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.