Portland, Do you call THAT democracy? : How To Fix Our Government And Provide Power To The People (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

ANGUS BOWMER AWARD FOR DRAMA

Judges: Michelle Carter, Diana Grisanti, KJ Sanchez

Sara Jean Accuardi from Portland, Delays

Conor Eifler from Portland, You cannot undo this action

EM Lewis of Monitor, How the light enters

Anya Pearson from Portland, The measure of innocence

Andrea Stolowitz from Portland, Disturbing recent events

SPECIAL PRICES:

In addition to recognizing the best achievements of Oregon authors in several genres, Literary Arts recognizes individual contributions with the following special awards.

Walt Morey Young Reader’s Literary Legacy Award

Portland PlayWrite, Inc.

The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Heritage Award

Elisabeth Lyon by Eugene

CES Wood Prize

Molly Gloss from Portland

About Herbert L. Leonard

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