The 2023 Oregon Book Awards Finalists Have Been Announced

While many people were awaiting the announcement of the 2023 Oscar nominees this morning, fans of the written word — especially those based in Oregon — were excited to learn that the nominees would be in a different competition. V: Oregon Book Awards.

Today, Portland Literary Arts shared the list of finalists for this year’s honor. 34 Oregonians in seven genre categories were selected by a panel of out-of-state judges from 202 submitted titles.

Some of the nominees include Portlander Emma Lund, whose debut novel Boy with a bird on his chest Up for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. The book is described as a modern futuristic story about love, grief and fear. Another finalist in this category, Jon Raymond, also of Portland, may be better known for his acclaimed screenwriting for films. The first cow, Meek’s cutoff and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. His eponymous work, denialAn upcoming thriller about climate change.

Local theatergoers will recognize the names of many of the finalists in the drama category, including Sara Jean Acquardi who story teller95 minutes play inspired by Shakespeare storm about a teenager who has lived his entire life off the grid, and EM Lewis, his two-person drama Dorothy’s DictionaryHigh school students and a sick librarian were identified.

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

Here is the full list of finalists:

Ken Casey Award for Fiction
Judges: Zanzi Clemons, Jonathan D., Shruti Swamy
  • Scindia Bhanu of Corvallis, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories (cutaway)
  • Eugene Kay Emmons, Drowning Island (Red Hen Press)
  • Amy Land of Portland, Boy with a bird on his chest (Atria Books)
  • John Raymond of Portland, denial (Simon & Schuster)
  • Otis Lydia Yuknovich, force (Rivers Books)
Stafford/Hall Prize for Poetry
Judges: Chen Chen, Lisa Olstein, Matthew Olzman
  • Matthew Dickman of Portland, the husband (WW Norton & Co.)
  • Michelle Glazer of Portland Fretwork (University of Iowa Press)
  • Janice Lee of Portland, separation anxiety (clash books)
  • Amy Miller of Ashland the astronaut (Beloved Poetry Journal)
  • Eric Tran of Portland, Oregon. Sugar, and cigarettes (DVD Edition)
Francis Full Vector Award for General Non-Profit
Judges: Richard Pinck, Kim Todd, Neil Thompson
  • Anita Hennig of Portland The Day I Die: The Untold Story of Assisted Dying in America (source books)
  • Lauren Kessler of Eugene, Free: Two years, six lives, and the long journey home (source books)
  • Leah Suttel of Portland When the moon turns to blood (Twelve books)
  • Deb Vanas of Warrenton, Pride of the Sea: Treachery, Madness, and Alaska’s Most Precious Wildlife (Western Margin Press)
  • David H. Wilson Jr. Portland, Malheur’s North Peaks: An Account of the High Desert in Oregon Country (University of Nebraska Press)
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Sarah Winnemuka Award for Creative Nonprofits
Judges: Sloane Crossley, Krista Parwani, Mitchell Denzel Smith
  • Lori Easter of Williams, All leaves (OSU Press)
  • Eugene Garrett Hongo, Perfect Sound: A Monument in Stereo (Pashtun)
  • Laura Lafayette of Portland, Possums Run Amok: A True Story Told Slant (Mercuria Press)
  • Casey Parks of Portland Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Ann Stinson of Portland, The Land at My Feet: Preserving Family and the Forest (OSU Press)
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Literature
Judges: Mary Cronk Farrell, TP Jagger, Alex Sanchez
  • Waka T. Brown of West Lane, Sleep, Annie, sleep (HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books)
  • The Case of Jonathan Silverton, little kings (Holiday House Publishing)
  • Susan Hill Long of Portland, Caring and caring for Freddie (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)
  • Portland Gene Race, Every bird is a prince (Macmillan/Henry Holt & Company)
  • Sonja Thomas of Portland, Sir Fig. Newton and the Science of Continuity (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin)
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Elvis Jarvis McGrath Award for Children’s Literature
Judges: Eric Brooks, Carol Lindstrom, Catherine Mercier
  • Zoe Abbott of Portland, Red and horse and something scary (Abram/Abram Books for Young Readers)
  • Kathy Kemper of Portland The whole year of Arab Arabs! (Candlewick Press)
  • Dean Love, of Portland, is friendsforever and always (Henry Holt & Co.)
  • Trudy Ludwig of Portland Brave every day (Alfred A. Knopf/Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Carey Tilletson of Tigard, Counting Bananas: A Book of Many Fruits (Flamingo Books/Penguin Young Readers)
Angus Baumer Award for Drama
Judges: Frans-Los Benson, Colette Friedman, Amina Henry
  • Sarah Jean Acquardi of Portland, story teller
  • Monitor E. M. Lewis, Dorothy’s Dictionary
  • Portland Rich Reuben, Russian troll
  • C.S. Whitcomb of Wilsonville, acting attorney
Special awards

In addition to recognizing the outstanding achievements of Oregon writers in several genres, Literary Arts recognizes individual contributions with the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, the Walt Murray Young Reader Literary Legacy Award, and the CES Wood Award.

Stuart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
Walt Murray Young Reader Literary Legacy Award
  • Don Bob Prochonik of Portland


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