Female writers dominated the fiction, drama and poetry categories in the 2015 Oregon Book Awards, handed out in a ceremony at Portland's Gerding Theater last night. Women picked up five of six prizes in those categories, including all five awarded by judges. Meanwhile, men took away both nonfiction awards.
Debut novelist Cari Luna won arguably the highest profile prize, the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, for The Revolution of Every Day, about squatters in '90s-era New York. This is the first time a book on local imprint Tin House Books picked up the fiction award.
The poetry prize went to Portlander Emily Kendal Frey for her second book of poems, The Sorrow Arrow, while Andrea Stolowicz took home the drama prize for her play Ithaka, about an Afghanistan vet, first commissioned by Portland's Artists Repertory Theater in 2013 (our review here).
For the second time in as many books, Willy Vlautin won the reader's choice award, for his novel The Free (our review here.)
Former Independent Publishing Resource Center executive director Justin Hocking won the creative nonfiction prize, judged by John D'Agata, for his surfing memoir, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld. University of Oregon professor (and Pulitzer Prize winner for investigative journalism) Alex Tizon won the general nonfiction prize for his memoir, Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self.
The special literary legacy prize went to Tom Spanbauer, known as teacher to a generation of Portland writers including Monica Drake and Chuck Palahniuk.
The full awards list, including nominees and judges, is below.
ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDRENâS LITERATURESusan Hill Long of PortlandWhistle in the Dark (Holiday House)LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATUREApril Henry of PortlandThe Body In the Woods (Henry Holt)FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTIONAlex Tizon of EugeneBig Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTIONJustin Hocking of PortlandThe Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld (Graywolf Press)ANGUS L. BOWMER AWARD FOR DRAMAAndrea Stolowitz of PortlandIthakaSTAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRYEmily Kendal Frey of PortlandSorrow Arrow (Octopus Books)KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTIONCari Luna of PortlandThe Revolution of Every Day (Tin House Books)READERS CHOICE AWARDWilly Vlautin of ScappooseThe Free (Harper Perennial)SPECIAL AWARDS:STEWART H. HOLBROOK LITERARY LEGACY AWARDTom Spanbauer of PortlandWALT MOREY YOUNG READERS LITERARY LEGACY AWARDJann Tankersley of McMinnvilleC.E.S. WOOD DISTINGUISHED WRITER AWARDRalph Salisbury of EugeneThe Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships honor the stateâs finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers. 2015 OREGON BOOK AWARDS FINALISTSKEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTIONJudge: Stacey DâErasmoSmith Henderson of Portland, Fourth of July Creek (Ecco)Lindsay Hill of Portland, Sea of Hooks (McPherson and Co.)Cari Luna of Portland, The Revolution of Every Day (Tin House Books)Amy Schutzer of Portland, Spheres of Disturbance (Arktoi Books)Willy Vlautin of Scappoose, The Free (Harper Perennial)STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRYJudge: Brenda ShaughnessyWendy Chin-Tanner of Portland, Turn (Sibling Rivalry Press)Emily Kendal Frey of Portland, Sorrow Arrow (Octopus Books)Endi Bogue Hartigan of Portland, Pool [5 choruses] (Omnidawn)Zachary Schomburg of Portland, The Book of Joshua (Black Ocean)Dawn Diez Willis of Salem, Still Life with Judas & Lightning (Airlie Press)FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTIONJudge: Jabari AsimKristin Ohlson of Portland, The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet (Rodale Press)Robert Sitton of Portland, Lady In The Dark: Iris Barry and the Art of Film(Columbia University Press)Cameron Stauth of Portland, In The Name Of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide (Thomas Dunne/St. Martinâs Press)Noah Strycker of Creswell, The Thing With Feathers: The Surprising Lives of Birds and What They Reveal About Being Human (Riverhead)Alex Tizon of Eugene, Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTIONJudge: John DâAgataJustin Hocking of Portland, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld (Graywolf Press0Lisa Ohlen Harris of Newberg, The Fifth Season (Texas Tech University Press)Floyd Skloot of Portland, Revertigo (University of Wisconsin Press)ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDRENâS LITERATUREJudge: LeslÃ©a NewmanKim T. Griswell of Ashland, Rufus Goes to School (Sterling Childrenâs Books)Susan Hill Long of Portland, Whistle in the Dark (Holiday House)H. Joseph Hopkins of Portland, The Tree Lady (Beach Lane Books)Deborah Hopkinson of West Linn, The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, The Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel(Alfred A. Knopf)Elizabeth Rusch of Portland, Electrical Wizard: How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World(Candlewick Press)LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATUREJudge: Mitali PerkinsApril Henry of Portland, The Body In the Woods (Henry Holt)Robin Herrera of Portland, Hope is a Ferris Wheel (Amulet Books)Lisa Schroeder of Beaverton, The Bridge From Me To You (Scholastic)Christina Struyk-Bonn of Portland, Whisper (Orca Book Publishers)ANGUS L. BOWMER AWARD FOR DRAMA Judge: Naomi IizukaRich Rubin of Portland, September TwelfthAndrea Stolowitz of Portland, IthakaSandra Stone of Portland, Absurdist Or, Is It?: 3 Inter-related PlaysGeorge Taylor of Beaverton, Ghosts in the CanvasNick Zagone of Portland, Blood on the Books or the Powellâs PlaySPECIAL AWARDS:In addition to recognizing the finest achievements of Oregon authors in several genres, Literary Arts recognizes individual contributions with the C.E.S. Wood Award, the Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, and the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award: