The Oregon Book Awards, the annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers (in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, young readers and drama), announced its 2023 winners at a ceremony hosted yeasterday by Luke Burbank at Portland Center Stage.
The victors include Sindya Bhanoo, the Corvallis writer who claimed the coveted Ken Kesey Award for Fiction for her story collection Seeking Fortune Elsewhere, and Sara Jean Accuardi, an acclaimed Portland playwright who earned the Angus L. Bowmer Award for Drama for her work The Storyteller.
“Well, this happened!” Accuardi wrote on Facebook. “I have not fully accepted that this is real yet. Thank you Literary Arts for this honor and for recognizing Oregon playwrights. This was an exceptional group of playwrights and plays...and I truly didn’t think I stood a chance. I mean, have you read their plays? Phenomenal.”
One of the most high-profile winners of the event was Casey Parks, a former reporter for The Oregonian who currently writes for The Washington Post. Parks won the Sarah Winnemucca Award for Creative Nonfiction for Diary of a Misfit: A Memoir and a Mystery, which appeared on the cover of The New York Times Book Review last year.
“I’m so grateful to Literary Arts and the Oregon Book Award judges for this honor,” Parks wrote on Instagram. “I had such a fun time wearing a tux and meeting so many kind people. When I was a teenager, I dreamed about moving to Oregon. I didn’t know how clean the air would be, but I knew Portland had good music, and I figured if I made it here, I could finally be myself. What an honor to be here now, a part of this community. I’ve spent so many years longing for home, but last night I felt sure that in many ways, I’m already here.”
A full list of the winners is available here. You can learn more about the other finalists via Literary Arts.