Yesterday, the 2021 Oregon Book Awards were announced via a ceremony broadcast on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
This year’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction was hotly contested, with the likes of three-time OBA winner Lidia Yuknavitch and celebrated debut novelists Genevieve Hudson and Chelsea Bieker in the running. The award was won by Portlander Vanessa Veselka, whose novel The Great Offshore Grounds follows two sisters on a cross-country road trip to find their birth mother, and has been praised for its tender approach to a dark family tale.
Along with readings from the winning titles, the show paid tribute to acclaimed Oregon writer Barry Lopez, who died last December. Lopez hosted the OBAs in 2006 and won the program’s C.E.S. Wood Distinguished Writer Award, in addition to the National Book Award and nominations he received during his lifetime.
Check out the full list of winners here:
Ken Kesey Award for Fiction
Vanessa Veselka of Portland, The Great Offshore Grounds
Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry
Anna Elkins of Rogue River, Hope of Stones
Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction
Nicholas Buccola of Portland, The Fire Is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley Jr., and the Debate over Race in America
Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction
Sierra Crane Murdoch of Hood River, Yellow Bird: Oil, Murder, and a Woman’s Search for Justice in Indian Country
Eloise Jarvis McGraw Award for Children’s Literature
Jenn Reese of Portland, A Game of Fox and Squirrels
Leslie Bradshaw Award for Young Adult Literature
Kathryn Ormsbee of Eugene, The Sullivan Sisters
Angus Bowmer Award for Drama
Conor Eifler of Portland, You Cannot Undo This Action
Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award
PlayWrite Inc. of Portland
The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
Elizabeth Lyon of Eugene
C.E.S. Wood Award
Molly Gloss of Portland