The 2023 Oregon Book Awards Finalists Have Been Announced

While most people were awaiting this morning’s announcement of the 2023 Oscar contenders, fans of the written word—particularly those based in Oregon—were excited to learn who the nominees would be in a different competition: the Oregon Book Awards.

Today, Portland Literary Arts shared the list of finalists up for this year’s honor. Thirty-four Oregonians across seven genre categories were chosen by panels of judges based out of state, from a total of 202 submitted titles.

Some of the nominees include Portlander Emme Lund, whose debut novel The Boy With a Bird in His Chest is up 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 that category, Jon Raymond, also of Portland, who may be better known for his acclaimed screenwriting for films like First Cow, Meek’s Cutoff and the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. His nominated work, Denialis 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 up for The Storytellera 95-minute play inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest about a teenager who’s lived off the grid her entire life, and EM Lewis, whose two-person drama Dorothy’s Dictionaryabout a high school student and an ailing librarian, was recognized.

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

Here is a complete list of the finalists:

KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION
Judges: Zinzi Clemmons, Jonathan Dee, Shruti Swamy
  • sindya Bhanoo Of Corvallis, Seeking Fortune Elsewhere: Stories (Catapult)
  • cai Emmons Of Eugene, Sinking Islands (Red Hen Press)
  • emme Lund Of Portland, The Boy with a Bird in His Chest (Atria Books)
  • john Raymond Of Portland, Denial (Simon & Schuster)
  • lidia Yuknavitch Of Otis, Thrust (Riverhead Books)
STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Judges: Chen Chen, Lisa Olstein, Matthew Olzmann
  • Matthew Dickman of Portland, Husbandry (WW Norton & Co.)
  • Michelle Glazer of Portland, fretwork (University of Iowa Press)
  • Janice Lee Of Portland, Separation Anxiety (CLASH Books)
  • amy Miller Of Ashland, Astronauts (Beloit Poetry Journal)
  • Eric Tran of Portland, Mouth, Sugar, smoke (Diode Editions)
FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTION
Judges: Richard Panek, Kim Todd, Neal Thompson
  • Anita Hannig Of Portland, The Day I Die: The Untold Story of Assisted Dying in America (Sourcebooks)
  • Lauren Kessler of Eugene, Free: Two Years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home (Sourcebooks)
  • Leah Sottile of Portland, When the Moon Turns to Blood (Twelve Books)
  • deb Vanasse Of Warrenton, Roar of the Sea: Treachery, Obsession, and Alaska’s Most Valuable Wildlife (West Margin 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 NONFICTION
Judges: Sloane Crosley, Christa Parravani, Mychal Denzel Smith
  • Laurie Easter of Williams, All the Leavings (OSU Press)
  • garrett Hongo Of Eugene, The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo (Pantheon)
  • lora Lafayette Of Portland, Possums Run Amok: A True Tale 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 Ground at My Feet: Sustaining a Family and a Forest (OSU Press)
LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR MIDDLE GRADE & YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Judges: Mary Cronk Farrell, TP Jagger, Alex Sanchez
  • waka T. Brown Of West Linn, Dream, Annie, Dream (HarperCollins/Quill Tree Books)
  • jonathan Case Of Silverton, Little Monarchs (Holiday House Publishing)
  • susan Hill Long Of Portland, The Care and Keeping of Freddy (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)
  • Jenn Reese of Portland, Every Bird a Prince (Macmillan/Henry Holt and Co.)
  • sonja Thomas Of Portland, Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence (Simon & Schuster/ Aladdin)
ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Judges: Erik Brooks, Carole Lindstrom, Cathryn Mercier
  • zoey Abbott Of Portland, Pig and Horse and the Something Scary (Abrams/Abrams Books for Young Readers)
  • cathy Camper Of Portland, Arab Arab Happy New Year! (Candlewick Press)
  • Dane Liu of Portland, Friends Are Friendsforever (Henry Holt and Co.)
  • Trudy Ludwig of Portland, Brave every day (Alfred A. Knopf/Knopf Books for Young Readers)
  • Carrie Tillotson Of 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 of Portland, The Storyteller
  • E.M. Lewis of Monitor, Dorothy’s Dictionary
  • rich Rubin Of Portland, Russian troll
  • CS Whitcomb of Wilsonville, Acting Council
SPECIAL AWARDS

In addition to recognizing the finest achievements of Oregon authors in several genres, Literary Arts 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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